Maintaining a horse and keeping them healthy is never an easy job. There’s a lot of work involved and you have to take care of so many different things. You have to feed them properly, allow them to exercise enough and spend time outdoors. Provide them a lot of attention and medical assistance if necessary.
In all of that work, hooves are something that you might forget. But they are very important for your horse. They need their hooves to be healthy in order to be happy and live a long life. If there’s something wrong, they can’t have proper exercise or possibly even eat properly. Click here to learn more about their hooves.
So, here are some tips on taking care of your horse’s hooves.
First and foremost, you need to figure out what’s normal for your horse. When you handle your horse and their feet, pay attention to all of the details, starting from their temperature to their heartbeat and so on. Check the frog for texture – it should be as firm as a new eraser when it’s healthy and in good condition. Remember that horses shed the frog around every six months or even more often.
The only reason why you may have not noticed this before is that your farrier has taken care of it during their visits.
This is very basic, yet still worth the mention. Many owners think that this is a job for the farrier and not them. However, it’s crucial to be done often – in fact, every time before you ride them. You can fix common problems this way and prevent any huge issues.
Remove any stones or other strange objects from their feet and only then can you ride them without harming them. Check the condition of your horse’s shoes after you are done riding them. Something might have gotten stuck there and it can be harmful to them if it stays there.
You should also check for injuries, heat, and pulse.
Gently clear their hooves and scrape any other bits out.
Here are some things you should pay attention to:
- Thrush – This is a bacterial condition that is caused by your horse spending too much time standing in dirty environments or if they used pads for too long. You will notice that their feet smell bad and that they are oozing a darker fluid. The frog can become cheesy, way softer than it should be. This can cause big damage but if caught on time, it can be solved relatively easily. Use remedies given by your farrier and make sure that the stall is clean. Learn more about thrush here: https://practicalhorsemanmag.com/health-archive/how-to-treat-my-horses-thrush-27863
- Punctures – If something hurts your horse’s feet and then just falls out, the wound can easily become infected even though it will be invisible. You should pay close attention to punctures if you want to avoid abscess. In some cases, whatever punctured them will stay there and cause them pain. You shouldn’t pull it out but rather protect the foot and call a professional. This is why checking regularly is so important.
- Cracks – Some are harmless and some are not. If you notice it, call your farrier as soon as possible. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Abscess – When checking your horse’s feet, you should also check for their heartbeat and pulse. If it feels stronger than usual, then you could have a problem with abscess. If you check their feet on a regular basis, you can notice it on time and prevent it quickly. This can be fatal, so it’s best to call a professional on time.
There’s no one who knows more about your horse’s feet than your farrier, so you should have regular visits from them. Every six or eight weeks is good, but you can make it even more frequent.
Especially so if you have had some hoove problems in the past.
And whenever you notice an issue, you should call them immediately. They will know what to do and they will take care of your horse’s feet properly.
In this case, you should check their feet and their shoes every single time because they might be having some issues like:
- Shifted shoe – If your horse’s shoe is not flat on their hoof and it’s pulled or bent, this means that it’s sprung. It can also be shifted. All of this requires a quick visit from your farrier. The nails could hurt their feet and placing weight on that can be even more dangerous.
- Clinches – A farrier will trim and clinch the ends of the nails. But if they are now sticking out this is a sign of loosening and you should call a professional.
This might sound strange as the professional can handle it best, but most farriers are happy to teach you how to do this. This is important because you can help your horse when they are suffering without waiting for them to arrive. Of course, they’ll still have to fix the situation, but it’s important to handle damage quickly.
Here are some tips on helping your horse grow the healthiest hooves that they possibly can.
- Healthy diet – This is a good topic to talk about with your vet. Some hooves are simply better than others, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do better. You can find a good horse hoof diet and maintain it for optimal condition.
- Give them biotin – Your farrier will likely recommend some biotin for your horse’s feet and you should definitely add it to their ration.
- Exercise – They should be exercising on proper surfaces. They should walk and trot because it promotes growth by giving their feet better circulation.
As you can see, caring for your horse’s feet doesn’t have to be that hard, especially when you know how. Make sure that you follow these tips to keep them happy and healthy.