Hello, horse owners!
Taking care of your horse’s hooves is very important.
All horse owners should know basic horse hoof care and Hoof anatomy.
So what horse hoof care information do you know?
Everyday Horse Hoof Care:
As a horse owner, it is up to you to maintain your horse hoof care cleaning in between your farrier’s visit.
Proper hoof care is the first and for most when taking care of your horse’s feet. Your horse’s feet need to be picked and cleaned out every day, especially before riding, to clean out any manure, rocks or other debris.
Cleaning your horse’s feet out every day also helps you recognize and better know your horse’s hooves so that you will be more aware of any potential problems or issues going on with their feet.
Know what to look for:
Common issues that occur in horse’s hooves.
- white line disease
- Hoof cracks
Thrush is a common bacterial and fungal infection in the frog and sulci of the hoof. It likes to thrive in manure and wet and dirty conditions. May have a black smelly ooze. Keep hooves picked and treat with an anti-bacterial treatment for thrush.
White Line Disease:
Also known as seedy toe, is a bacterial or fungal infection of the white line and causes a separation between the insensitive and sensitive laminae structures of the hoof, which makes the hoof wall lose quality.
Many people describe white line disease as having a powdery or cottage cheese-like appearance. White line disease does not cause any pain or lameness unless the infection is severe enough. White line disease is not the same thing as thrush.
All horses at one time or another may develop a crack in the hoof wall. There are different types of cracks and can be caused by a variety of things. Sand cracks and grass cracks are the most common; they are superficial vertical cracks.
They usually do not cause an issue. Sand cracks start from the coronary band and go down, whereas grass cracks start from the ground and go up. Heel and quarter cracks are more severe and can be more damaging. They can be caused by balance issues, work overload and injury just to name a few.
An abscess is a pocket of infection in the hoof wall between the sensitive laminae and can cause severe lameness in some cases. Abscesses may occur when bacteria get trapped between the hoof wall.
Puss then builds up between the hoof wall or the sole of the horse’s foot and creates pressure. As a result, lameness occurs. If you suspect an abscess in your horse’s hoof, contact your farrier.
laminitis/founder or navicular disease are other hoof problems that may cause issues that you may not know what to look for. Some possible signs to look for is severe lameness and if your horse is resistant to walk or put weight on their front feet.
These problems are a lot more severe and would need farrier treatment right away. If you are unsure of any hoof related issues, the best thing to do is contact your farrier as soon as possible for the best hoof care.
Your horse’s hooves should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks, but there are many variables that play a role to determine the right trimming schedule for your horse.
You know your horse better than anyone, so with help from your farrier, you can put your horse on a proper schedule.
Proper nutrition, weather conditions, and hoof problems are all a factor to consider when getting your horse trimmed or shoed.
♦ Proper nutrition is the most crucial factor. A well-balanced diet helps hooves grow strong.
♦ Weather conditions can be harsh on your horse’s feet. In the summer months, dry conditions can make your horse’s hooves brittle and crack.
In the summer, your horse stomps at flies and bugs making them more susceptible to cracking and chipping. Rasping your horse’s hooves between trimmings can help prevent cracking and chipping. Be sure to ask your farrier for help until you get the hang of it.
Wet weather conditions may make your horse more prone to thrush and other infections of the hoof.
In the winter months, horses hooves tend to grow slower. Some believe it is because we do less riding in the winter. Therefore there is less movement in the hooves, causing less blood circulation to stimulate more hoof growth. Also, there is less grass to graze on,
which means fewer sugars and other nutrients. Daily hoof picking in the winter is also necessary to clean out any snowballs packed in the hooves.
♦ Horses that do more riding may require less time in between trimming or shoeing (which would mean trimming more often).
For example, horses that are being trail ridden a lot on unforgiving surfaces such as rocks or pavement, or performance horses that need to keep their hooves well manicured would require less time between trims.
Horses with chronic hoof problems may also require less time between trimming and special
shoes or care.
There are many products available for hoof care and maintenance from hoof pick to oils, moisturizers, and topicals.
Hoof anatomy: It is good to educate yourself on the basic structure and anatomy of the horse hoof just in case an issue may occur.
This information is for informational purposes only. Talk to your farrier for further treatments or advise.
Thank you for the interest in Horse Hoof Care Information.
Comments, questions are welcome. All the best to you! Michelle