What does "long toes" really mean?

‘LONG TOES’ are usually LOW PALMAR P3 ANGLES and places the horse at GREATER RISK of INJURY, TRAUMA, DISEASE AND INFECTION!


When I am told “my horse has long toes”, and there isn’t a dish to the dorsal wall, my thoughts immediately go to the back of the hoof. Why?...


The pedal bone or P3 should align perfectly with the rest of the bony column which makes up the digit and its ideal position would make a straight hoof pastern angle (HPA) when viewed from the side. This makes the back of the pedal bone higher than the front and the angle would be determined by the natural length and slope of the pastern and also the size of the pedal bone.


When we assess a hoof, we are looking to see if it falls into the healthy ideal which we consider to be:

• Positive palmar (front hoof) or plantar (hind hoof) P3 angle of typically between 5-8 degrees • Straight hoof pastern angle or HPA (when viewed on a horse standing perpendicular to the ground) • Healthy posture – where all 4 cannon bones are typically perpendicular to the ground in a resting position • Phalangeal (foot and limb bony column) and capsular (outer hoof capsule) alignment • Appropriate vertical depth of foot and hoof • 3-dimensional medial/lateral balance of the hoof around the centre of rotation (COR) of the foot around the axis of the limb (phalangeal/capsular alignment) • Heel:toe ration of close to 50:50


We would also assess both STATIC and DYNAMIC balance and function.


Maintaining healthy ideals ensures OPTIMUM FUNCTIONALITY, balance, posture and movement and offers RESILIENCE AGAINST INJURY, TRAUMA, DISEASE AND INFECTION.

So if a horse has LESS THAN IDEAL SHAPE, POSTURE and MOVEMENT, it is therefore not functioning optimally and is at RISK of TRAUMA, INJURY, DISEASE and INFECTION!


A palmar P3 angle of less then ideal for a