General horse hoof care is vital in the development and activity of your horse. A lot rides on them. From its ability to run, jump, ride trails, participate in competitions and interact with you and other horses. However, several factors can affect your horse’s hoofs considerably. From harsh weather, surrounding environment, riding terrain, horseshoes, nutrition, heredity and turnout frequency all have an overall effect of hoof health.
Often, hoof care is deemed as a time-consuming burden instead of a necessary part of a horse’s daily management. There are a large number of horse owners who believe that hoof care is the sole responsibility of their farrier. But there is more to healthy hooves than trims and shoes. Of course, farriers and veterinarians play an important role in the health of all animals. But along with proper trimming and care from these licensed professionals, several factors come into play on the owners’ part. Proper hoof care is driven by nutrition, environment, wound and injury prevention and care, and cleaning. All of which begins with the owner.
How Healthy Are Your Horse’s Hooves?
- There are several signs that indicate good hoof health and care. Some these signs are:
- The hoof wall is smooth and uniform
- Hoof wall is free of cracks, rings, flares, etc.
- Hoof wall thickness is at least ⅜”
- Hoof wall taper smoothly towards the heel
- Rubbery, resilient frog that is twice as long as it is wide
- Frog does not contain any deep cracks
If you see that your horse’s hooves do not look like what is described, then it’s time to take care of those hooves!
There are several magnificent topical and conditioners on the market that work miracles on dry and cracked hooves. The most commonly used topical is Keratex Hoof Hardener. It works on the hooves to strengthen and protect hooves. It will not seal the hoof which allows the hoof to breathe and at the same time function naturally like nature intended. It improves and strengthens the molecular structure of the hoof wall and soles. It works extremely well on poor quality hoof walls and assists in keeping horseshoes on tight. Another added bonus is that is can be used on any other hoofed animals you may own!
The second most recommended product for your horses hooves is Hooflex Magic Cushion. Hooflex Magic Cushion support hooves in several ways including relieving sole bruising and post-trimming soreness, treating abscesses, and fighting bacterial and fungal infections in the hoof. It can be used as needed, or packed under a shoe and pad and left in place through the shoeing cycle.