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How To Care For Your Horse's Hooves

How To Care For Your Horse's Hooves

How to care for your horses hooves: A well cared for hoof is essential, so follow VideoJug's simple guide for healthy, well maintained hooves for your horse.

Step 1: The benefits

A well cared for hoof is vital for the prevention of lameness, joint, back and leg problems and enables your horse to move freely and comfortably.

Step 2: You will need...

  • 1 Hoof pick
  • 1 Experienced farrier
  • 1 Hoof growth treatment
  • 1 Bucket of water
  • 1 Water brush
  • 1 Brush and some hoof grease

Step 3: Check the hooves

It is thoroughly recommended that you check them at least twice daily, before and after riding. Pick up the horses feet, and using the hoof pick remove any mud and stones. Always work from the heel to the toe. Be careful not to dig the hoof pick into the frog, which is here. Sharp stones, are uncomfortable for the horse and can cause severe bruising and lameness. And objects such as nails and glass, may cause puncture wounds, which in turn can cause major infections and lameness. Similarly, if wet mud or soiled bedding is left in the hoof for a long time, moist, dirty conditions may cause a fungal infection, called thrush.

Step 4: Care of the hoof wall

The hoof wall controls the moisture balance. If you keep your horse in a hot dry climate, using a dampened water brush wash the underside of the hoof and the outer wall. This prevents the hooves from drying out and becoming brittle. In damp, wet climates protect the hoof by greasing the underside with hoof oil. Brush over the sole, frog, heel and then the outer hoof wall. This not only gives them a neater appearance but stops the hooves becoming too soft and weak.

Step 5: Trim the hooves

Using an experienced, registered farrier, have your horses hooves trimmed every 6 weeks. This helps to maintain good hoof balance, regulates excessive growth and prevents the hooves from splitting and cracking.

Step 6: Shoe him regularly

If your horse works a lot on hard ground or the road, it is vital to get him shod every 4-6 weeks. This prevents excessive wear to the hoof wall and stops the horse becoming foot sore. If a shoe becomes loose or falls off, call out your farrier immediately.

Step 7: Some final advice

Always make sure that your stable has clean bedding. Ask your farrier to advise you on a good hoof treatment, if necessary. Grease it on the coronet band to stimulate hoof growth, twice weekly. Feed your horse a balanced diet. However, be aware that over feeding him could cause laminitis, a metabolic disorder, just as a lack of essential vitamins and minerals could cause weak hooves with poor growth.