The popular quote “no hoof, no horse” continues to prove just how essential good hoof care is. Horses with weak or damaged hooves consistently show up unsound for riding. By investing in your horse’s feet, you’re helping to keep them happy and moving around easily. Follow these simple tips to get healthy hooves!
1. Decide what is normal for your horse’s hooves. They should be slightly warm, a healthy color, and without a strong odor. Keep a lookout for abnormalities.
2. Pick them out on a daily basis! Get into a habit of cleaning your horse’s hooves before and after each ride, and in the mornings or evenings around your turnout schedule.
3. Regular farrier visits are a must. The average is every six to eight weeks, but discuss your horse’s individual needs with your farrier.
4. Always ride in places with good footing. Exercising at the walk and trot can increase circulation in their hooves, but make sure the arena is ideal for riding.
5. Look at your horse’s feed and add a supplement if necessary. Some hoof supplements will help with growth and make their hooves stronger.
6. Avoid turning out in muddy fields for long periods of time. They can get thrush or even a skin infection when left to stand in mud.
7. Learn how to remove a shoe. If your horse’s shoe becomes very loose, you can pull it to make them more comfortable and avoid damaging their foot.
8. Invest in boots for those barefoot horses. When taking your horse on hard or rocky terrain, it can be a good idea to fit them with hoof boots for the ride.
9. Treat thrush and other bacterial infections quickly. At the first sign of an infection, be proactive and start treatment.
10. Provide a safe, clean environment for your horse. Fields should be free of debris like nails, glass, and other dangerous items. Stalls should be cleaned daily.
Your horse is on their way to healthy hooves!