|Thoroughbred Studs||Sport Horse Studs||Specialist Breed Studs||Racing Syndicates||Bloodstock Agents|
|Thoroughbred Stallions||Sport Horse Stallions||Specialist Breed Stallions||Transport||Equine Health|
|TB Nominations||Sport Horses for Sale||Specialist Horses for Sale||Saddleries||Equine Nutrition|
|Product & Services||Horse Feed||Equine Diseases||Horse Husbandry||Equine Sports|
|Home:Equine Diseases:Hoof Damage|
EQUINE HOOF DAMAGETweet
The hoof is the horny part of a horse's foot and it should be a priority of all horse owners to aim for the very best hoof quality possible. Equine hoof damage brings nothing but trouble, hinders the horse in his everyday performance and causes major problems for the horse, yourself and the farrier.
Your horse's hooves are made up of keratin. This is a complex, sulphur-rich protein which grows on a continual basis, similar to the coat, mane and tail. Hoof horn is constantly being worn away and replaced. The ideal equine hoof quality should be strong and pliable and not brittle and cracked.
The basic quality of your horse's hooves depends on factors such as breed,characteristics, diet, exercise, hoof care routine, weather, farrier, and bedding. You can influence almost all of these factors by good stable management, a good farrier and meticulous attention to diet. It is all down to you. Good stable management should be your gospel– even foals benefit from a good daily “hooficure”!
SYMPTOMS OF EQUINE HOOF DAMAGE
Some of the following symptoms may help you identify equine hoof damage :
CAUSES OF EQUINE HOOF DAMAGE
There are many and varied causes of equine hoof damage. Recognition of some of the following causes may help to eliminate damage and improve the quality of your horse's hooves.
TREATMENT FOR EQUINE HOOF DAMAGE
The good aspect of E quine Hoof Damage is that you can do so much yourself to heal the damage and considerably improve the quality of your horse's hooves.
Hygiene is of major importance to the quality of hooves. Pick out the horses feet twice daily to remove any debris picked up such as dried manure. There is ammonia in manure and urine and this will cause the hoof to soften and lead to ideal breeding conditions for bacterial infections such as thrush and other fungal infections. Brush the dirt from the sides and bottom of the hooves and spray often with an iodine solution avoiding the frog and coronet area as iodine tends to dry these out.
Keep the stable and bedding clean. Some bedding can tend to dry hooves out - good quality shavings are recommended as bedding.
Avoid having your horse stand in wet, muddy and dirty conditions. This will help prevent the horn becoming too soft. In dry weather, daily rinses can help a lot.
Nutrition is the next area to tackle. Your horse's diet has a huge effect on the horn quality and growth rate. Major dietary components affecting hoof quality are calcium, zinc, methionine, biotin, lysine, MSM, ascorbic acid, vitamin B6, copper and sulphur. Your vet will recommend a good combination feed suitable to your horse's lifestyle. Consideration will need to be given to how much free range the horse has enabling it to eat plants which contain good sources of nutrients or how much it is confined to the stable and limited in what it can eat. No individual single nutrient is the key to a healthy hoof. Good quality hooves are the result of good overall nutrition.
Try to exercise your horse on suitable terrain and avoid pitted and the more uneven surfaces if possible.
A good Farrier is the last link in the chain. After you, the farrier has the most influence on keeping your horse's hooves and feet in good condition. It is an accepted and recognised maxim that “ good farriery is influenced by hoof growth and not shoe wear”. Make sure you get recommendations from your vet on which farrier to use.
A good farrier will
Your contribution to the farrier's service should be to
If your horse's hooves were in bad condition it will take some time to see signs of improvement. Any problem horn needs to grow out first before the new healthy hoof horn appears. It could take many weeks after you have implemented new practices, to see improvement.
Lastly, why not pamper your four-legged friend by applying some hoof moisturiser to deep condition the hooves. There are some polishes and sealers which will give your horse's hooves magnificent gloss finish and shine on all hoof colours. They generally dry very quickly e.g. 60 seconds! Some products contain tea tree oil which is wonderful for fighting bacterial and fungal threats. There are many wonderful products which you can find online to enhance your horse's chances of having tough flexible hooves that very rarely have problems.