Functionally adapted for speed and efficient use of energy, the thoroughbred foot is thin-walled and light compared to other breeds.  This adaptation for speed renders the hoof more susceptible to hoof capsule distortions, or shape changes that interfere with the normal function of the foot, which are: support, traction, shock dissipation, and proprioception.

In 1889, for the fourth edition of his book “The Racehorse in Training with Hints on Racing and Racing Reforms”, the English jockey turned horse trainer William Day added a chapter on shoeing, his preface stating “…one topic, highly important to all owners of horses, ‘Shoeing’…might advantageously be added…the aim to deal with facts and to avoid speculation.” Day wraps up by adding that he hopes “it will be found…that the best method of shoeing and of the treatment of the foot has been not only discussed but actually verified… that the prevention which, in the diseases of the feet…is better than cure and has been placed nearer the reach of all.” If only.

Caton Bredar (European Trainer - issue 20 - Winter 2007)


At the height of the flat racing season how many different terms are used to describe horses that lose their action? The description depends very much upon those that are explaining the condition and what is perceived to be the cause and the effect; the animal simply becomes scratchy and non free flowing in its movements. The exciting cause reveals itself as being “JARRED UP.” At this early stage no observable foot specific secondary condition is presented.

Peter Baker (European Trainer - issue 19 - Autumn 2007)

A keen-eyed racegoer spotted a horse running in the USA last summer with six quarter cracks spread between three of its feet. While this number would be highly unusual in the UK, the problem of the hoof crack is not, and is one, which plagues the trainer, vet and farrier. For the trainer, the words “The apple of your eye has popped a quarter crack, guv’nor,” are not welcome. Some great names have won Group One and other big races carrying hoof cracks, but the onset of a crack will result at minimum in serious problems in the horse’s preparation. Nevertheless, it is quite common for several horses to have cracks of one kind or another in a larger yard at the height of summer.

Tony Lindsell (European Trainer - issue 7 - Spring 2004)