F-Balance concept is the consideration of the functional sole of the hoof in relation to its longitudinal flexibility.
One important natural factor manifests itself visibly in the hoof. It’s the functional sole. Daniel Anz name it level 0.
Considering this natural factor inherent to a horse’s foot during the process of hoof trimming ensures a precise, measurable and replicable result. This kind of result allows the exact replication of the trimming of the hoof, which is tailored to the horse’s needs in a given moment in time.
It is not possible to consider the functional sole correctly without relating it to the longitudinal flexibility of the hoof.
F-Balance has existed as long as horses have existed. It can be found on the horses’ every foot. Whether these are healthy or with defects, it is our responsibility to respect this balance and to consider it whenever trimming a hoof.
Daniel Anz named this type of balance F-Balance, adding the F in order to represent the word flexibility.
Trimming in level 0, +1, +2, +3 depending on the case… but never in -1.
F-balance is a NATURAL distinctive feature, inherent to the horse´s foot.
Given that the hoof is made up of a flexible corneal structure, it experiences two main movements, depending on the pressures received:
1- Transversal movement:
Also called horizontal expansion of the foot. This movement occurs when the foot is placed on the ground, producing a lateral fibro-elastic expansion of its structure due to the pressure the osseous spine exerts on the member as well as the counter-pressure deriving from the floor. Said expansion does not exceed 2 or 3 mm in extreme cases.
2- Longitudinal movement:
Also referred to as the vertical flexibility of the foot. It is caused when a barefoot hoof receives pressure only on one heel and, consequently, lifts the heel to a height of approximately 15 mm. The greatest flexing occurs under extreme pressure.
The functional principle of F-Balance
The horse’s F-Balance gives way to the shifting of the weight of the animal, from the laterals onto the center of the foot, stabilizing the position of the axis pertaining to the limb.
Imbalances pertaining to the horse’s foot – The natural longitudinal flexibility of the horse’s hoof when setting foot. The bridge is the result of trimming beyond the natural limits of the hoof, consequently creating a medial-lateral imbalance.
Natural movement of the hoof
The longitudinal flexibility is a NATURAL feature of the horse´s hoof since it is closed in the front and open in the back. The hoof in the video was trimmed beyond its natural limit and so the movement of said limit can be observed.
Daniel Anz states:
“Taking the hoof´s longitudinal flexibility into account in 1999 changed my life forever. Before that, I would only focus on the transversal flexibility and so my trimming followed the traditional hoof trimming technique. Upon the realization of the need of contemplating the natural mechanism of the foot combined with the simultaneous consideration of longitudinal flexibility, I could never trim a hoof following the traditional technique again. Simply put, nevermore.”