If You Want to Learn More About Horse Hoof Anatomy, You're at the Right Place. All the Horse Hoof Structures You Need to Know to Perform the Bare Foot Trim Are On This Page.

This page is designed to give you an overview of basic hoof parts. This is hoof anatomy from a farrier perspective and shows all the important regions and structures of the hoof that a barefoot trimmer will want and need to know. The diagrams and illustrations are designed to be simple and easy to see and understand but they do not show all the intricacies of the hoof and are not designed as an all inclusive guide to hoof anatomy. Lets start with the whole horse. Below is a drawing with major body parts that are often referred to, located and named.

Hoof Anatomy

Basic parts of a horse.

Below is the view of the foot most often seen by the bare foot trimmer. These are the structures and areas of the horse's hoof anatomy that we most often directly affect, when trimming. Learn the names and proportions of each area of the hoof. It will help you trim correctly and also help you recognize a healthy foot.

Hoof Anatomy

These drawings show the bottom of a horse's foot and some of the most common hoof anatomy names used to describe the areas on the foot. These are all important areas and structures of the hoof to know when trimming your horse's hooves.

In this simplified cross section of a healthy horse' hoof anatomy, you can see how the structures are situated inside the foot. Pay close attention to the proximity of the hoof structures to each other. When there are hoof problems often the proportions, alignments and proximity of the structures change. When trimming we work to rehabilitate the hoof by trimming and other horse hoof care practices to bring those hoof structures back to their healthy alignments, proportions and proximity. Note in the drawing below the “tight White Line”. (Laminae are tight against the Coffin bone and are not stretched or pulled away from it.) Also, note the hair line, all new hoof wall grows down from the hair line.

Hoof Anatomy

This drawing illustrates the inside of a healthy horse's hoof. Some of the more important hoof anatomy including; bones, tendons and other structures are labled here. Notice the proportions, proximity and relation of one structure to another.

In this hoof anatomy illustration you can see the structures of the lower leg. There are no functional muscles in the lower leg so the tendons (shown in red) have to move the lower leg. The extensor tendons are in the front of the leg and the flexor tendons are in the back. All these tendons tie to bones in the lower leg and muscles in the upper leg.

The Bursae are fluid filled sacks between bones that lubricate and cushion. If they become inflamed the condition is called bursitis a very common horse injury. Navicular bursitis is probably the most well known lameness do to bursitis.

Hoof Anatomy

This drawing illustrates the main structures of the lower hind leg. Notice the Coffin bone, Short Pastern bone, Long Pastern bone and Cannon bone along with the Navicular bone make up the bones of the lower leg. There are joints between the bones with fluid sacks called Bursae which cushion the area between bones. The tendons which connect muscles to bone are what "moves" the lower leg. The tendons tied to the bones of the lower leg are attached to muscles of the upper leg.

hoof anatomy

This simple drawing of hoof anatomy illustrates the relationship of the White Line or Laminae to the Coffin bone in a healthy horse hoof. Also, notice how close the tip of the coffin bone is to the sole.

Below is another drawing showing labeled hoof anatomy from the bottom of the foot. It's easier to see the White Line in this drawing than in the real hoof in the following photo below. When you're trimming do not mistake the Water Line (inner hoof wall which appears white in color) with the real White line which is usually dark in comparison to the sole and hoof wall!

hoof anatomy

Good detailed drawing of the parts of the hoof. Look closely and then compare it to the real horse hoof below.

See how hard it is to see the real White Line! The inner hoof wall (Water Line) is white in color. (It almost always is, especially in a freshly rasped hoof.) The rest of the hoof anatomy is easier to see and harder to mistake.

Hoof Anatomy

Here's a photo of the real thing. This fresh trimmed hoof shows the hoof anatomy of the bottom of the hoof pretty well.

These last three drawings are all about BALANCE. Nothing is more important in bare foot trimming than balance! Follow the 6 Steps of the bare foot trim and you will balance the your horse's hoof.

hoof anatomy

The hoof wall should be the same angle as the Pastern bones in a healthy hoof.

hoof anatomy

When we talk about balancing the foot is has to be level across the foot and level with the sole, as well as, balanced proportions shown below.

hoof anatomy

Lines show proper proportions for a balanced hoof.

Ready to learn the Bare Foot Trim? Click here

Want to learn more about barefoot hoof care and how to help build strong, healthy hooves on your horse? If so, click here.

Are you looking for information about how to address, correct or rehabilitate a specific hoof problem? If so, click here.

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