QUICK guide to documenting your horses hooves and body for promoting well-being in horses
In this article, learn how to take quality images to share with your horses professional team and to monitor for changes for a PRO-Active approach to whole horse care
"It pays to take quality posture and hoof images on a regular basis and appropriate podiatry balance radiographs to help ensure optimum soundness!"
Check out this video - its a couple of years old and we would make a few changes and we outline below what we now consider the perfect photo - but its still well worth watching!
Taking the perfect photo!
In order to assess a horses hoof proportions and monitor changes over time, consistency ad quality is paramount. This is especially important when booking an on-line equine podiatry consult as we are entirely dependent on the images you provide.
Above is an example of a perfect image of the most important view of any hoof - the lateral-medial or LM. This image is perfect because:
The image includes the whole digit, to above the fetlock joint (to assess hoof-pastern angle, which is critical in balance assessment).
There is a while board behind the image so it is clearer to assess and define the hoof and pastern
There is a scale marker in the image... this allows me to mark up the hoof using Metron-Hoof imaging software and provide fairly accurate lengths and angles. It can be anything of a known length and always IN THE PLANE OF INTEREST. Eg, in the center line of the hoof when viewed from the side or one-third down the hairline at the coronet band from front to back when viewed from the front. This equates to he center of rotation of the coffin joint.
There is a level surface and the edge of the hoof is clear
There is space around the hoof to annotate
There is minimum distortion - the camera lens should be about 1 meter away and use a zoom to focus in on the digit - but not too close (see point 5.)
The hoof and limb is clean and the hair line of the coronet visible - it is very important to be able to assess the coronet band
The hoof is well lit - in this instance a flash was used as it was winter and indoors - be careful using a flash around horses
The hoof is identified as LH (left hind) and this is visible from the front view (dorsal-palmar or DP view) and side view (lateral-medial or LM view).
The camera angle and center of focus is ideal - aim towards the centre of rotation of the coffin joint - found one-third down the hairline at the coronet band from front to back. Your camera should be 90 degrees perpendicular to the limb. If using a phone, place it on the ground with the phone on its side in landscape mode, with the lens on the top. Depending on the size of he camera, this will place it about 3 inches above the ground. A standard sized digital camera like we use will be ideally placed when on the ground.
Below is the marked up image of the photo from the example above. The red horizontal line is the coronet line, the vertical line indicates the center of the hoof and your lens should aim at this line, about 2-3 inches or 5-8cm from the ground surface, depending on the size of he hoof (about the width of most phones and the height of the lens of most cameras when on the ground.)
Posture photos are also key in providing information about your horses well-being and hoof balance. Here is a good example of a resting posture image
Want to know more?
We have a FREE on-line course to help you document like a PRO!...
In depth guide to documenting (images and radiographs) can be found in our blog post here
If you would like to book an online consult, we are available to see clients typically within 2 weeks. Details and how to book are found here:
If yo would like a comprehensive in-person equine podiatry consult where we take all images and provide a written report of marked up photos and radiographs (if radiographs are available), please see the details below:
We take an integrative and holistic approach to whole horse hoof and body health. We appreciate the relationship between body, limb and hoof and seek to address imbalances while positively influencing appropriate static and dynamic hoof balance and biomechanics.
If, like our clients, you want to learn a PRO-Active approach to hoof care and wish to prevent lameness in your horse, consider booking us for an Integrative Podiatry Consult, Educational Event, Mentorship, On-line Course or join our new VIP membership where you can learn top tips straight from an expert!
Please feel free to share, ask questions or reach out for further support! Happy documenting :-)
Beccy Smith BSc ADAEP EBW
Diploma in Advanced Applied Equine Podiatry and Independent Equine Podiatrist, Consultant and Therapist
CEO and Founder of 100% Non-Profit Community Interest Company Holistic Reflections CIC
Holistic Reflections CIC – a 100% non-profit organisation promoting wellbeing and resilience in people, horses and the environment - for the benefit of all.