Horse hoof Anatomy
A horse’s hoof is made up of external and internal sections:
The horse’s hoof forms an insensitive covering for the internal parts of the foot; it consists of the wall, sole and frog.
The wall is the part of the hoof that is visible when the foot is on the ground. It is almost semi-circular, with the front hooves being rounder then the back hooves. The wall of the hoof forms a protective shield covering the sensitive internal hoof structure. The hoof’s main purpose is to absorb the energy from concussion and to provide grip on different terrains. They are elastic and very tough, the thickness can vary from 6mm to 12mm.The walls are made up of three distinct layers, the pigmented, water line and the white line.
The pigmented layer is generated by the coronet, and its colour is the same as the skin of the coronet by which it is made. If the coronet skin has any dark patches, the hoof wall will show a parallel pigment line, from the coronet down to the toe, which in turn will show the wall’s growth direction. This layer has a mainly protective role, however, it is not as resistant to ground contact, which may cause it to break and flake away.
The water line is built by the coronet and by the living tissue immediately beneath the wall. Its thickness increases proportionally to the distance from the coronet, and in the lower third of the wall, this is thicker then the pigmented layer, and is very resistant to wear from contact to the ground, therefore its main purpose is support.
The white line is the inner layer of the hoof wall. It is softer and fibrous in structure and very light in colour, in a freshly trimmed hoof the line is white, and if the line is exposed to air and dirt it will turn yellowish or grey. From the underside of a healthy hoof, this can be seen as a thin line joining the sole and the wall. The white line grows out from the sensitive laminae, this fixes the wall to the underlying bone. The white line...