Horse Anatomy: the internal part of the hoof

interno zoccolo 1

Please see below for a new installment of our Equestrian World stories dedicated to horse anatomy. In this piece, we analyse the inside of a horse hoof which remains a source of mystery and a relatively unknown part of the body.
Let’s begin by looking at the boney part of the hoof, which includes part of the second phalanx (or coronal), the third phalanx (or triangular) and the navicular bone. There is also a part which is made up of cartilage and divided into two types of tissue. One of these covers the entire wall of the foot while the other tissue lines the sole of the hoof. The wall and the sole are combined in an interlocking manner with the aforementioned tissues.
The living part of the hoof meanwhile is an extremely complex structure and has the function of binding the third phalanx with the hoof, in addition to that of supplying the inner part of the hoof with a thick network of blood vessels and nerves.
The living part also has another vital function, even more so in the case of horses for competition: the softening and cushioning of the impact of the vibrations with the ground. This is an extremely sophisticated process and about 90% of the energy released by the impact is spread to the lamellar interface level meaning that the shock is reduced to a minimum when it reaches the first phalanx.
source: “La zoppia del cavallo, conoscere per capire“ by Doctor Vittorio Meschia, Horse srl editor. 

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