As many of you surely already know, the more you respect the horse’s needs and natural abilities, the happier and healthier she / he gets.
It’s the same with the feet! Nature made an amazing job providing the horse with feet that would be performant and specific to their species. Nature “used” a basic principle widely recognised in many science applications (physics, chemistry, biology or architecture, to mention a few examples):
Horse’s feet look quite simple from the outside, but they’re actually very well “made”. There is a large number of different parts (with specific forms and textures) in the foot, all linked to each other and working together, having a very specific function each. Together, they form the hoof structure.
WHAT MATTERS THE MOST: THE TINY BAR OR THE HUGE WALL?
From minuscule to giant, every sub-structure has its own form and role. Like a machine, each part has a job assignment and has to do its work load.
However it’s clear that if one of those parts breaks, gets tired or changes job assignment, all the other parts might get overloaded, overworked, might wear down faster, or worse, the whole machine goes: KAPUT!
You can also compare this to a company if that’s a better analogy for you. You and your colleagues all have your tasks and responsibilities. One of you goes on holiday, sick leave or just doesn’t perform as she / he should, the strain on the rest of the company will be felt.
Bar, wall, frog and so many other components from the horse’s hoof are all colleagues. They rely on each other.
SHOULD WE JUST FOCUS ON THE WHOLE HOOF?
What’s even more mind-boggling is that hooves are not independent beings!
They’re linked to a whole bunch of other parts, that, together, form a whole horse! Man! Hooves are just like HR department of a company, or just the wheels of a car! Very important, but part of a bigger entity!
You can work hard on fixing your car’s wheels, tyres, brakes, suspensions or whatever, but if you don’t have an engine to power it… Oups, your wheels are useless.
The same way as you have Form + Function = Structure within the foot – the WHOLE horse is also based on this principle in micro and macro levels.
At all level, all sub-structures are part of a larger one, all dependent on one another.
Based on this simple equation Structure = Form + Function, it is quite understandable that rigid shoes do have a major impact on the entire hoof structure, and even, on the whole horse.