Hoof care is extra important in the summer season! During the summer, hooves need to be trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks. Proper hoof care is needed to keep your horse active and healthy. If you do not tend to your horse’s hooves, it can alter the rhythm of their stride, impacting joint and ligament strength. To avoid any strenuous joint pain to your horse, take extra care of their hooves every few weeks. Read on to find out how to keep your horse’s hooves healthy this summer!
Keep Hooves Balanced
Balanced hooves help your horse to move easier, and avoid any strain on important bones, ligaments, and tendons. There are four main characteristics of a perfectly balanced hoof: a straight-hoof pastern angle, easy break-over, adequate heel support, and medial-lateral balance.
Straight-hoof pastern angle: A straight line from the pastern through the front of the hoof wall. This aligns the bones from the pastern to the coffin bone.
Easy break-over: The toe is not rounded, squared, or rolled. This structure allows for ease of movement with each step. Too much break-over can result in health problems
Adequate heel support: The shoe must extend back to the end of the hoof wall and support the back of the entire leg.
Medial Lateral Balance: Medial Lateral balance is observed when each foot lands evenly from side to side as the horse walks.
Hoof Care Tips
Pick your horse’s feet: The single most important thing you can do is pick your horse’s feet. Owners need to know how to do this, it is not just the farrier’s job. Before each ride, remove any stones or debris lodged in the hooves and check on the shoes. Do this again after rides, when you bring them in at night, and each morning to ensure the best hoof health.
Look for signs: Keep an eye out for signs of thrush, puncture, cracks, and abscess. Thrush is the first clue of a bacterial infection. It is a foul smell and a dark ooze in the hoof. Thrush can be cured with over-the-counter medicine. If your horse’s foot gets punctured by a nail or debris, do not pull it out. Wrap the affected area with duct tape or a medication boot and call your veterinarian immediately. Cracks can be a sign of insensitive hoof structure and improper shoeing. If you notice cracks in the hooves, call your farrier immediately. Lastly, abscess occurs when your horse’s pulse is noticeably faster and their foot is warm to the touch. If you notice these symptoms, contact your veterinarian or farrier immediately to avoid any further pain or injury.
Schedule farrier visits: Every six to eight weeks, schedule trimming and shoeing. Visits should be more frequent in the summer months and less frequent in the winter months.
Check and replace shoes: Many farriers are pleased to show clients how to change shoes. If you are in a bind, replacing your horse’s shoe yourself can save time, money, and any extra pain for your horse.
Diet: Fine-tuning your horse’s diet will help keep their hooves in shape. Add biotin to their diet to help support hoof growth.
Exercise: Walking and trotting on smooth surfaces supports your horse’s hooves and promotes growth.
Hoof moisturizer: Apply hoof moisturizer to the wall and sole of the hoof during dry and hot weather.
The best thing that you can do for your horse is keep their hooves trimmed at least every 6 to 8 weeks and replace their shoes as needed. Always make sure to pick the hooves before and after riding. At Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines, you can donate to give a horse a pedicure! Check out donation options here, and check out our Tik Tok series “Farrier Friday!” Learn more about Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines on our website: https://www.ryerssfarm.org/