Most horse owners know how important good hoof health is. Without healthy hooves, your horse maybe be in pain and unrideable. It’s one of the first things you look at when evaluating a new horse. Make sure to keep a lookout for these common issues!
1. Abscesses: This condition occurs when bacteria infects the tissue of your horse’s hoof. It can be caused by a foreign object like a nail or piece of glass damaging the hoof, which opens it up to bacteria. Poor quality and flared toes further increase your horse’s risk. Most horses will experience sudden pain and lameness. The hoof wall may appear warm and the coronary band may even swell.
Once the abscess is drained, your horse’s pain should subside. The area will need to be flushed and packed with a drawing agent.
2. Sole Bruises: If you notice red spots on your horse’s sole or frog, then they’re experiencing sole bruises. They can be from stepping on a sharp rock or walking on rough terrain. Sometimes, your horse may be tender and sore from them.
Make sure your farrier is correctly trimming your barefoot horse. Those with shoes and pads tend to experience less of these.
3. Cracks: These appear in the wall. You’ll notice a vertical crack, which is usually superficial. Horses with dry and brittle hooves tend to be at a greater risk for developing cracks. The best treatment option is to have your farrier stabilize the crack with side clips, acrylic, or rasping a half moon shape under it.
Good hoof health can eliminate many of these common problems. Make sure to work with a skilled farrier and equine nutritionist to set your horse up for success!