Hoof care is an important part of horse ownership. Horses that don’t have their hooves cared for regularly can develop a variety of feet problems, and it can be difficult to treat these issues once they happen. This article offers helpful tips on how to care for your horse’s hooves, so you can avoid these situations altogether!
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Why Horses Need to Have Their Hooves Cleaned and Trimmed Regularly
Horses are grazing animals, which means they spend much of their time walking on pasture land. Without the protection of shoes or other artificial hoof coverings that allow them to walk without wearing down their feet, horses’ hooves grow long quickly if not maintained.
Horses and ponies need hoof trims, which the farrier will perform as needed. The inside of a horse’s front feet grows faster than other regions on its body due to biomechanics; this means that they stand more firmly on their forelimbs which creates increased pressure at those points. For these reasons, an equine veterinarian may recommend special trimming procedures like wall reduction (thinning out hard ridges found along walls) periodically if issues arise.
- Hooves that are not regularly trimmed can cause lameness in the horse.
- Long hooves contribute to increased risk of infection and discomfort for horses, who tend to pick up dirt, rocks, sticks, or other materials while grazing on pasture land.
- Horses without properly maintained hooves may develop laminitis (inflammation within the structure of their feet) which is very painful and potentially life-threatening.
Common Hoof Diseases in Horses Include
To prevent hoof disease, it is important to take your horse for regular visits with a farrier every six weeks.
Laminitis (inflammation within the structure of their feet) can be very painful and potentially life-threatening. To avoid this condition, seek help from a professional in order to have your horse’s hooves regularly trimmed down about once per month. In addition, watch out for signs that may indicate laminitis such as lethargy, increased temperature or heart rate when near water sources, etc., weight loss despite being fed adequately by an owner who monitors his diet on a daily basis, and lameness caused due to long/overgrown hooves that could result in damage to joints if not tended to quickly.
Thrush is a bacterial infection of the hoof horn. Thrush can be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. If the condition is left alone it can result in more damage to your horse’s hooves, so it should be treated immediately with an antiseptic solution that will kill off both of these infections.
Horn splits are more common in horses with larger feet and appear when the hoof wall is damaged. This damage may be due to a blow, puncture wound, or poor shoeing. Horn splits can also occur if you use your horse’s nails for traction on slippery surfaces such as concrete, which causes them to wear down faster than they should.
Care Hooves – Every Day
Care hooves every day – not just once a week. This is important for several reasons: first, you are allowing any small problems to be seen early on so they can be dealt with more easily; second, it allows the farrier (horseshoer on) to see what’s going and deal with things as required before an obvious problem arises. If your horse spends most of his time indoors or in soft sand stalls, he will need some protection from rocks that might injure his feet while being dragged about by him all over the place! Be sure though that if you use studs under your horseshoes then don’t put them on when there’s anything slippery around – this includes, mud or wet grass.
You should give your horse’s hooves a quick once over after each ride or turnout session to make sure that there isn’t any loose debris such as stones stuck between his toes (a common cause for laminitis) or pebbles caught up underneath his shoe which could injure him if they work their way into his sensitive frog region while he walks around on them. If you notice anything abnormal about your horse’s foot it would be best to have a veterinarian.
This Must be Taken Into Account When Scraping Hooves
It is important to note that scraping a hoof too aggressively can cause the bars of the hoof to become weak.
For instance, if you have been using something other than a rasp to scrape your horse’s feet and experience cracks in his/her soles or sides after they walk on concrete for an extended period of time, this could be a sign that the bars are weak.
In such cases, it is best to slowly transition back into using a rasp and avoid scraping the hooves altogether until they once again become solid and hard enough for you to safely scrape them with your rasp or file.
Wash and Grease Hooves
Wash the hooves with warm water and a mild shampoo. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away dirt, then rinse off the suds using clean water from a hose or bucket. This is not only good for your horse’s skin, but it helps you see how much mud they have been standing in.
And What About Horseshoes?
After the hooves are clean, they should be dried off thoroughly. If you want to leave shoes on your horse, then it is important that you allow them plenty of time for their feet to dry out before applying any type of grease or oil. Otherwise, this can trap moisture in between the shoe and foot which will lead to sores developing underneath if not treated immediately.
Also, for shod horses, check regularly to see if the shoe is still tight. If the shoe is loose, call the farrier to take care of it. With barefoot horses, on the other hand, the daily check is on the hoof edges. If sharp edges have formed here, they should be smoothed with a rasp.
When the Farrier Comes
Keep an eye out for signs of poor circulation or other issues with your horses’ hoof health so that you can take care of it before more serious problems arise! Horse owners who do not want to go through this process themselves usually turn to professionals at a stable in order to ensure that their animals receive proper foot care every time.
Shod horses should be taken to the farrier every six to eight weeks. The farrier removes the irons and shapes the horn layer underneath. This ensures that the horse stands straight on its hooves. This regular visit is important to prevent the hooves from growing too long, thus avoiding changes in leg position, tendon damage, and joint overload.
The Farrier for Barefoot Horses
The farrier removes the old shoes with a hoof knife of a barefoot horse and then shapes the hooves with a rasp or a grinder in order to maintain its correct angle.
Regular maintenance is important for these animals because their feet grow fast, which can lead to lameness if they are not properly cared for. Horses that live on soft terrain such as sand benefit from this type of care due to the fact that it helps them get rid of mud and other impurities found in their environment after heavy rainfall.
Start caring for your horses by making sure you trim their hoofs regularly. Horse hoof nippers should cut off any sharp edges located around your animal’s foot so he does not injure himself while walking.