How to Keep Your Horse’s Hooves Healthy
Your horse cannot take care of his own hooves, so you must take the time to learn the fundamental basics of horse hoof care. When you provide proper hoof care, you will prevent your horse from suffering from a wide range of hoof-related health conditions.
The first step in ensuring that your horse receives adequate hoof care involves cleaning the hooves with a hoof pick. It is important to remove any dirt, dung, pebbles and other debris that may have become lodged in the hooves. In doing so, you will prevent your horse from suffering from lameness.
In addition to cleaning your horse’s hooves, you should check for any signs of injury or illness by examining each hoof with care, looking for any abscesses, oozing wounds and cracks as you go. Get to know what is normal for your horse and if something looks concerning, contact your veterinarian or farrier for advice. To prevent your horse from suffering from severe hoof damage, you must treat any problems immediately. In most cases, a short course of medication will quickly take care of any problems. If you have taken out horse insurance, your policy may protect you against the cost of treating hoof-related health issues.
Following checking for injuries, you should examine your horse’s hooves for dryness. During the summer months, the hooves can become hard and brittle, putting your horse at a greater risk of cracks and puncture injuries. If you are able to trim your horse’s hooves, you should do so every six to eight weeks. During the winter months, the hooves will require less trimming – once every eight to ten weeks should suffice. If you do not know how to trim hooves, do not leave it to chance – ask your farrier to guide you through the process.
Where possible, you should clean your horse’s hooves at least once daily, or more so if you regularly take your horse out for a ride. In doing so, you will ensure that your horse’s hooves remain able to fulfil their correct functions.