Wondering if your own horse's hooves are flared? This blog will provide you with several techniques you can use to evaluate your own horse's hooves for flaring.
Flares can easily be felt with your hands by running your hands down the hoof wall from the coronary band to the bottom of the hoof wall. In our ideal hoof the capsule wall will be straight and smooth all the way from the coronary band to the bottom of the hoof; however, if the hoof has flaring you will feel the hoof wall curve outwards as you move your hand from the coronary band to the bottom of the hoof.
Another way to test for flaring is to place a straight edge on the capsule wall from the coronary band to the ground and run it all the way around the hoof wall. In an ideal hoof the straight edge will have no gaps, but in a hoof with flaring there will be space between the straight edge and hoof wall in the areas of flaring. Some flaring can be so bad that it can easily be seen with the naked eye.
The video below demonstrates both of these techniques:
In some cases of severe flaring at the toe/mechanical founder the flare at the toe can go all the way up to the coronary band making it harder to recognize. In these severe cases checking the dorsal angle may be the easiest way to determine if there could be a flaring issue. You can use an angle guage to check your horse's dorsal angle. Remember in our ideal hoof the dorsal angle of the capsule wall follows the dorsal angle of the coffin bone. For front hooves the angle should 45 - 50 degrees (average 47/48) and for hind hooves the angle should be 55 - 60 degrees (average 57/58). Digital angle gauges are also available.
That concludes this blog series on hoof flaring. Next week, we’ll move on to looking at some more capsule wall distortions including underun heels, contracted heels, and forward foot syndrome.