Trimming Reverse Palmer / Plantar Angles


The x-rays below were taken 3 days pre-trim, and show the right front prior to starting to my starting to trim it. If a DP View (front view) of a hoof where the x-ray beam is aimed at the base of the coffin bone reveals  an upward arc to the base of the coffin bone, its an indication that the hoof is “reverse Palmer”  (front hoof) or “reverse plantar” (hind hoof). “Reverse” means that the toe is at a higher point relative to the ground than the heel .





A healthy Palmer angle is almost a matter of pinion, but negative is always undesirable. I like to see a heel that is 2 to 4 degrees higher behind because the heel compresses under maximum load, and I never want the angle of the coffin bone to go into a reverse position. Reverse Palmer angles put considerable stress on the tendons and ligaments, predisposing the limb to injury This is what was happening to Armani.


When you look at a hoof and want to determine if the palmer or plantar angle is negative, here are several things to look for. The only way to know for certain is with an x-ray, but these landmarks help guide my work.

  • The frog is stretched forward and the heels are frog are contracted.
  • There is typically a deep dip or cup directly in front of the tip of the frog.
  • The sole is often flat, at least around the peripheral wall.
  • The heels are often crushed.
  • The Coronet band has a steeply upward angle and the profile shows a bull-nose. On a rear hoof, the coronet band projected up should aim at the elbow, and on a reverse P foot, it will point at the abdomen.
  • Horse may stand under if its a negative Plantar angle


Crushed heels
Steep coronet band points at abdomen
Stands under behind
Stands under behind


Bull-nosed profile with steep coronet band and crushed heels
Bull-nosed profile with steep coronet band and crushed heels




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