Basic Hoof Care for your Horse

HoofsMany think that taking care of their horse’s feet is a job left to the farrier, however this is not the case. Here are a few steps you can take at home to make sure that your horsey’s hooves stay healthy.

With these 3 easy steps you can monitor the condition of your horse’s hooves and know when to call for help.

  1. Look at his feet and pick out the debris. Your horse’s feet should be picked out on a number of occasions:

·         Before each ride – to get rid of objects stuck in the feet before adding your weight on top of it

·         After you untack your horse – to remove any objects that got stuck during the ride

·         When you bring your horse in for the night

·         Before you turn your horse out in the morning

And remember that if your horse is shod check his shoes each time you pick out his feet – check for risen clinches or a sprung or shifted shoe. This means that the shoe is either coming loose, pulled away or bent, or shifted to one side of the foot.
 

  1. Learn what normal is. Learn look at the temperature of the hooves, pulse, condition of the frog etc. to recognize what is normal. This way you will know something could be wrong when you notice a variation. Remember not to be alarmed however if the frog seems to be peeling off but everything else looks okay. Horses generally shed the frog about twice a year and your farrier should just trim this.
     
  2. Look for signs! Look for signs of

·         Puncture – an entry wound/puncture is not usually visible until it causes an abscess

·         Abscesses

·         Cracks

·         Thrush – foul smell and dark ooze from cleft of the frog

While these are just the basics there are a number of other “procedures” that you can learn to do for yourself, such as removing a shoe on your own. Even if you do learn all the tips and tricks remember that you should schedule regular farrier visits according to your horse’s needs!