The phrase “no hoof no horse” suggests that horses need healthy feet in order to survive. I think the phrase understates the rich complexity of the equine pump that pushes blood from the hoof up the cannon bone, and back to the heart (it is also said that a horse has five hearts). As a horse owner, hoof care practitioner, and visual artist, proper trimming of the equine hoof interests me. “No Hoof, No Horse”, a 12 X 12” acrylic painting on canvas is intended to illustrate several points explained in the The Hoofcare Specialist’s Handbook: Hoof Orthopaedics and Holistic Lameness Rehabilitation by Hiltrud Strasser, DVM, and Sabine Kells (Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, 2000).
This master text featuring Strasser’s research on the causes of equine hoof pathology and correct hoof trimming has heralded a major shift in thinking about conventional farriery. Strasser and Kells’ work provides physiological, anatomical and technical information, including methods and procedures for equine hoof care, and has informed notable leaders in the natural barefoot trim movement on this continent. The truly interested student in this subject will want to read this book but few copies will be found on home bookshelves because of it’s limited edition.
My acrylic on canvas painting “No Hoof, No Horse” incorporates the idea of degraded shapes like those found on ancient wall frescos or Byzantine mosaics. The idea of timeless beauty is enhanced with gold paint and a limited flat colour palette. Incorporating landscape, equine, and the following list of hoof images brings this piece into the modern day. I have attempted to illustrate several points:
- a solar view of a healthy hoof
- a partial cross section of the hoof capsule showing the coffin bone, navicular bone and part of the second pastern bone
- a 45’ front hoof toe angle, and a steeper 55’ rear hoof toe angle
- a 30’ coronary line
- the 3.5 cm heel height
- a balanced trim
The challenge of creating an illustration has caused me to think differently about peripheral edges as well as non-traditional depth of focus within a painting. Perhaps I shall return to this approach again as I like the freedom of two-dimensionality that it offers.
If you would like to view more of my acrylic art, visit my acrylic gallery.
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