Walk your horse up, view from the side, front and behind
1. Does the hoof land toe first ?
2. If the hoof lands heel first when your horse is walking towards you, can you see the toe flick up as the heel lands?
3. Does any one (or more) hoof land differently to the others? (it is possible to get all 4 hooves landing completely differently)
4. Do the feet land noticeably to the outside?
5. Is the hoof landing quiet?
Repeat in trot
If you’re struggling to see, take a video, with the camera low to the ground and the lens square on (not pointing down or up). You can then view the video in slow motion on your computer.
When looking for the flicking toe, it can be identified by seeing just a quick flash of sole as the hoof lands. (to be honest it’s more likely you’re seeing a shadow than sole, but it feels like you’re seeing the bottom of the hoof as it lands)
To spot a toe first landing, you can notice it from the angle of the fetlock. When heel first the fetlock will be extended on landing, toe first will be flexed to some degree.
Look at 1 foot at a time, walk up multiple times if you need to.
Make sure you have an active (but not over excited) pace.
For each 'YES' answer score 1 point. If you only did walk then for each 'YES' score 2 points.
If your score is 0:
YAY!!! Looks like there's no major problems to worry about.
If your score is 1-3:
Things are fairly good, there's no need to panic but there's room for a little improvement.
If your score is 4-6:
There's a few problems in this area. Something is out of balance and the whole system is beginning to show the strain. Doing a few of the other health checks may help you identify other areas that are feeling the pressure. If your score surprised you, it may be worth seeking further help and advice.
If your score is 7-10:
There are significant problems in this area. I strongly recommend you take action. Getting help from a professional with a proven track record may be necessary to get things back on track simply and quickly. It's likely that other systems are struggling under the strain as well so I'd recommend you do some of the other health checks too.