Keeping Healthy Hooves on your Horse
At Tullochan Stables, we believe there is a lot to be said for healthy hooves. Your horse relies on its hooves for so much and the slightest problem can cause stress and pain to the animal. Think about hooves as a more hardened version of a toe nail or finger nail. Did you ever cut one too much or actually rip one off its nail bed? The flesh will have been exposed, sore and bloody until the nail grows back. Compound that by a thousand times for the hoof of a horse and you might have some idea of the pain. So, how do you keep your horse’s hooves nice and healthy?
1 – Diet
Of all the ways to help your horse stay healthy and keep their hooves in good shape, the number one aspect has to be diet. If your horse’s diet is well-balanced and filled with vitamins and minerals essential to its overall body health, its hooves will stay in great shape.
2 – Living Conditions
Maintaining the moisture balance in your horses feet, especially in the extreme dry or extreme wet, is the biggest challenge we face. Consider how wood rots when left to dampen and remain untreated. Much the same happens to hooves that remain damp. Watch the weather and make sure you dry your horse’s feet when you return from a wet ride or bring them in from the field. Make sure that you moisturise their feet in the dry weather – check out our hoof care products which will help maintain the best moisture in dry conditions.
3 – Exercise and Conformation
Your horse’s conformation can be weak, and this, in turn, can cause poor hoof balance and therefore unhealthy lower limb structure. There is little that we can do to change the conformation of our horses but by using a good qualified farrier every 6 weeks, we can help to maintain the balance within their hooves. Exercising your horse correctly and often will also help their hooves remain in good condition. Adapting our exercise regime to take into account the ground conditions can help our horses maintain good hooves.
Paying attention to aspects of animal care can help your horse stay fit and healthy for many years. You can also buy supplements and formulas to help with keeping your horse’s hooves in the best possible condition. The video below is a good guide to what a healthy hoof should look like…