The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Can you tell the difference?

Scroll down to find which hoof is Good, Bad or just Damn Ugly (more will be added shortly).
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1.)  This hoof has extremely poor horn quality and is in desperate need of a trim: The bars are excessively overgrown and caused this horse extreme discomfort, especially on firmer ground. The walls are long and flared. The frog horn is "chalky". At this stage, the hoof had no hoofmechanism but luckily, with "remote guidance", the owner was able to trim the horse correctly. 
2.)  This picture shows the hind hoof of a recently shod horse. The hoof has been "dressed"  extremely short and the axis of the bone column is slightly broken. Sideclip shoes embrace the hoof and can cause pressure stresses on the areas underneath them (as toe clips). On radiographs we often see areas of bone loss in those areas.  The last nail is set very high. For other considerations in regard to the effects of shoeing, click here:  
3.)  Contracted hoof (in heel, bulb, bars, frog and sole). The outside heel (on your right) is more contracted than the inside (it seems that the trimmer attempted a correction but straightened the inside bar only and trimmed it incorrecly). The lateral walls seem very short ans therefore the sole may lack thickness. There is only little concavity, in fact, the sole looks slightly convexing in front of the frog apex.
4.)   This horse had "corrective shoeing" done. In this case the shoe is a bar shoe.
The metal bar bridge of the shoe is digging deeply into the frog/bulb area. The sole is extremely short and therefore flat. The bars are laying flat over the sole. The toe has been shortened to quicken the break over.  The rehab for this horse took almost 12 months.
Read here about the effects of shoeing:
5.)   This hoof has very long, but underslung (collapsed) heels and lateral flares. This caused imbalances and stresses in the hoofcapsule which  in turn cause a toe crack  (you can just see the solar part of it at 6 o'clock). This would require a relativly easy corrctive trim, but the crack will take months to grow out
7.)   This is a healthy looking hindhoof . Note the healthy wide frog and good balance.
9.)  This looks like a healthy front hoof, which seems to have a slightly higher heel on the outside (to your right). This however  needs to be confirmed, as the hoof looks very well balanced otherwise.
10.)  This hoof is too long generally. In addition to this problem, the hoof is also shod.
This horse moved crooked and was very "insecure" and unstable on her feet.
11.)  Neither with nor without shoe can this hoof possibly work. It is extremely dry. It has layers upon layers of dead old sole filling out the entire solar area. The hoof is extremely contracted, with a deformed heel/ bar on the outside  (your left side) . The frog is just dead, hard horn material, which was literally sufficated by bar tissue that has grown far underneath the frog.  The shoe itself is rotated. This horse was walking "on bricks"
13,)  This is the same hoof as in picture 10.) . Here we can again see that the entire hoof is way too long (even though recently shod) . This view provides us with more information why the paces of this horse have deteriorated to an imbalanced, insecure paddle: The hoof is not only too long, but also medial laterally imbalanced. This lovely horse had "behaviour" (rearing) and training problems (not wanting to go forward). The owner consulted several vets and trainers to find the problem. Nobody looked at the hooves!
14.)  Severely contracted, highly deformed hoof. The trim is very plain and to one level - (just as it would be necessary to re-attach the shoe).  There is bruising in the solar area in front of the apex of the frog.
The following pictures have been collected from a variety of sources. This is a random selection of  photographs of "every day hooves" of domestic performance and pleasure horses. The presentation here is merely for informative and  educational purposes and for discussion.

The remarks are not meant to be a "diagnosis", but they are meant to highlight the "good", the "bad" and the "ugly" in each of these feet as any horseowner should be able to recognize.
Spotting trouble before damage is done (prevention) is always better than treatment.
Develop your eye! Challenge your hoofcare provider, ask questions and expect an answer! Stand up for your horse!

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6) The pity attempt to repair a quarter crack with screwing, wiring and plastic - as well as putting a wedge shaped shoe onto this deformed foot. Hopefully this horse will soon be cared for by someone who understands hoof dynamics.
8) This hoof  presents with extreme bruising due to the pressure from side clips and nails that are set too high. Note the nail damage itself in the clip area! The entire hoofcapsule is imbalanced, the heels are most likely long and underslung (as the shoer was trying to "support" the heel by letting the shoe protrude). The break over  was also altered by squaring the toe and attaching a shoe which serves the same purpose (altering the break over). We hope someone will trim this hoof correctly soon.! 
12.) A "resection" was done here to remove a seedy toe infection. However, the hoof itself is imbalanced and of "orange colour", indicating that there is a lot of inflammation generally. The horn is of poor quality. The shoe itself is square in the toe. The shoer wanted to ease breakover.
15.) "Heavy metal work" attached to an extremely shortened hoof  (note the colour of the bruised frog!)
The hoof is contracted in bulb and heel. The inward curve of the shoe will cause further contraction in the heel area. The break over is unphysiologically altered. The shoe itself does not resemble any natural structure. The metal in the toe area is directly underneath the tip of the coffin bone. Rehabilitation for such hooves may take up to 2 years. 
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just a bit more................
16.) Solar view of a freshly trimmed, healthy hoof . Interesting is the horn pigmentation - the black areas in an otherwise white sole. (The hoof wall is black) This foot was highly contracted 3 years ago, - a diagnosed club foot. It is no longer. This foot belongs to my own beloved mare, Nahnoo  :-) . She is happy and sound on all terrain, including gravel roads.
more will be added soon..........