Keeping Your Horse Sound
Healthy hooves are essential for your horse’s well-being. If they are neglected in any way, the chances of your horse going lame increase dramatically and will end up costing you time away from riding, and money. There is an old saying – “No Hoof, No Horse”. Translated, it means if a horse’s feet aren’t comfortable and healthy, it affects every facet of that horses life.
In order to keep your horse sound and happy, here is a short checklist of things you can do.
- Clean their feet out regularly. Dirt and stones can get wedged under their feet and cause discomfort and bruising.
- Have them trimmed/shod regularly. Hooves should be trimmed every 4-6 weeks on average. It is similar for shoes. When a horse’s toe grows too long, it can affect the way they move and cause lameness, uneven gait or even change the alignment of the internal structure of their feet.
- Some horses naturally have more brittle walls on their hooves. In cases like this, supplements and oils can help assist in strengthening, along with consultation with your farrier or vet.
- Check the soles of their feet for bruises, puncture wounds or cracks.
- Be mindful of the surfaces you ride your horses on, particularly if they aren’t shod.
- Minimise exposure to wet muddy ground in their paddock if possible. Standing in these conditions for too long can result in your horse developing thrush, seedy toe or greasy heel.
When you think about how much weight these four relatively small structures have to handle, it makes sense that their care should be a priority. With these few tips, your horse should be sound and happy for the adventures ahead!