Owning a horse is a big responsibility and taking care of their hooves is an important aspect for any horse owner. As they bear a large proportion of your horse's weight, strong and healthy hooves are crucial to support them throughout their life.
Despite being tough and resilient keeping your horse’s hooves healthy can ensure they enjoy a better quality of life. Understanding what to look out for to support healthy hoof growth can be key to your horse remaining healthy and strong.
When taking care of your horse’s feet and hooves, things to look out for include:
Management factors play a significant role in optimising hoof health. To help manage and support your horse’s hoof health, here are some top tips:
These will help to protect your horse’s hooves. Horseshoe requirements will differ from horse to horse, so it’s advised to consult a farrier who will be able to suggest the best shoe for your horse’s needs.
One of the biggest factors of hoof health is stable management and keeping on top of the environment they live in. Make sure your horse has clean and dry bedding and their stable is free of wet or dirty materials. Avoid keeping your horse in a muddy paddock or pasture.
Pick out your horses feet
This is the single most important thing you can do for your horse to maintain healthy hooves. It’s important to do this regularly to check for any stones or small objects that may have become lodged in their feet. It’s recommended to check your horse’s feet before you ride them, when you bring them in at night and before you turn them out in the morning.
Handle your horse’s hooves on a regular basis to get your horse used to them being picked up and worked on. This will also give you an opportunity to keep an eye on their hooves to maintain their health.
Applying hoof oil to your horse's hooves everyday during the summer months can help to maintain their health. In dry weather, soaking your horse’s feet in water and applying a hoof dressing can help the hooves to retain moisture.
Don’t leave them to stand in mud
Avoid leaving your horse to stand for hours in mud or damp conditions. This could encourage thrush and the suction of deep mud could also drag off a shoe that is already loose due to alternating wet and dry conditions.
Check your horse’s shoes
Look for signs of wear and tear that might mean a farrier is needed. Problems to look for could include, risen clenches, pinching across the bulbs of the heel and overgrown and misshapen feet.
Schedule regular farrier visits
It is recommended that this should be on average between six to eight weeks each time, depending on your horse’s individual needs. This may change from summer to winter months.
Help your horse to grow the best possible hooves
Some horses naturally have healthier hooves than others. You could help your horse to grow healthy hooves by:
- Feeding them an appropriate diet for all their nutritional needs.
- Provide them with consistent exercise, working on good surfaces, especially walking and trotting, which helps to increase circulation and promotes growth.
- Consider using nutrahoof, which contains Biotin and aids the development of strong and healthy hooves, as well as improving hoof growth.
If you are concerned about your horse’s hoof health, we recommend that you consult your vet or farrier, who can advise the best solution for their health needs. Ask your vet about nutrahoof, a unique formula, which is specifically developed for horses with weak, cracked and brittle hooves.