I am totally blessed to get to write for my local paper’s agriculture section–I’m just your average horsey gal, after all! But, I love brainstorming new articles and sharing my stories with the horsey people in my community. Recently, I asked readers to send in questions about unknown equine terms. I thought I’d share this one with you all! If you’ve been around horses for a while you probably already know it. Or maybe your horse has the best feet evahhhh and you’ve never had a conversation with your farrier about his “breakover point.” I’ve had this conversation many times with my farrier since Hot Rod has ring bone. Breakover is super important in managing ringbone! Either way, here’s how I answered Jamie’s question. If you have any other input, let me know!
Happy Trails: Question and Answer Session
I recently switched farriers. The new farrier said my mare’s toes were too long, so he was going to shorten her “breakover.” Can you tell me what this means? I didn’t want to sound ignorant, but I want to know what that is. Thanks. Enjoy the articles! -Jamie S.
Thanks, Jamie! I’d be happy to explain what the term “breakover” means. There are so many horsey terms out there! Your new farrier was referring to the very end of your mare’s toe. It’s at this point she pivots her foot and lifts it off the ground when she’s moving, also referred to the “breakover point.” Apparently your farrier thinks her toes are too long, which would make her breakover point well beyond the end of her toe. This can cause issues such as stumbling, tripping, or even soreness. Horses in the wild have short, rounded breakover points that have been naturally worn down. Domestic horses, on the other hand, tend to have longer toes leading to a range of hoof and soundness issues. A skilled, experienced farrier will gradually round a breakover point to a more natural form over several sessions. Sounds like you’re on the right track!
Here’s a diagram to help show you the mechanics of how breakover works! I added some labels to a great diagram from the Atlanta Equine Clinic’s just to help locate the important joints associated with a horse’s breakover point.