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Size of Horse's Feet and Limbs -- Need Your Data
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
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 Posted: Sat Jul 4th, 2009 07:14 am
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Dear People -- I am working on a feature piece for the new conformation column in Equus Magazine. This will be the 3rd installment in the series, and the topic is "effects of increasing size on performance capability and soundness potential."

I would like to request that anyone willing to help out, post here the following five things:

(1) Your horse's age, breed, and sex

(2) The circumference of one of his front legs, taken by wrapping a tape measure around his cannon bone at the point where the bone + tendon has the smallest circumference (generally just below the level of the knee). To take this measurement accurately, snug the tape up enough to flatten the hairs but not so tight that you cut into the skin. You may record the circumference in either inches or cm.

(3) The width of the foot. To take this measurement, the horse must be barefoot. Look and see which of his front feet is the larger one, and pick that foot up as the one you are going to measure. Lay a ruler across the foot and slide it from the toe backwards toward the heel until you get to the point where the foot is the widest. If your horse's foot is "basically" circular, this will be an acceptably accurate measurement. If, however, your horse has a diamond-shaped front foot (which will be because he has perceptible separations and flares in the quarters), then please measure ONLY the sole and I will estimate the undistorted width from that. Please state when sending this datum in whether it is a "sole only" measurement or a measurement "from wall to wall".

(4) Your best guesstimate of your horse's weight. Some folks will know this from having actually weighed their horse; some will have an estimate made by using a weight tape. Please state when you record this datum whether it is by weighing, by weight tape, or by best guesstimate.

(5) Has the horse had recurring or chronic problems staying sound? Does he need to wear shoes, foam pads, or boots, or foam-lined boots in order to remain working sound?

Here is a sample of the sort of transmission that will help me the most:

(1) Hanoverian gelding, 9 years old.

(2) B-T circumference = 9.5 inches

(3) Forefoot 6 inches across, this is the full width from wall to wall

(4) 1480 lbs. by weight tape

(5) He would not be working sound without custom-made horseshoes.

I am interested in getting this information on all breeds and sizes of horse. Please note however, the horse must be at least four years old.

The data is needed as soon as you can send it -- with my grateful thanks ahead of time -- Dr. Deb


Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Posts: 289
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 Posted: Sat Jul 4th, 2009 08:35 pm
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(1) Icelandic gelding, 6 yrs old.

(2) B-T circumference =  7 3/8 inches


Soles are the same size, but because I think he tends to lean right he gets a bit more flare on that foot. Measurements were done off the hoof rather than off the photos, and he's about due for a trim.

(4) Was 1050 lbs. by free roadside truck scale of dubious accuracy the day I brought him home. (79" cir behind girth, 66" body length). Has lost about 50 lbs since, about 100lbs to go. Somewhere around 900-950 would be healthy, I think.

(5) Hasn't ever been lame, to my knowledge (knocking on wood). Never worn shoes.

Tammy 2

Joined: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008
Location: Redland, Alberta Canada
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 Posted: Sat Jul 4th, 2009 08:47 pm
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1) 7 years old, Clyde/TB Cross (both parents pure bred), gelding

2) B-T circum = 9.5 inches

3) 6 3/4" - forefoot measured wall to wall

4) 1250 lbs - measured by weight tape

5) Horse is sound - never been shod


Joined: Fri Sep 5th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 127
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 Posted: Sat Jul 4th, 2009 08:48 pm
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Here are my horses' measurements:

1) 8yrs, Lusitano mare 

2)10 yrs., Tenn. Walker/Paint gelding

Both 1  & 2 are similar- 4 7/8" hoof width, 7 3/4" bone, 900 lbs. by weight tape; the mare is a hair lighter in bone and hoof size than the above sizes, and the gelding is a hair over the above sizes. Both are  barefoot, and light, graceful movers. They probably border on being light-boned, but they've been sound.

3) 8 yrs., Andalusian/ QH/Percheron mare, owned 4 yrs.---5 1/4" hoof width, 8" bone, 1020 lbs., same height as above horses, but stockier. She moves with a lot of suspension and big gaits, though she's no more than 15 hands. She plays hard, in a flashy Iberian manner that worries me at times because she's a heavier horse, but she comes back to earth like a big cat and stays sound.                                 

4) 6 yrs., Andalusian/Percheron gelding, owned 4 yrs.---6 1/4" hoof, 9'' bone, 1200 lbs....a 16 hand moving couch; there's little suspension to his trot, but his canter is Andalusian-like. I've had a few stone bruise problems with him; sound otherwise.

All these guys have been recently trimmed; hoof measurements are wall to wall with no flares. Sorry if the added info is too much--I wanted to describe how they use what they have in bone and hoof size.


Joined: Thu May 7th, 2009
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 Posted: Sat Jul 4th, 2009 10:45 pm
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1. Belgium Draft/TB cross, gelding,18years
2. B-T circumference= 101/2inches
3. 63/4 inches -forefoot measured wall to wall
4. 1600 lbs. - weight tape
5. sound, barefoot 3 years

Brenton Ross Matthews

Joined: Sat Oct 27th, 2007
Location: Harrogate South Australia, Australia
Posts: 57
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 Posted: Sun Jul 5th, 2009 02:17 am
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First horse

(1)Lucre ---QH Stockhorse TB gelding 8 years old

 (2) B-T Circumference = 9 inches

 (3) 5.25 in across full width wall to wall

 (4)Estimate 1200 lb.  but a long time since I have checked

 (5) No problems staying sound but is shod as walls of hoof at sides and heels is much narrower than front and I consider would wear down much quicker than toes lowering the angles

Second horse-----

(1) Chyna---- QH Stockhorse mare 10 years

 (2) B-T circumference = 8.5 inches

(3) 5.25 inches across full width wall to wall

(4)Estimate 950 lb

 (5) No problems staying sound but is shod

Third horse

(1) Scooter ---QH Stockhorse gelding 15 years old

(2)B-T circumference= 9.25 inches

 (3) 5.75 inches full width wall to wall

(4) estimate 1200 lbs

 (5) no problems staying sound but barefoot at the moment when only in light work.  Only shod when in hard work

Dr Deb ,do you want the info on my other horses as well?



Joined: Thu Sep 11th, 2008
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 Posted: Sun Jul 5th, 2009 02:36 am
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1.)  Quarter horse mare, 7 years old

2.)  B-T circumfrence = 7.5 inches

3.)  Forefoot 4 3/4" across (full wall- to - wall measurement)

4.)  990 lbs by weight tape

5.)  No chronic or recurring soundness problems.  She is sound barefoot.

Last edited on Sun Jul 5th, 2009 02:43 am by thegirlwholoveshorses


Joined: Sun Mar 16th, 2008
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 Posted: Sun Jul 5th, 2009 02:41 am
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1.  18 yr old standardbred gelding

2.  B-T  9.75"

3. Hoof 6"

4.  1300lbs,  weight  tape

5.  Sound barefoot

Super Moderator

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
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 Posted: Sun Jul 5th, 2009 07:58 am
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Oh, hey, this is really turning out great, people. And no! I don't need Brenton or anybody else to do more than you've already done. BUT it would be great to hear from even more of you. I'd like to get a sample of at least 50 different horses....please tell your friends & neighbors!! The payback for them is that I am tabulating all the data, then converting it into easy-to-read graphs, which will be printed in Equus Magazine but I will also post them (and some other graphs that are going to go with this article) here.

What you can do with these graphs is use them to do things like see whether your horse has as much "bone" for his weight as other horses....see whether horses of one breed or another tend to have more (or less) bone....and even predict your horse's weight based on his shoe size (more convenient than having to go weigh him).

Thanks very much again, everybody -- I'll be looking for more posts in the next few days. Great activity for the 4th-of-July weekend. Hope all of you in the U.S. enjoyed the fireworks & the picnic! -- Dr. Deb


Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Nr. Frome, Somerset, United Kingdom
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 Posted: Sun Jul 5th, 2009 09:48 am
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three of  my four horses are shod as I have to do a load of road work here in UK. Can I measure the soles  of feet inside the shoe or is this not going to be accurate enough for what you want?


Super Moderator

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 Posted: Sun Jul 5th, 2009 10:24 am
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Jacquie, what I need to know is the wall-to-wall width of the foot. Of course with a properly-fitted shoe on, if you measured the shoe it would be wider than that. However, if you think you can get the "barefoot" width to within 1/8th inch without taking the shoe off, then certainly go ahead and measure -- just be sure to tell us that this is what you did when you report the data. If you have one barefoot horse, even that would be helpful. Thanks for helping out!! -- Dr. Deb


Joined: Tue Sep 30th, 2008
Location: Slovenia
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 Posted: Sun Jul 5th, 2009 12:08 pm
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1. Slovenian troter, gelding, 9 years
2. B-T circumference= 19,2 cm
3. 15 cm -forefoot measured wall to wall
4. 520 kg - weight (girth length 188 cm)
5. sound, barefoot 9 months


Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Texas
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 Posted: Sun Jul 5th, 2009 10:47 pm
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1) TWH mare, 15 yrs

(2) B-T circumference = 7 inches

(3) Forefoot 4 1/2 inches

(4) 925 lbs. by weight tape

(5) Sound barefoot under saddle over rocky terrain


1) Saddlebred/QH cross mare, 6 yrs

2) B-T circumference = 7.5 inches

3) Forefoot 4 3/4

4) 995 by weight tape

5) Sound barefoot over rocky terrain

Last edited on Sun Jul 5th, 2009 10:48 pm by cdodgen

Pauline Moore

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
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 Posted: Mon Jul 6th, 2009 12:39 am
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Horse A:
1)  TB gelding, 18 yrs old
2)  B-T circ. = 9 inches
3)  Wall to wall forefoot = 4-3/4 inches
4)  1280 lbs best guess by vet accustomed to using scales
5)  Shod all feet until age 11, brittle, weak hoof wall, very sore without shoes even on soft ground.  Highly prone to laminitis.  Cushings disease for past 3 years.  Barefoot for last 7 years.   When dietary sugars are adequately managed, hoofwall is strong with no separation and he can trot easily on sharp stones without boots or any other form of protection; when diet is not properly controlled he gets wall separation and is tender on soft ground.

Horse B:
1)  Andalusian stallion, 11 yrs old
2)  B-T circ. = 8-1/2 inches
3)  Wall to wall forefoot = 4-7/8 inches
4)  1200 lbs best guess by vet accustomed to using scales
5)  Never shod, sound on all terrain

Horse C:
1)  Andalusian stallion, 5 years old
2)  B-T circ. = 8-3/4 inches
3)  Wall to wall forefoot = 5-1/8 inches
4)  1320 lbs best guess by vet accustomed to using scales
5)  Never shod, sound on all terrain.


Joined: Fri Apr 27th, 2007
Location: Canada
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 Posted: Mon Jul 6th, 2009 03:52 am
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Horse #1

1~ Arab gelding 7 yo

2~ circumference 8 in

3~ width of foot 5 in, wall to wall, no flare

4~ weight 1050, by scale

5~ not a lame step, never shod, goes everywhere barefoot

Horse #2

1~ Connemara/Trakehner gelding 8yo

2~ circumference 8 in

3~ width of foot 5-1/4in, wall to wall, no flare

4~ weight 1125 by tape

5~ had soft tissue injury to right stifle, off for 9 mo (and the reason I was *given* this stellar horse!), sound as a bell after rest period. Never shod, goes everywhere barefoot

Horse #3

1~ 7/8 Andalusian, 1/8 Percheron gelding 9 yo

2~ circumference 9in

3~ width of foot 6-1/4in, wall to wall, no flare

4~ weight 1300 by tape

5~ totally sound, never shod, goes anywhere barefoot


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