Laminae of the hoof wall.
Epidermal and dermal laminae attach the hoof wall to the pedal bone. The laminae are truly incredible. They provide a strong attachment of the hoof wall to the pedal bone, whilst allowing the hoof wall to grow and move down, over the pedal bone. This is no mean feat when you think about the incredible forces placed on the hoof wall when a horse moves at speed, or jumps.
The epidermal and dermal laminae are like the interlocking pages of two books. (see diagram….) This gives a large area of attachment; around one metre square of surface area in an average horse. There is a physical bond between the epidermal and dermal layers that provides extra strength. It is the breaking and remaking of these physical bonds that allows the epidermal laminae to slide over the dermal laminae as the hoof wall grows. I will write more about the laminae later as they are quite complex and many things can affect the way they function.
The pedal bone or third phalanx is the last bone in the leg. It is also sometimes called the coffin bone. Both the hoof wall and sole attach to this structure. In this diagram (ref diagram) I have used a wedge shape to represent the pedal bone; I feel that this is truer to the bones actual shape. In many diagrams it is represented in cross section to allow illustration of the attachment of the deep digital flexor tendon. There is a lot to say about the pedal bone and its orientation within the hoof capsule and is something that I will expand on in other sections, most notably when discussing Navicular Syndrome.