Well-groomed hooves are the be-all and end-all of a horse, even an old saying goes “no hoof, no horse”. If you neglect hoof care, you risk lameness and diseases of the hooves. Often it is not enough to just have the farrier come every few weeks. After all, the hoof bears the entire weight of a horse and requires a corresponding amount of care.
The proper care of the horse’s hooves
At the top of the list is scraping and daily inspection of the hooves. Manure and horse bedding must be cleaned out, otherwise it can lead to thrush, which is easily recognized by its stench. In this hoof disease, decaying bacteria break down the frog, the soft horn in the hoof.
Before and after riding, the hooves must always be checked. Foreign bodies such as stones must be removed, otherwise the sensitive hoof corium may be damaged. In horses without horseshoes, stones should be removed with a hoof scraper. Using a knife to drill around in the sensitive hoof to remove all stones is not recommended.
Grease and oils – are they necessary?
The summer of 2022 has left many hooves downright dry. Because of this, many horse owners have turned to hoof oil or grease to add some moisture to the hooves. However, oils and greases must be applied properly or they will actually contribute to further drying out the hoof. Before applying, it is best to place the hoof in a bucket of water for some time so that the horn can absorb the water. Finally, the oil or grease can be applied to the hoof, especially the coronet band, using a hoof brush. In this way, the moisture remains in the hoof. In winter, when it is very humid outside, you can regularly brush the hoof with grease and in this way protect the hoof from road salt. However, a healthy hoof does not usually need hoof oil or grease. If in doubt, consult with your farrier or hoof care professional as to whether they feel it is necessary to oil or grease the hoof.
What many horse owners often do not consider is that proper hoof care has something to do with proper husbandry. If you pay attention to dry bedding and do not put the horses in muddy paddocks and paddocks around the clock in the fall and winter, you prevent unwanted bacteria from settling in the hoof and causing disease. Sufficient exercise also guarantees that the hoof is supplied with enough blood and remains healthy. Proper hoof care, however, is not just about making sure the horse is dry and clean. Appropriate exercise and proper feed management can help prevent one of the most popular hoof diseases: laminitis.
Putting on the file yourself
Horses that run without horseshoes often have slight fraying at the edges of their hooves. To prevent larger cracks or even chipping there, you can file small bumps smooth again yourself with a small hoof rasp. To do this, simply pick up the hoof as you would when scraping it out. For the front hoof, clamp the leg between your legs and stabilize the hoof with one hand while you carefully file off the horn with the other hand. For the hind hoof, the procedure is similar, but the leg is placed on the thigh. If the horse is nervous, it is advisable to have a helper hold it. Regular hoof correction should always be performed by a professional.
When the farrier should come
In spite of all the care, it is still necessary to have the farrier come regularly. If horseshoes or Duplos are nailed or glued on, it is even unavoidable.
Depending on the horse, this period can be eight to twelve weeks, in the case of problem hooves even more often. Especially horses with malpositions should be presented to the farrier after four weeks at the latest, so that the malposition can be corrected. If the iron is bent or even lost, the farrier must also be contacted quickly. During this time, the horse should not be ridden and should stand on the softest possible ground, as the load on the musculoskeletal system is not even due to the missing or bent iron.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
The website will draw have authors who are vets, pet owners, and local pet breeders. All who will contribute their fantastic knowledge which in turn will be able to help you i hope.
There is a lot of information on the internet so it may be hard to know where exactly is the best place to start learning. But we will write articles that get straight to the point, and give you all the information that you need with no fluff!
If you have any questions please leave a comment on the article, and i will reply to you!