No hoof, no horse! Keep your horse’s hooves happy, healthy, and comfortable by using these 10 hoof care tips.
1. Pick hooves daily - better still, more than once a day! Before and after riding, before and after turnouts. The reasons are plenty - but the top reason is checking for stones, sticks, and other stuff that just gets stuck in there.
2. Keep a hoof pick near paddock gates and outside of stall doors for easy access. This also saves your horse some painful steps if he has something wedged in his hoof.
Use your halter hook to also hand a hoof pick!
3. Regular farrier care. Nothing beats having a farrier schedule that allows your horse to maintain balance - and this means not letting the hooves grow too much. Better to do frequent and minor trims, than infrequent and major trims.
4. Take regular photos of your horse’s hooves before and after farrier work. This helps you take note of trends over time.
5. Inspect the coronary band for cracks, abrasions, cuts, sores. You might find wounds, a case of scratches, ticks, and even the beginnings of a quarter crack or abscess working it’s way out the top of the hoof.
6. Learn how to pull a shoe that needs to be removed. Your Farrier can walk you through it! Some shoes can stay on until the Farrier arrives, some need to come off. If you are not sure, text a photo to your Farrier for guidance.
This Hoof Wraps pad provides cushion and helps to even out your horse's legs if one shoe is missing. Then he's more comfortable while the Farrier is on the way!
7. Protect his hooves if he loses a shoe. A bare hoof might not be a big deal, but he won’t be even from one side to the next if he’s only got one shoe on. So adding a little squish and a protective boot keeps him even and protects the hoof until the shoe can get tacked back on.
8. Use your nose. Thrush loves to be stinky before it becomes visible. You will likely never forget the smell of thrush, and you can usually discover the smell just after picking out the grooves.
9. Take your horse’s digital pulse daily! If you find a strong or bounding pulse, call the Vet. This is a sign something is brewing inside of the hoof! Check for heat on the hoof wall at the same time, this is also a sign of something brewing inside the hoof.
Check the temperature of your horse's hooves daily.
10. Go shopping every now and again for bell boots to protect his heels! Great for the frisky horse during turnout, and vital for trips on the trailer.
Happy hooves make for happy horses! And owners….
How do horse hooves grow?
Slowly! And they are influenced by a number of factors - ranging from genetics, to nutrition, to how much exercise your horse gets. Add to that where your horse lives, and how often your Farrier visits!
Hoof cracks can be totally benign - or they can cause major problems for your horse. Learn to spot hoof cracks early, and involve your Farrier and Veterinarian to help your horse have the best possible outcome.