It has been brought to my attention that I gave a very poor example of a properly trimmed and balanced barefoot in my Hooves 101 thread.
I blame the fact that most people don't take pictures of balanced feet, and only seem to take pictures of hooves in the middle of rehabbing. Refer to Why I need a Hoof Journal post on why you shouldn't take your balanced hooves for granted. It would also make life easy for me to use real-life exampled instead of "ideal" pictures (as we know, there is no such thing as an ideal horse).
The person who pointed out my mistake sent me a wonderful picture of a balanced and barefoot hoof. This is a great reference point.
Of course it isn't perfect (no hoof is), but this is a great example of how a front hoof should look from the lateral view. Which reminds me: One of the best ways to evaluate your horse's hoof for an overall look at balance is the lateral view (and not at a downward angle). For some reason people usually post the front view of the hoof, which can be good in some cases, but cannot provide an adequate picture like the one above. (Edited: another great way is the solar view, which is a bit trickier to take a picture of. Thank you Mrs. Mom!!!)
So, why is this a picture-perfect example of a balanced hoof? Remember our diagrams in Hooves 101? The first thing I look for is, does the heel angle match the toe angle? Check. I also look to see if it looks like the horse is walking on a heel, and not trying to balance starting half-way down the hoof (a sign of an underslung heel).
The best part about a balanced barefoot hoof is that a balanced shod hoof should follow the same examples. I will discuss barefoot vs. shod at some point and don't want to get into it here. But regardless if your horse is shod or barefoot, if it's balanced, it should be somewhat similar to this hoof.