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December 31, 2006

Donkey Hoof Angles

By Vicki/ladywife

Question: How do I know what angle to trim my donkey’s hooves?

I just looked at the farrier record of the donkeys I have here now and they range from 58 degrees to 68 degrees on the fronts, and 60 to 70 degrees on the rear hooves. They are miniatures and mammoths. I don’t have a standard donkey here at the moment but the last ones that were here were within those ranges too. I have seen miniatures with 70 degree shoulders and 40 degree hips but those are at the extreme. Here are pictures of a donkey’s front and rear hoofs properly trimmed matching the shoulder/hip and pastern angles.


Question: Is there an actual, physical way of determining shoulder and hip angles?

Feel for the point of the shoulder and mark it with a piece of electric tape, and then feel for the top of the shoulder blade and measure the angle from the point of the shoulder to the top of the shoulder. Then feel for the point of the hip and mark it with a dot of electrical tape and feel for the peak of the pelvis (croup) and measure the angle.

If you don’t have a land compass (also known as a compass protractor with arm) to measure the angle, you can use a protractor and a ruler and get a fairly close estimate of the angles. Here is an example of the points you use to get the angles:


Just ignore the green electrical tape marking the front and rear of her shoulder blade and her last rib and it has nothing to do with her angles. I had taped her for the picture and this picture best shows her angles. The blue lines are marking her angles. It isn’t unusual for a donkey’s shoulder and hip angles to be very similar, if not equal, which is very unlike a horse. Most horses are steeper in the hip than they are in the shoulder, and donkeys are usually the opposite being steeper in the shoulder than they are in the hip. Nellietoo has a very nice slope to her shoulder and hip. Maude is just slightly more upright and steeper in the shoulder than in her hip.


Many problems can be avoided by simply evaluating the shoulder and hip angles and trimming the hooves accordingly.


Posted by Guest Contributor at December 31, 2006 04:22 PM