I think this is probably best described through some pictures.
Going again with our picture from the Long Hoof Walls (Vertically) page, you can see there is excessive length all around. The dorsal (front) wall is too long and the heel is too long, but the horn tubules are more upright than slanted forward.
Below is a long hoof wall horizontally or along the ground.
Two things that immediately come to mind when we talk about long walls horizontally are Under Run Heels and Flat Feet (Soles) or no concavity.
In the hoof above, we can quite clearly see how the horn tubules are lying at a slant (look at the white pigmented tubules) instead of being more upright to a point at the heels where it is going in underneath the foot.
Here is a solar view of the same foot and now we can clearly see the under run heels, the flat foot and the Stretched White Line.
Let’s go back and think about what happened that the toe became so long in the first place. This is something very common with horses that were/are shod (and it’s not the shoe that pulls the toe forward!) but I think it can as easily happen to a barefoot horse, especially if the horse does not get a chance to wear the toe off as it does not get enough exercise or not on hard enough ground.
If the horse does not get enough work on ground that’s abrasive enough to wear the toe down regularly, the toe will grow forward until we have the same situation as above (this horse was shod before). When that happens, the trimmer has to do the work in place of the environment.
Isn’t that what we as trimmers do anyway? Do the Mustangs come in every 4 weeks for a trim? No! So, the trimmer has to back the toe up. What I mean by “back the toe up” is the trimmer bringing the wall at the toe in by removing the wall all the way to the sole’s edge and then keeping the toe length in check. This means keeping the walls away from ground contact.
They are rolled from the sole up instead of from the inner wall up … as would be the case when there is a tight white line. Refer to Removing Flare (Stretched Whiteline) for full instructions.
In most cases the sole will tell us where the toe needs to be. We only have to look at the toe arch (which is the exact replica of the Pedal Bone rim) that is seen as a ridge or callus on the sole to know where it is.
So how do we get the toe to back up?
There are various theories on how to calculate where the front of the toe should be. One then rasps a bevel from the calculated point upwards and roll the toe, taking all excess away. This is fine if you’re an experienced trimmer and can evaluate the foot you’re looking at and you know that you are not going to sore the horse by using that method.
Since a lot of people will be starting out, I think it’s better to show you a safer way.
We will treat the wall at the toe (from 10 o’clock to 2o’clock if the foot was a clock) as if it has Stretched White line, which sometimes it can have but not always. So I’d like you to go over to “Removing Stretched White Line” and there you will find full instructions on how that is done.
By taking the hoof wall away at the toe, what have we effectively done?
First, we have without a doubt moved the breakover back towards the heel, which will cause a faster breakover and therefore a better landing, even if it isn’t a full heel strike as yet.
As the toe shortens it will get there….I’ll talk more about this in the Sole page.
Secondly, we have given the horse a chance to wear the sole at the toe as much as it should be worn to bring the toe in. Don’t worry, once they reach the length the toe should be, the Sole or Pedal Bone ridge will become the Toe Callus. The toe will be adequately short, the hoof wall will have a tight connection to the Pedal Bone and more than likely you will start to see some concavity together with a tight whiteline. (See Tommy’s Story under Case Studies)
During this time you will more than likely see the sole exfoliating, like this…(don’t look at the long walls, this was before the trim)
DO NOT be tempted to pull pieces off or dig under it or cut it away or anything else, unless it’s absolutely hanging by a thread. This is 100% normal. As the hoof shortens, the excess sole has to go somewhere.
However, until the excess (or false) sole is ready to leave, the true sole underneath isn’t ready to be used by the horse. If you remove the false sole, you are exposing true sole that the horse cannot walk on yet…kind of like removing moth from a cocoon that’s not ready for outside air!
Please be patient!
It took a long time for these feet to get into that condition.
Give it time to heal!