Caring for Your Horse's Hooves (5 Tips)
A horse’s hooves are the foundation for every movement it makes: standing, grazing, running, and jumping. As a result, the ability of the horse’s hooves to support the horse’s enormous body and its movements are then also essential to its overall health and performance. A horse with unhealthy hooves is an unhealthy horse. So, it’s vital to take proper care of your horse’s hooves to ensure they can stand and move freely without pain, discomfort, or other hoof-related problems.
5 Tips on Taking Care of Your Horse's Hooves
1. Get a Veterinary Examination
The best way for a horse to have healthy hooves is for it to have good overall physical health. Schedule a visit to assess your horse’s health, evaluation confirmation and soundness and determine the best level of activity and exercise.
2. Hoof Moisture, Hygiene, and Dressings
Repeated wet-dry exposure can harm a horse’s hooves. Additionally, they can become impacted with mud and/or rocks which can lead to injuries. Check and clean your horse’s hooves frequently. If they are becoming cracked due to too many wet-dry cycles, consider dressing the hooves with special moisture-protective dressings.
3. Get a Farrier
One of the best strategies for good hoof health is to find a qualified farrier you can trust. Most horses need their hooves trimmed at least twice a year (summer and winter). Additionally, a farrier can help you evaluate whether your horse is best left with barefoot or if shoeing your horse will help to address any existing gait problems, traction issues, or tender hooves.
4. Keep Your Horse's Hooves Balanced
Unbalanced hooves can lead to injuries, discomfort, and performance issues. X-ray studies can assess your horse’s hooves from the inside (pattern angle, break over, heal support, and medial-lateral balance) and then your veterinary-farrier team can ensure that the feet are balanced and even.
5. Feed Your Horse a Hoof-Healthy Diet
An expert in equine nutrition can help you evaluate whether your horse’s hoof problems could be related to nutritional deficiencies.
Professional Horse Hoof Maintenance and Comprehensive Veterinary Care
Your horse’s hooves are the foundation for their entire performance, and they hold a pretty big burden. So, keeping them healthy is vital to your horse’s overall health, comfort, and performance. To learn more about taking care of your horse’s hooves or to enlist an experienced professional in the evaluation and maintenance of your horse’s hooves, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with an equine veterinarian from Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley.