Hoof Care For Horses: How To Keep Your Horse’s Hooves Healthy
Caring for your horse’s hooves is essential to their whole body wellness.
“No hoof, no horse,” as the saying goes, means that it’s essential to maintain your horse’s hooves to keep them pain-free and ready to ride. Ultimately, hoof care helps your horse live a long, healthy life.
Daily Hoof Care Tips
Every time you take your horse out, make sure to pick their hooves before the ride and before you put them away. While you’re removing sticks, rocks, and other debris, you can check for thrush, cracks, and other signs of hoof issues. Contact your farrier or equine veterinarian if you notice any discoloration, discharge, or signs of pain or discomfort.
Nutrition As Essential Hoof Care
You can help your horse grow stronger, healthier hooves by feeding the right diet.
In the spring, take care to not allow your horse to overeat when you turn them out to pasture after a long winter of eating hay. Fresh spring grass is high in sugar content, which can lead to founder or laminitis.
A diet high in grains, especially if you suddenly increase your horse’s grain intake without allowing their digestive system to adjust, can also lead to laminitis.
Your horse’s diet should primarily consist of grass or a high quality hay. You can add a supplement like The Missing Link Equine Skin & Coat Formula to supplement omega-3 fatty acids to help dry, cracked hooves grow denser and stronger.
Professional Hoof Care From Your Farrier
Wild horses do not need to have their hooves trimmed because they spend their days running across all kinds of rough terrain that naturally wears down their hooves.
For our horses, we must keep their hooves from becoming overgrown. Find a farrier you can trust and stick to them for your regular professional hoof care. Generally, horses need to have their hooves professionally trimmed every 5 to 6 weeks.
When your horse’s hooves are overgrown, they can become unbalanced and place stress on the hoof wall. This can lead to cracks and put a strain on your horse’s joints and tendons. Pain and discomfort can affect your horse’s posture and lead to injuries when they exercise.
Common Hoof Issues
Some horses are prone to dry hooves that crack. A feed supplement can help their hooves stay conditioned. You should also use a conditioner like Absorbine Hooflex Therapeutic Conditioner Ointment, a liquid that you apply to the hoof and frog with a paintbrush-like applicator. Hoof conditioning treatments contain antifungal and antibacterial agents to protect the hoof from infection.
Overly moist hooves, on the other hand, are prone to a yeast-like fungus infection called thrush. You’ll know your horse has thrush when you notice black discharge that smells like rotten eggs coming from the frog of the hoof. Exposure to mud and rain, especially in the springtime, causes thrush. Use Thrush Buster to treat and prevent thrush.