Farrier terms for the horse owner to understand!
Sometimes around Vets and Farriers we need a little bit of translation help to fully understand our horses and how their hooves grow and change.
But first - a few directional words that you will often hear a Vet or Farrier say.
Anterior - This references something that is closer to the head or the front of your horse.
Posterior - This refers to something that is closer to the tail of your horse.
Dorsal - The upper side or back of your horse. Think of a shark’s dorsal fin - that’s the one that pokes through the water’s surface.
Ventral - The belly side of your horse!
Medial - Towards the middle. When talking about hooves, think about the inner sides of your horse’s hooves and legs.
Lateral - Towards the outside, the outer edges of the hoof.
Quarter - The lateral or medial sides of the hoof wall. Not the toe or the heel.
Some other things you might hear from the Farrier:
Action - How your horse moves at walk, trot, canter, tolt, pace, rack, or any other gait! Often a farrier will want to see your horse’s action before and after a visit.
Brushing - When your horse’s inside hind legs touch each other, it can be barely a touch or more of a whack.
Breakover - The point at which the hoof pivots over the toe.
Club foot - When the hoof is dished and the heel is too high. There are various degrees of this.
Hoof angle - The angle that the dorsal hoof wall makes with the ground.
Forging - When the hind hooves interfere with the front hooves. Sometimes the step is too long, sometimes the front legs are slow to get out of the way.
Flat footed - The hoof angle is less than 45 degrees.
Long toe/low heel - The toes are too long in relation to the heel height.
Underrun - When the heel angle is less steep than the toe angle.
What other phrases have you heard?
It’s almost inevitable that at some point, your horse will need his hooves soaked or iced. Common reasons for soaking a horse’s hoof include an abscess, white line treatment, or even icing for hoof bruises or laminitis. The best way to get this done is also the easiest way - with a Soaker Sack.
Help your horse keep his shoes on! Consider your horse's diet, farrier routine, and even how wet or dry his paddocks are. Learn some quick tips for helping your horse keep his shoes on.
The digital pulse is one way to get an instant reading of your horse’s hoof health! This pulse is found at the fetlock, and often reflects pain and inflammation in the hoof. Generally speaking, you may not be able to feel the digital pulse if the hoof is healthy and uninjured. However, as inflammation sets in, the pulse begins to strengthen and can often be strong to the point of bounding. This could be a sign of an abscess, a bruise, or laminitis. Your Veterinarian should always be called for any signs of hoof distress to rule out laminitis and start treatments.