Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Julie Wright - Owner/Manager - BARE EQUINE AUSTRALIA
Dip. EPT (Equine Podiotherapy), Certified Equine Myofunctional Therapist.
For Hoof Nerds such as myself, there is nothing better than a beautifully balanced hoof standing on a level surface, with no traces of pathology. Its a thing of beauty and its really not as easy as you would think to capture those photos.
I'm no expert either, usually down and dirty thinking you've got the shot for a case study or progress photos only to get home and realise you've taken a selfie of your hot sweaty head instead.
It certainly takes practice - but even if it is not the magic shot, the angles from which the photo is taken DO MATTER.
So, you've got a question or query about something that doesn't look quite right with your horses hooves so you head out and take a quick snapshot to send over to your Farrier or Trimmer for their feedback. Well, if you don't like feedback as I've provided on this photo to a friend who was out horse shopping, maybe read on.
There are some obvious concerns immediately when looking to remotely assess this horses hoof condition - but the photo is from such a bad angle that this was the photo above with inserted "poo" emojis was my reply. No further feedback was supplied.
Over the course of my career as a Hoof Care Professional, I've had hundreds sent through. "Hey, do you mind quickly looking at this to tell me if you think there is something wrong" usually accompanied by a photo such as below.
Hmmm, looks like Kikuyu pasture with a big chunk of something resembling a hoof in the way.
Yes from this photo above, I can see there is perhaps a crack in the hoof and also perhaps a resected part of the hoof beside it - but is it a shadow? Not really sure. Not commenting.
This one below, the sender was now educated enough to know something is not quite right with the hoof in the photo - which is commendable so she decided to delve further into hoof photography and send this gem through.
I'm just not sure if the horse is standing in an oil slick and if Batman may be featuring here as
Out horse shopping and want some feedback from your farrier or trimmer? DON'T Snap a quick pic and send through with 29 other quick pics for their feedback. The following 5 photographs were from this same series of "quick pics"
This one gives me Vertigo - I mean the hoof looks like it has potential but I got all giddy and kind of spun out and decided not to look any further.
Replied comment - "Looks like they feed Oaten Hay".
I don't even know how to caption this! It hurts my eyes just looking at it.
I don't even know how you would get this angle on a photo unless your phone suddenly captured a shot as you were about to land head first into the concrete.
This one is absolute GOLD! I'm pretty sure this was reply worthy - probably something like "Nice driveway - do they own a horse aswell?" or maybe "Are you kidding me?"
Ok ok - but really all the above are a waste of storage space on your device.
Like I mentioned above, I'm no pro Hoof Photographer, even though I've been "trying" to get my photos clearer and more consistent over the years.
The below is a quick snapshot of the 4 angles that can be immediately useful not only to yourself but definitely more helpful to any professional you will send on to.
Place the camera at ground level - ideally the horse is on a flat even surface and the photo is centred.
DORSAL VIEW - still not the ideal hoof photo but I think you would agree a much better angle to assess what may be going on in this hoof before seeing it in the flesh or helping to offer remote advice on possible topical applications which may benefit.
Lateral view is another tricky one. Camera at ground level and you need to ensure you are in the centre of the hoof when taking the photo. This is especially important if you are assessing lower limb conformation.
LATERAL VIEW - again, not the perfect photo as the camera is not centred on the hoof. This angle now gives us a better picture combined with the Dorsal View of the hoof.
Camera facing directly downwards to the horses sole. Clean the hoof as thoroughly as possible. This allows whomever may be viewing your photos to get a good look at the balance of the hoof, frog health etc. Again it would be ideal to have the hoof fully cleaned out and cracks and crevices blasted free of debris.
Solar view - definitely got some smelly cracks this one.
The camera is held level at the heels and can incorporate some of the sole.
CAUDAL - assess heel structure and balance .
Caudal view incorporating some of the sole in the view to assess balance. This shot is a little off balance as the hoof is not being held level in the photo.
There are other helpful views if your Farrier or Trimmer or Veterinarian needs to see them remotely - including a full body shot. But for now, these 4 Hoof Photo angles will get you started. Go have a practice and see what you can come up with. Its always fascinating to keep a track of your horses hoof care progress.
So - please no more UNSOLICITIED QUICK PICS
Take a little time - photos do not have to be perfect but ideally have had a hoof pick and brush run over them prior to the photo and no weird angles needed thanks!.
This simple 4 square photo collage is a guide to views required as a starting point.
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