When a hoof is filed flat as if to apply a shoe or a pasture trim, where are the first signs of trouble? In the quarters. It is usually the first area to flare, crack then break off. The reason this happens is because the hoof wall in the quarter area has nowhere to go during impact except to be pushed out (away from the center of the hoof while stretching the laminae in this area) and up (against the force of impact therefore jamming the hoof wall up into the coronet band).

At Delaware Natural Hoof Care, we trim an arch in the quarter area at ground level. This arch was discovered in the hooves of wild horses. Once it is applied to the hoof it allows the hoof to flatten and expand from front to back instead of pushing up and out on the hoof wall. You can see a pronounced curve in the hair line/coronet band on long term shod and pasture trimmed horses.

On a horse with proper trimming and a slight arch applied at the quarter (at ground level), the hair line is much straighter. This excessive curve in the hair line/coronet band has an adverse effect on the growth of the hoof. Most of the growth of the hoof comes from the coronet band and needs to grow straight down from the coronet band. If your band is not straight then neither is your growth. 

This arch in the quarters is very effective in combating under run heels that are caused by the torque created when the toe is pulled forward during breakover and the improper growth of the hoof wall coming from the coronet band.

Remember that the inner structure of the hoof is divided into two different areas. The front half has a foundation of the coffin bone and its primary job is to dig in the ground and move the horse forward. The back half of the hooves inside is primarily made up of soft tissue and is the primary shock absorbing part of the horse.

This relief we apply to the quarters also acts as a hinge and relieves the stress in the hoof wall between the two areas during movement. 

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