Example of a good foot

People keep asking me what a good foot should look like. The answer is that it depends on things like the breed and what kind of work the horse is doing (e.g. work on soft ground, work on hard ground, etc.).

However, this foot should give you an idea of what you're aiming for:

Nice foot

This is from a 15hh2 Irish Sports Horse aged 8 that does quite a bit of hacking (including lots of mountain tracks and roads), hunting, show jumping, cross country and some dressage. The horse only ever had shoes on for about a year and has now been barefoot for around 2 years. The foot shown (a front foot) scores 8.6 out of 10 (a very high score for the UK). This horse is capable of doing long distance rides on stony tracks (e.g. 60 miles on the Mary Townely Loop in Lancashire) without boots.

This foot is quite upright and has very little flaring. Although these photos are post-trim, the trim was pretty much cosmetic - just removing minor chips and rounding sharp edges. The foot has a strong frog, strong heels and bars and a full digital cushion. You can see that although this foot is nicely concave for a front foot (hind feet should be a little more concave still), there is a broad flat rim of sole that is on the ground. In horses that work a lot on hard ground, you get a rim of sole that is weight bearing in addition to the wall. On this horse, there's a good area of wall on the ground, but the sole rim contributes more weight bearing area than the wall does. A horse working more on soft ground would tend to have a slightly deeper concavity and less sole on the ground.