Hoofcare & Information for Barefoot Soundness

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ABSCESS: (Supplemental) A painful condition involving necrotic (dead and decaying) tissue inside the hoof. Frequently though not always consists of "dead" portions of laminar tissue caused by laminitis. The horse's body will eventually rid itself of an abscess in the foot, but since it is painful, soaking in ACV is often done to accelerate the process. The abscess often migrates upward through the laminar area and erupts at the coronary band, although it may "pop" at any weakened spot on the foot. Abscesses are sometimes "dug out" to speed their release of pus,however this practice can lead to infection. A "sterile" abscess is one caused by necrotic tissue being accumulated and ejected; a "non-sterile abscess is caused by some outside trauma (nail holes, deep cracks, etc.) And results in contamination and infection.

ACTIVE GROUND CONTACT: Initial, direct weight-bearing action, occurring generally at heel buttresses and at one or more points in the toe in a healthy hoof.

ACV: Apple Cider Vinegar. Diluted with water, used as foot soak to draw out abscesses. Dilution percentage varies with application. A dilution of 50 percent is often used to soak an abscessed hoof. Sometimes used as an antiseptic.

BACK UP TOES: (Supplemental) That part of a hoof trim that cuts the wall vertically at the toe, back to and sometimes into the white line. Usually tapered from 10:00 to 2:00 with maximum depth at 12:00. See also Beveled Wall.

BARS: (Supplemental) Those portions of the hoof wall that extend forward after turning at the heel buttresses, and extend alongside the frog until disappearing into the sole.

BEVELED WALL: Bottom edge of wall is rasped at an upward angle from white line area to outer edge. Used to induce gradual changes in hoof geometry as a result of controlled moments of force when in ground contact. Quarters are more often Mustang-rolled rather than beveled, while toe is frequently beveled to help correct underslung heel condition and toe flares.

BUTTRESS: See Heel Buttress.

CENTRAL SULCUS: Inner crease of frog.

COLLATERAL SULCI OR GROOVES: Grooves between sides of frog and bars.

CONCAVITY:The natural arch of sole, "cupping" to generally match the arch of coffin bone bottom.

CORIUM: (Supplemental) The dermal tissue from which the components of the hoof grow, e.g., sole corium, frog corium, etc., and which feeds the associated components with nutrients from its own blood supply.

DIRT LINE: The junction between sole and frog sides near the tip, which often collects dirt as frog and sole grow between trims.

FLOAT: (Supplemental) To trim such that ground contact is passive. When used with reference to quarters is also referred to as "scoop".

FOUNDER: (Supplemental) Separation between the wall and coffin bone caused by failure of the laminae. Usually but not necessarily accompanied by rotation or sinking of the coffin bone. See Rotation. The term is often used incorrectly as synonymous with "laminitis".

FROG BUTTRESS: Rearmost area of frog.

HALF-ROUND NIPPERS: Refers to the shape of the blades; they are curved, almost crescent-shaped.

HEEL BUTTRESS: Rearmost point of hoof wall. The point at which both side walls turn abruptly inward and toward the toe, forming the bars.

HORN: Same as wall.

INFLAMMATION: (From American Heritage Dictionary): Localized heat, redness, swelling, and pain as a result of irritation, injury or infection, (From Merck Manual) caused by injury or bacterial invasion. Serves to direct certain defense mechanisms to the site; blood supply increases and white blood cells pass easily into the inflamed area.

INSIDE THE VERTICAL: Condition of hoof sidewall whose slope from coronary to ground causes the hoof to be narrower at ground level than at the coronary.

LAID-OVER BARS: Condition wherein bars have grown away from their normal orientation of close to vertical with respect to the ground and are laying flat atop the sole, toward the sidewalls. If not corrected, is cause for several foot problems including thinning of the portion of the sole that lies under the laid-over bars and/or the forcing of bar material upward into the foot cavity to pinch off vital blood vessels and place undue pressure in the navicular area. This latter effect is often the actual cause of pain attributed to so-called navicular syndrome.

LAMELLA: Same as Lamina.

LAMINITIS - inflammation of the laminae. Can be caused by mechanical or systemic stresses. Can become founder if the inflammation damages the laminae causing the coffin bone to change its relationship to the hoof capsule such as with rotation or sinking of the coffin bone.

LIVE SOLE PLANE: The surface of the living sole. Often covered by dry/flaky dead sole tissue. Has a smooth, waxy appearance.

MUSTANG ROLL: Rounding-off of the outer edge of the wall through use of rasp or flexible sanding block to simulate typical feral hoof wear.

NAVICULAR SYNDROME: (Supplemental) A collection of symptoms denoting pain in the foot that seems to stem from the navicular bone area, but do not necessarily indicate a problem involving the navicular bone itself.

NIPPERS: Pliers-like tool, generally with 12, 14 or 16-inch handles, with two cutting edges that meet each other rather than with flat or dimpled surfaces designed to grip and hold. Used during hoof trim to cut off relatively large portions of hoof wall quickly, before rasping wall for smoothness.

OPENING CUTS: The Strasser term for deep cuts between frog base and heel buttresses, resulting from removal of some heel buttress material (horn) during trimming.

PASSIVE GROUND CONTACT: Secondary or indirect weight-bearing action. In a healthy hoof, involves some or all of frog, portions of bars, sole, and wall quarters.

PASTURE TRIM: Use of this term often leads to confusion and miscommunication since it means different things to different people. In general, it seems to be used in the non-barefoot community to denote a trim on a foot that will not receive a shoe as opposed to one that will. Actual trim style will vary between trimmers.

PROPRIOCEPTION: An automatic sensitivity mechanism in the body that sends messages through the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS then relays information to rest of the body about how to react and with what amount of tension.

PURCHASE: Presumably a KC LaPierre-coined term, refers to the weight bearing area of heels.

QUARTER CRACK: A crack in the hoof wall located in a quarter. Crack may be total (from ground to coronary) or partial, either from ground up or from coronary down.

ROCKER, TOE: (Rockered toe) When trimming, the toe wall is undercut, or beveled upward from quarter to quarter, causing breakover to start significantly further back. Causes the toe to be slight- to non-weight-bearing, depending upon the angle of undercut, except at time of breakover.

ROTATION: (Supplemental) The physical manifestation of founder, when the laminar connection between coffin bone and wall fails and releases the coffin bone from it's attachment to the wall. The coffin bone rotates downward from a pivot point at the coronary band, clearly visible and measurable on an X-ray picture.

SCOOP: To trim the base of wall quarters slightly higher than toe and buttresses such that ground contact is passive. Also referred to as "float".

SEATS OF CORN: Those portions of the sole found in the notches formed by the transition from side walls to bars, located at the buttresses.

SEPARATION: Total loss of attachment between wall and coffin bone caused by failure of the laminae. Also known as Founder.

SHEARED HEEL: (Supplemental) Heel bulbs are separated and apparently at uneven levels when viewed from behind. Lateral cartilages are also uneven. Often painful and accompanied by contraction.

TOE CALLOUS: The frontmost portion of the sole, crescent-shaped, thickened to a callous from constant use as a primary support area for the weight of the horse. Generally, extends from roughly 10:00 to 2:00.

TOE CRACK: A crack in the hoof wall located in the toe. Crack may be total (from ground to coronary) or partial, either from ground up or from coronary down.

TRANSITION PERIOD: The time it takes an unsound horse to reattain an acceptable level of soundness given the limitations of individual circumstances, brought about by a physiologically correct hoof trim. The length of the transition period will vary between horses, depending on such factors as the initial degree of damage to the hooves (internal and external), the environment the horse lives in, the trim itself, and how ften it is applied. Transition periods may last from a few months up to two years or more in severe cases. Note that shod horses may exhibit considerable unsoundness after shoes are removed, often an indication that they actually had been unsound but the shoes were masking the symptoms.

TRUE TIP OF FROG: The point at which the frog "erupts" through the sole, as opposed to the apparent tip of frog which may include some overgrown frog tissue.

TUBULES: The specialized epithelial (skin-like) tissue, mostly protein, that comprises the hoof wall.

VENOGRAPHY: An X-ray test used to examine the veins in the body. A special dye (contrast material) is injected into the veins to make them visible on an X-ray picture. Venography is used to evaluate the condition of the veins and the valves within the veins.

WHITE LINE INTEGRITY: The continuous, healthy, unbroken condition of the white line, which condition generally indicates no separation is present in the hoof. WINGS: A term reportedly coined by Ric Redden, refers to widening at toe pillars.

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