X-ray Evidence that Using the Sole as a Guideline Works

xray markup  

At the point this radiograph was taken, I had been trimming this horse for over 2 years, using the sole as the guideline. Although the foot had improved over time, it never looked quite right. It was slightly misshapen (unfortunately I didn't take a photo of it). Finally, I suggested the owner get x-rays to see where the coffin bone was sitting - thinking perhaps it was tilted medial/laterally.

This x-ray clearly shows that the coffin bone is sitting level (medial/laterally). It also shows that the joint spacing is correct. The spacing between the bones is even. Interestingly, it shows that the long pastern is not symmetrical, nor is the short pastern.

I feel strongly that this photo is excellent evidence that use of the sole as the guideline for trimming is correct - if it were not, surely the joints wouldn't align so perfectly given the asymmetry of the first and second phalanxes.


This radiograph shows that the joints meet perfectly when viewed laterally. It also shows that the coffin bone is not ground parallel at rest - as some believe. And it shows the natural arch of the foot, which is not actually apparent with the naked eye. (I do not "scoop" or otherwise specifically relieve the quarters.)

I've drawn lines so that it's possible to see the difference in height between the lateral and medial sides of the bones. It's clear that the distance between the bones is the same all the way across - which is how it should be. However, it's also apparent that the left side (photo) of the long pastern is longer than the right side (indicated by red line) and that the short pastern is also deformed (indicated by the yellow line). The coffin bone is level (indicated by the blue line)

normal pastern bone  

These images show more normal shapes of short and long pasterns. I found them on the internet - they are not radiographs of client horses. I do feel bad for the horse with the shoe on - clearly the angle of his foot is way off and can't be good.

pastern example    


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