Your horse depends on good hoof care practices. Without proper attention like hoof trimming and cleaning, your horse could sustain injuries or even suffer lameness. As a horse owner, there are a variety of different things you need to do on a regular basis in order to ensure that your horse’s hooves are healthy. Below are some of the most important ways you can care for your horse’s hooves.
Clean Hooves Daily
For this job, you’ll need a stiff-bristled brush and a hoof pick. This activity is especially important before and after trail rides. While you’re performing the cleaning, check your horse’s hooves for signs of injury and other problems. Look for issues like cracks in the hoof, objects puncturing the hoof, abscesses, foul smells and dark ooze. All of these symptoms are indications of a problem and should be addressed right away. Talk to your horse’s veterinarian for further advice, if you notice any of these symptoms.
Maintain Adequate Hoof Moisture
Your horse’s hoof moisture needs to remain at consistent levels. Hooves that are too moist are susceptible to conditions like thrush, while hooves that are too dry may crack or break. Climate and weather play a big role in your horse’s hoof moisture levels. Hot, dry weather leads to cracks in the hooves, while wet weather can lead conditions like thrush.
To avoid cracks in your horse’s hooves during times of hot or dry weather, apply hoof moisturizer regularly. To avoid conditions like thrush, especially during times of the year when the weather outside is wet and muddy, use topical conditioners that prevent infection. Muck the stalls daily and fill in pasture holes that gather water and turn to mud.
Check the condition of the pasture regularly, especially during times of wet weather, to avoid a big muddy mess in the areas where your horse spends time. If possible, build your horse a run-in shelter that will stay sufficiently dry when rain falls outside. If your horse has no run-in shelter, bring him or her in to the barn regularly to ensure the hooves can dry out.
Ensure Your Horse Gets Adequate Nutrition
Nutrition plays a big role in the condition of your horse’s hooves. Good quality hay as well as nutrition supplements and proper hydration can help your horse stay healthy and avoid hoof injuries. Maintaining good nutrition over many years can help ensure good hoof health over the course of your horse’s lifetime. If you’re not sure whether or not your horse’s diet is adequate, or if your horse’s hooves are constantly having problems, check with your horse’s veterinarian about your horse’s nutrition.
Have your horse see the veterinarian and farrier on a regular basis. A healthy horse will need semi-annual visits with the veterinarian. Trimming and shoeing needs will change with the seasons. During the summer, horses need to be shod every 6 to 8 weeks. When winter comes, your horse will need to be shod every 8 to 12 weeks. Consult with the farrier and veterinarian before deciding on the schedule that’s right for your horse.
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At the National Animal Supplement Council, we support good horse, dog and cat health through proper nutrition and supplements. You can support our cause by joining our ranks! To get started, click here.
The NASC Quality Seal
The goal of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) is to promote the health and well-being of companion animals and horses that are given animal health supplements by their owners, and to protect and enhance the integrity of the animal health product industry. When you see the NASC Quality Seal on animal health supplements, you can trust you are buying from a reputable company that has successfully completed an independent quality audit and has complied with rigorous requirements necessary to gain permission to display the Quality Seal. To learn more, and to access meaningful information on all aspects of health and wellness for dogs, cats and horses, visit AnimalHealthLive.com.