A Basic Guide To Horse Hoof Care
The structure of the horse’s feet is naturally designed to support its body weight. Therefore, taking care of horse hooves is essential to ensure its long term well-being. Routine foot care is extremely vital as any possible issues with the hooves can significantly affect the mobility and health of the horse.
A horse owner should get their horse checked regularly by a farrier to rule out any problems with the hooves. However, year-round hoof maintenance lowers the risk of any possible issues to a great deal. Here are some tips on horse hoof care:
In summers, a horse’s shod should be trimmed at least every six weeks. However, there is no hard and fast rule; a horse owner can trim their horse’s hooves whenever they feel the need. In fact, competition horses need more frequent trimming than regular horses. A balanced foot makes the mobility of the horse better by reducing the stress and strain on the bones. Make sure to look for these things when inspecting your horse’s feet:
- Straight hoof-pastern angle: a straight line from the pastern all the way to the front of the hoof wall.
- Easy break over: making sure the toe is not too long and is rounded or squared.
- Heel support: the back edge of the shoe should be under the center of the cannon bone.
- Medial lateral balance: foot landing equally from side to side.
The horse’s nutrition also contributes to hoof health. Proving an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals and access to fresh, clean water can ensure good hoof health.
Hooves generally don’t need frequent trimming because of the slow growth rate in the winters. Trimming intervals can range up to eight to twelve weeks in the winters. Dry weather can be very damaging to the horse hoof, causing dry, brittle feet with cracks. To avoid this, apply hoof moisturizers to the soles and hoof walls to prevent cracks.
In addition to this, in winter snow can ball up under the sole and cause bruising. Use snow pads to prevent snow from building up under the shoe. It also allows better traction against the slippery ice.
Some Important Tips for Horse Hoof Care
- Apply oil to the hooves every day to help prevent any splits and cracks.
- Use a hoof pick on the feet every day
- Inspect the horse shoes for any possible wear and tear, like raised clenches, pinching across the bulbs of the heel, flares, cracks, and any overgrown hooves.
- Remove any stones or sharp objects lodged in the horse’s feet before you take it on a ride.
- Add a supplement with biotin, like, Science Supplements 4Feet to your horse’s diet plan. It will take up to 6 months to start showing its effects on the hooves, so be consistent with the plan.
Use these guidelines along with supplements to ensure good hoof quality and growth by improving the cracking, splitting, and hoof horn weakness. To explore more options for horse hoof care, visit Little Fields Farm.