Anatomy - The Hoof

The hoof contains over a dozen different structures. These include cartilage, bone, tendons, ligaments and other tissues. The coffin bone, also known as the pedal bone, is the major hoof bone. Under the coffin bone is the navicular bone that is surrounded by the navicular bursa. The main tendon in the hoof is the deep flexor tendon that connects to the bottom of the coffin bone. The digital cushion is a blood-filled structure in the middle of the hoof. It is flexible and assists the frog in shock absorption and blood flow. The digital cushion changes from use to a fibrous tissue. When these fibers break down or do not form properly, it may result in an oft misunderstood condition called Navicular Disease/Syndrome. GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES provide added protection.

Compare the Difference

GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES are designed to help stabilize the hoof and protect the coffin bone and its surrounding soft tissues.

The shoes help horses remain productive, avoid pain and have much longer careers.

In the first image you will see the entire hoof (1 – Frog, 2 – Bars, 3 – Sole, 4 – White Line, 5 -Walls) GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES provides protection to it all, NOT just the walls as most traditional horseshoes do.



(1 – Frog, 2 – Bars, 3 – Sole,<br> 4 – White Line, 5 -Walls)
(1 – Frog, 2 – Bars, 3 – Sole,
4 – White Line, 5 -Walls)
Traditional horseshoes provide little to no <br>protection for the hoof structure. <br>Shown here, the coffin bone placed where <br>it would be exposed to trauma or injury.
Traditional horseshoes provide little to no
protection for the hoof structure.
Shown here, the coffin bone placed where
it would be exposed to trauma or injury.

Catcher’s Mitt


GoldenwingsHorseshoes are designed to Absorb Energy and Shock Like a Catcher’s Mitt & flex with each stride like the hoof capsule. Goldenwings provide for additional shock absorption by providing a concave area directly above the tip of the coffin bone to flex and absorb shock like a catcher’s mitt. The concave area collects a thin layer of fine dirt to provide additional padding on contact.

This feature allows the sole to continue to perform as support, to be in active contact with the shoe and ground. The shoe acts as a protective pad for the sole and coffin bone with up to 14 mm thickness of flexible additional sole protection between the sole and the terrain acting to aid with prevention of stone bruising. Stone bruises are caused by a stone or sharp type of object, landings from high jumps, and excessive exposure to snow. A major symptom is lameness."

The Sole

The sole of the hoof has white/yellow, sometimes grayish color. It covers the space from the walls (outer part of hoof) to the “frog” (rubbery center of hoof base). The sole has a deep layer that is wax-like, often called the “live sole.” Its surface comes in contact with the ground. The sole of wild horses is often thicker than domesticated horses, perhaps a feature that helps to prevent stone bruises and coffin bond injuries.

The Walls

The walls of the hoof provide a protective covering, like a shield, to the sensitive internal hoof structures. They serve to dissipate the energy that occurs with each concussion, or foot strike. The surface of the walls also move and flex to adapt to varying terrain, providing a grip in conjunction with the frog and the sole of the hoof. Walls are elastic and very tough. They are resistant to contact with the ground and serve mainly as a support and protective function. Typically, walls vary in thickness from 6 – 12 mm.

Coffin Bone

The Coffin Bone is actually one of the mysteries of horses. It is a small bone at the end of the leg that supports the entire weight of the horse. The coffin bone is horseshoe shaped (see picture below) inside the hoof at the of the bony structures of the leg. In its natural state, the horse spends most of the time walking or trotting over vast open areas on soft grassy ground. However, with human interference, the coffin bone suffers abuse with hard and unnatural surfaces. With a rider and the weight of tack, the horse canters and gallops, jumps and makes tight turns, placing significant stress on this bone.

The Bars

The bars are hoof wall that turn at the heel V at a sharp angle. They run toward the toe on each side of the frog from the heels. In other words, the bars run toward the apex of the frog on each side to support the hoof. On the back of the hoof, the bars meet at a point called the “heel buttress.” Like the walls, the bars consist of a three-layer structure that provides for the impact of concussion during strides. The sole that lies between the bars and the heel wall is called the “seat of the corn” and is a common landmark for farriers during measurements for horseshoeing.


The Frog

The frog is a V-shaped structure that extends forward across 2/3 of the sole.  It is a dark gray/black rubbery organ that acts as a shock absorber for each stride of the horse.  It has the capacity to grip hard or smooth surfaces of the ground.  The frog acts as a pump to move blood throughout the hoof and is an important part of the horse’s circulatory system.  As such, it must be considered vital to the make-up and design of a horse shoe. 

The frog is the absolute base of the horse and remains a constant size based upon the size of the hoof and the horse.  It does not grow each month as do the other areas of the hoof. 

GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES expose the frog similarly to hand made medieval horseshoes.  They allow the frog to perform its job of compression and shock absorption within the hoof capsule, as well as serve its important function of blood flow.   

Digital Cushion

The digital cushion is located in the back of the hoof. Its primary purpose is to protect the internal bones and soft tissue inside the hoof. It absorbs the energy from compression with its thick elastic properties.

Navicular Bone

A flexor tendon lies deep along the back surface of the navicular bone and connects with the back surface of the P3. (see illustration #4). The navicular bone with this tendon functions as a pulley. This bone is in close proximity to the digital cushion, making movement around this structure to cause pain for the horse in the hoof. When such pain exists, the horse tends to place more weight on the toe when landing, further distressing the bone and sac. This is often the cause of lameness.


P3 refers to the coffin bone/pedal bone/plantar part of the hoof. Protection for the coffin bone in the farrier industry and is useful in and shoe design. The structure of the hoof is made of strong, yet flexible cornified material that serves different functions depending on where in the internal hoof structure it is located. Most of this material does surround and protect the P3 from the top view of the hoof.

Coronary Band

This is a visible circular band at the top of the hoof, just below the hair line at the bottom of the leg. This hairline is used to measure the length of the toe for GOLDENWINGHORSESHOES.


Just below the coronary band (or coronet) the periople begins to cover the walls at the heel of the hoof. This is a cornified opaque material that is soft and rubbery at the back of the heel and then becomes laminae (a harder substance) on the sides of the hoof. Not all horses have the same amount of periople.


The corium is a growing material similar to human nails. It begins at the top of the hoof wall and extends down to the coronary band, serving as a transition between the soft skin of the leg and the hard hoof wall. The corium grows at an average rate of 1/8 t0 ¼ inches (3.175mm – 6.35mm at the front/toe of the hoof) per month forming hoof wall horn as laminae. The toe length should be trimmed to the same length as the frog.


As weight is placed on the hoof, pressure is transferred onto the digital cushion, then to the frog. The frog with the heel contacts with the ground first. The frog presses up on the digital cushion, flattening under the pressure and is forced outward within the hoof capsule. The frog pushes against the bars and the flexible hoof capsule. When the hoof is lifted, the frog and other flexible structures within the hoof quickly return to their normal position.

The horse’s legs act as levers in movement. The bones interact with the joints and move with coordination for the horse to move forward, back up, gallop, cut, trot and perform regular stride. Just as a human arm moves to lift weight that is in the hand, the horse’s legs move to lift the weight that is at the hoof. Human anatomy asks the elbow joint to decrease the angle of the levers of the bones in the forearm and upper arm. The amount of weight that is to be lifted is paramount in the ability of the human arm to function appropriately and without injury. The bones in a horse’s leg are the levers that must lift the weight of the hoof. When the weight of the hoof (and shoe) is reduced, the result is a more sound horse.

The Front Legs

The front legs of a horse extend from the scapula (shoulder blade) to the navicular bone. Front leg joints include the elbow, knee, fetlock, pastern and coffin.

The front legs have 3 main muscles, all combined to be the triceps. They straighten the elbow.

The Hind Legs

The hind legs run from the pelvis to the navicular bone. The hind leg joints include the stifle, hocks, fetlock, pastern and coffin.

Suspensory Apparatus

Horses also have two functions that determine movement or non-movement. The Suspensory Apparatus carries the weight of the horse, prevents overextension of the joints and absorbs shock. It also helps to provide a rebound effect for the foot leaving the ground. This apparatus allows movement.

Stay Apparatus

Horses also possess a Stay Apparatus. Ligaments, tendons and muscles combine to lock major joints in the limbs, allowing the horse to remain standing while relaxed or sleeping.

GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES considers all four parts of movement in its design.

1. The Swing Phase clearance and lack of interference with the other legs.

2. The Impact Phase also known as grounding: concussion with the ground

3. The Loading Phase focuses on the hoof during impact

4. The Thrusting Phase also known as uploading: the actual movement

GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES Addresses All of the Issues Regarding Movement in all Four Phases:

GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES are light in weight and thus reduce leverage. This allows for quicker strides and less stress on all supporting factors with the movement of the horse. There is up to 14 mm of protection for the hoof, including the sole. GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES are designed to serve as a cushion upon impact with similar material as the hoof itself, to flex with the foot rather than to bend or break.

GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES flex with the hoof and returns to its original shape. This prevents slipping for the next stride. Slipping may injure all the structures of the horse which can lead to lameness. GOLDENWINGSHORSESHOES help to eliminate leverages and reduces the effect of long toe, low heel on all ligaments, tendons, muscles, bones and apparatus. The legs and hoofs perform most of the functions of absorbing impact and weight bearing as well as providing thrust.

Good movement should be symmetrical, straight, free and coordinated. All these depend on many factors including conformation, soundness, care and training, as well as terrain and footing. The conformations, proportions and length of the bones and muscles in the legs can impact movement in an individual horse. The angles of certain bones, especially in the hind leg, shoulders and pasterns also affect movement. The forelegs carry most of the weight, depending on speed and gait. At one point in the gallop, all the weight of the horse is resting on one front hoof.

In addition, with movement, the horse will land on its hoof and the angle of the levers in each individual horse will decide if the horse lands in a flat and level way. THE ONLY WAY TO CORRECT INAPPROPRIATE ANGLES IS IN THE TRIMMING. By using nature’s Golden Ratio (<-Click here), you then determine the correct angle for a specific horse as determined by the Golden Ratio or Divine Proportion."