Toe First Landing

When soreness occurs in the heel area of the hoof, for whatever reason (contracted heels, fungus, deteriorated soft tissue, imbalance in the trimming or application of the shoe), the horse will begin landing toe first.

Toe first landing can cause a lot of issues, none of which we want for our horse. Things like hoof wall cracking, joint soreness, tendon soreness, shortened stride, circulation reduction, lessening of shock absorption ability, uneven wear of the hoof and stretching of the laminae.

Even soreness in the navicular area causing unneeded diagnosis and treatment for navicular syndrome that goes in the opposite direction of what really needs to be done. I don’t want to get into the navicular discussion at this time but there will be an article about this. Back to toe first landing.

There are a number of ways to see if your horse is landing toe first. Is the toe of your horse’s shoe or hoof wearing down much more then the heel? Some will argue that the toe wears more because of breakover. I feel that a good heel first landing can wear the hoof wall in the heel area just as much as the toe from the process of breakover. For those who are wondering, breakover is when the hoof rolls over on the toe and starts to leave the ground.

Is your horse tripping a lot? Is your horse kicking up excessive dirt at the toe with every step? Is he short stepping? Do his front feet continue to grow in an oval shape when they should be round? Do his heels continue to stay under run? Do you see a wobble in the pastern on impact?

Below are some links to more information on this issue. Do not take this issue lightly.  It is a very important part of the way your horse is supposed to move.

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