Give your horse some of the best care by following our horse hoof care tips.
A horse’s environment and job have a great impact on their hooves. Proper horse hoof care is essential for the performance and overall health of your horse. As a responsible horse owner, you need to know about proper horse care. Daily grooming and maintaining your horse’s hooves should be some of your top priorities. Follow our horse hoof care tips to keep your horse’s hooves healthy. As always, we also recommend working with your veterinarian and farrier to provide optimal care.
Schedule a Regular Trimming
Schedule regular trimming by a farrier every six to eight weeks. A farrier is a horse hoof specialist, who trims and balances hooves, and also puts on horseshoes. Your horse’s hooves grow about 1/4″ per month. If they grow too long they’ll crack, chip off, break off in pieces and lead to serious leg injuries. If your horse wears its hooves too short, it can suffer from painful bruises and serious abscesses. A good farrier and regular maintenance can help prevent these problems.
Clean Off Buildup
Elements such as mud, rocks, manure and snow can pack into the bottom of your horse’s hooves. This buildup can put detrimental pressure on the sole and lead to bacterial infections or weaken the hoof structure. This is why it is extremely important to try to clean hooves with a hoof pick daily, or at least every time you ride. Well-trimmed hooves are fairly easy to clean.
During the dry seasons use hoof moisturizers to keep hooves from getting brittle. Try to avoid moisturizer that gives the hoof an oily coating because over time they may soften the hoof wall too much.
Keep Your Horse Out of Wet Bedding & Mud
Throughout rainy seasons keep clear of mud and avoid having your horse stand in wet bedding. This prevents fungi such as thrust and white line disease. Wet ground can also loosen a horseshoe from the suction. It can also make it harder for your horse to move, causing it to work twice as hard.
Use Supplements as Needed
Some horses need biotin and selenium supplements. These supplements will help your horse’s hooves get stronger.
Protect the Hooves With Horseshoes
Your horse may need horseshoes if it lives in rocky areas or has genetically soft or brittle hooves. Shoes protect their hooves from wear and help keep them in balance. Unless you ride a lot on hard, abrasive ground, shoes will last at least six weeks and can sometimes be reset.
Learn to Remove a Horseshoe
Learn to remove a horseshoe by yourself. If you can remove a shoe that has shifted or sprung, you can save your horse unnecessary pain and possible horse hoof damage. Most farriers will be happy to show you how to do this correctly, and guide you to the hoof care tools you will need to keep on hand.
Let Your Horse Go Barefoot
Keeping shoes off whenever possible is preferable, as it allows hooves to flex and get better blood flow. Allowing your horse to be barefoot also permits the foot to expand to its natural shape and wear to its natural length. In turn, this will improve horse hoof health over time.
Keep a Good Feed Program
A healthy horse has better hooves so maintain a good feed program. Animals who don’t receive quality nutrition will have reduced hoof growth. Horses with too little protein will also have poor quality hooves, which are likely to crack.
Give Your Horse Some Exercise
Exercise not only helps to keep your horse in shape, but it keeps hooves in shape too! You can throw the horse ball around or go for a walk to get your horse moving. Regular exercise, at a walk or a trot, on safe and sure surfaces, will increase blood circulation to the hooves and encourage healthy growth.