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What’s inside your pony’s hooves

Posted in Health

Learn all about the anatomy of your pony’s hooves

Your pony’s feet are super-awesome because they carry the whole weight of his body, and let him run really fast! But how much do you know about what’s on the outside and inside of his hooves? It’s useful to know the names of some of the different bones and structures, and what he uses them for. That way, you’ll understand why it’s important to spend time caring for them!

Coronary band 

The meeting point between your pony’s leg and his hoof. The coronary band can be found at the very top of the foot, and you might be able to see it under his coat because it’s such a light colour. It provides nutrition for the hoof wall so it can grow.

Did you know? If your pony’s coronary band gets injured, it may stop the hoof wall from growing properly.

Hoof wall

The first part of the hoof that you see from the outside, it’s super-strong to protect the delicate structures inside. The hoof wall also supports your pony’s weight and absorbs concussion from his hoof beats when he moves around, too.

Pedal bone 

This is the largest bone in your pony’s hoof, and it can be found near his toe, at the front of his foot. When a pony has laminitis, the pedal bone may sink and rotate, and in some cases can even push into his sole.

White line

This is where the hoof wall and the sole meet. It’s designed to seal off the pedal bone and stop any bacteria getting inside the foot. 

Anatomy of a hoof diagram

Horny sole

The outer layer of your pony’s sole’s designed to protect his sensitive sole underneath. It’s angled so your pony’s frog and hoof wall are the only parts that touch the ground.

Sensitive sole

This nourishes your pony’s whole hoof so it can  grow, and helps distribute his weight across the hoof. It’s attached to the pedal bone and is made up of laminae, which are soft tissues that help to support the bone.  


This is the V-shaped part that’s found in the middle of your pony’s hoof. It works as a shock absorber, and protects the digital cushion from outside bacteria. It also pumps blood back up your pony’s leg every time his foot hits the floor. 

Did you know? Your pony’s frog has two grooves on either side, and one in the middle. These are known as clefts. 

Digital cushion 

The main shock absorber inside your pony’s hoof. It’s very springy and can be found at the back of his foot. It cushions the bones and soft tissue structures inside his hoof against impact from the ground. 

Navicular bone 

A small but vital bone that’s tucked behind the pedal bone. It helps keep the pedal bone stable and, with the help of some tendons, allows it to tilt very slightly to make it easier for your pony to move across uneven ground. 

Did you know? Navicular disease can happen if a pony’s navicular bone becomes weak or swollen. It can make a pony very lame, and is more common in the front feet.

Find out what can you do to keep your pony’s hooves in top condition here.

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March 2021 PONY Magazine

March 2021

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This Esme riding journal