No hoof, no horse. It is that simple.
These topics will show you the many things that can go wrong with the hooves. However, what will be different here are two things. You might notice that I always look at things differently.
Physics and math (vector analysis) are critical in understanding how the hoof responds to the pressure applied to it. How the hoof responds to the forces applied to it is dependent on the quality of the material of the hoof, and that is all about feeding your horse correctly. You must provide the horse with specific raw materials to develop a strong hoof before you try to apply any principles of physics (trimming and shoeing).
The hoof continuously grows throughout life and most foals, through several years of life, have no problems with their hooves. Hoof problems develop over time, starting with bruised soles, hoof abscesses and cracked walls. Next, come the deformed hoof walls, damage to the internal structures (bones and connective tissue) and worst, the separation of the bone from the wall (laminitis). Interestingly, these develop only in time, which is why I believe that almost all hoof problems stem from poor nutrition.
I cover the physics and math behind hoof issues and the nutrition of the hoof in “Locomotion & Movement” and “Nutrition” (click on these in the above menu).
If it is true that the horse can’t survive without the hooves, then how did they survive for millions of years and then suddenly (in the past 1000 years) suffer from all these painful and life threatening issues of the hooves? I first look at the problems, and then I add my thoughts. I also wonder why vets and farriers overlook discussing and focusing on preventing the root cause of hoof problems before they occur. Could it be that the horse developed an incredible appendage that protects them on all terrains? This may be a refreshing look into hoof health because it starts with what goes in the mouth.