Thought 4the day: Have you ever noticed how the most confident horse in the field might be the one that snorts at everything when out on a ride and yet the smallest shyest pony in the field could be the bravest little pony when out and about on a hack? In the field can be a pretence to get where they want to be in the herds pecking order but when out alone with you or with one other the real perso...n surfaces. Horses and ponies can pretend to be what there not (in a nice way), can hide how they feel and more. They are more like us and us like them then we really realise. I love watching the two groups that are out in the morning deciding who is second in command to puzzle in one field and who dares go near bumbles pile in the other! No kicking matches occur its all twitching or ears, facial expressions, stamping of the hoof, swishing of the tail and more!! Horses are amazing funny creatures and you have simply got to love them :o)
Quote4 the day: One day, just you and I shall gallop in an open field, with nothing in our way, except the wind blowing in our manes and tails.
Fact4 the day: Time-related changes of the hoof
Hooves have to be considered as a plastic structure and their time-related, very complex changes can be considered in the short term (days/weeks), in the medium term (the horse's lifespan) and in the long term (the evolution of equids).
Hoof changes in the short term
Just like the cornified layer of epidermis and of any mammalian nail, the hoof capsule is created only from epidermis, the outer living layer of the skin. From a microscopic point of view, epidermis is a multi-layered, specialised cornifying epithelium. It overlays the dermis, and it is separated from it by a basal lamina. It has no blood vessels and living cells acquire their oxygen and nutrients by fluid exchanges and molecular diffusion, from underlying dermis, flowing into microscopical spaces among individual cells. Products of metabolism are cleared by a reverse of this process. Epidermis growth take place by mitotic activity in its deepest layer, into the basal layer, with slow outward migration and maturation of cells. As these cells approach the surface, special proteins accumulate into their cytoplasm, then the cells die and 'dry', into microscopic, tightly-connected individual layers, composed mainly of keratin. The resulting 'dead' superficial layer serves a protective function, saving underlying living tissues from injury, from dehydration and from fungal and bacterial attack. The constant thickness of the cornified layer results most commonly from regular superficial exfoliation. When a specialised cornified structure has a particular toughness, as in nails and hair, little or no exfoliation occurs and the cornified structures must slowly migrate away from their original position.
Thus, the specialised cornified structures of the hoof are the wall, the sole, the frog and periople. The wall does not exfoliate at all; it is constantly growing downward (about 1 cm per month), and self-trims by wearing or chipping by ground contact, in wild and feral horses. Solar, frog and periople material grow outwards and exfoliate at the surface by ground contact and wearing. In the domesticated horse, movement and typical ground hardness are insufficient to allow self-trimming, so humans have to care for them, trimming the walls and the frog, and scraping off the dead sole.