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Harmony is born out of a genuine empathy for the horse and a compassionate awareness of the mental and physical impact of the work on the horse.


Toe Flip Animation

by Tonja Dausend

When the horse’s hind leg is carrying (engaged) the hoof breaks over the toe and, as the hoof rolls over the toe, the hoof recoils forward and upward, toward the horse’s body. Horses that are using their haunches well will not flip their toes out behind them.

Toe Lift

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When the hind leg is pushing (out behind) the hoof breaks over the toe. The toe then flips backward and upward and may even kick up dirt before recoiling forward. Toe flipping is a sign of disconnection and imbalance (a constrained neck, hollow back, haunches out behind, or rushing).

As the horse’s balance improves the toe flipping ceases, even at the lower levels.

Toe Flip

Click picture for larger image.

You may get a better idea of this concept if you try mimicking the different trots with your own feet. It may also help to think of your posture and way of going when pushing a wheelbarrow vs. carrying a lsack of grain.




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last updated April, 2008