How Long Does it Take to Grow a New Hoof?

Copyright 2013 by Maureen Tierney (


The most common answer to that is one year, and I used to believe that. However over the past 12 years, I've found the answer to be somewhere between 6 months and a year, with a year being at the far end of the scale and not very common.

Below are the progress photos of a horse I began trimming March 19, 2013.

The horse is a Thoroughbred, aged 12, who was shod for years. When I first saw him he walked slowly and very tenderly on the concrete aisle of the barn. He does have turnout with another horse in small pasture.


LF lateral shod Mar 19, 2103

LF lateral de-shod Mar 19, 2013

March 19, 2013. You can see that the shoes actually pointed the foot up at the toe. For a horse who lives on mats when stalled (he's on a mat here), that was certainly not comfortable or healthy. You can see the pastern angle is broken as well.

Immediately after the shoes were removed and the toe beveled (I did not trim the back of the foot) the foot is more comfortable and the angle of the pastern is better. The nail holes show how little was removed.


LF lateral Apr 24, 2013

April 24, 2013.  Post Trim. The nail holes are at the ground. The hoof angle is better.  The hoof is still very short. I have not trimmed the back of the foot.

The white star marks a specific ridge. In the next photo you can see how far down the ridge grew in just 4 weeks.

LF lateral May 28, 2013 May 28, 2013.  New growth is now visible at the top 3/4 inch. This photo is post trim and many may think it needs more "work", however the hoof wall is paper thin at this point, the hoof is still too short in my opinion, and the most important thing is the horse's comfort. He is now walking quickly and soundly on concrete.
 LF lateral Jul 5, 2013

July 5, 2013.  Here is where letting the foot heal itself without making it look pretty really begins to pay off. The hoof has been allowed to heal internally and is now growing out quickly. The new growth is halfway out! In only 3 and a half months.

I still have not trimmed the back of the foot.

LF lateral Aug 2, 2013

August 2, 2013. Wow. Only a small amount of the original hoof capsule is left. This is what happens when we do not try to carve in health, but allow nature to do the work. Not only has the foot almost grown out completely, there is not a single ring in the new growth.

The back of the foot has still never been trimmed.


Below is the evolution of the sole from March (original trim) to August.

Click on image to view larger size, then click icon in top right corner to enlarge.

Sole Progress Mar to Aug

LF sole 9-6-13

To the left is how the sole appeared on September 6, 2013.  The frog is much larger and healthier, with a central sulcus that is now opening. In addition, though it's hard to see in the photo, the sole is getting thicker. People often consider lumps on the sole to be negative, but it is frequently just the sole thickening. Also apparent is the decontracting of the heels, which had to occur before there was room for a bigger frog.  The final improvement was harder wall when I nipped.

This is a good example of how the foot must be allowed to heal in a natural order and not be forced into preconceived ideas and shapes. The toe has to come back before the heels can decontract and other issues be addressed.


 LF lateral 9-6-13

Here is lateral view.  In 6 months the hoof has grown completely out except for 3/8 of an inch at the bottom - between 10 and 2. Visible is where the foot has self-trimmed the lateral heel quarter.

I cannot stress often enough that the foot must GROW beautiful, not be carved into an imitation of health.




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