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The purpose of this lecture series is to provide individuals access to basic information regarding the horse's foot. These lectures were originally part of courses taught to first and second year veterinary students and graduate students at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University.

Each lecture included has been adapted from existing lectures and will be updated as new data becomes available. Lectures are organized by topics: anatomy, conformation, biomechanics, growth and metabolism, circulation, and pathologies. Within each topic, the initial lecture will focus on the necessary basic information and then proceed to lectures of increasing depth of material and narrower focus. Submission of questions and comments regarding the lecture materials is encouraged.

The following is an outline of the Lectures and their content.


Surface anatomy

Anatomy of the hoof wall

Structure of the laminar interface

Anatomy of the submural dermis

Anatomy of the foot axial core

Anatomy of the dermis

Anatomy of the digital cushion


Introduction to conformation:

Geometry of the hoof capsule

Principles of foot conformation


Introduction to foot biomechanics:

Foot landing patterns and ground reaction forces

Material properties of the foot components

Displacement of the hoof capsule during loading

Displacement of the distal phalanx during loading

Circulation to the foot of the horse

Anatomy of the digital circulation

Physiology of the circulation in foot biomechanics

Nutritional role of foot circulation

Control of the digital circulation

Growth and metabolism of the hoof wall


Architecture of hoof wall growth

Patterns of hoof wall growth

Cornification and differentation of hoof capsular epithelium

Hydration of the hoof wall

Pathologies of the foot

Conformational defects


Structural defects of the hoof capsule

Metabolic and nutritional disease

White line disease

Hypertrophic diseases

Traumatic diseases

Navicular disease

Infectious processes

Foot abscesses

Thrush and canker

Greasy heel

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