Hoof cracks are unsightly! They can be extremely frustrating to deal with and can cause a lot of headaches. It can be hard to identify why they are happening or even what kind they are. Some are chronic, while others are short-lived and easily resolved. The environment, their nutrition, conformation, and how regular your farrier schedule is can all impact their hooves. Take a look at some common types.
Many times horses with heel pain will land on their toes to avoid discomfort. A toe crack occurs with repeated pressure on this front portion of the hoof. They can be from long bars and walls, as well. When the hooves flare out, the horse is at a greater risk.
When the foot lands unevenly, the horse is at risk for a quarter crack. This can be from too much length in the back portions of the hoof. Quarter cracks occur from trauma, conformational defects, failure to trim regularly, and even an imbalanced foot. Typically, they start at the coronary band and travel toward the ground.
Usually a thin and superficial flaw, a grass crack can occur from environmental changes, lack of healthy blood flow to the hoof, and malnourishment. They will not penetrate the wall deeply. These cracks usually begin at the ground and move upward.
These cracks extend downward as they grow. They are quite similar to grass cracks.
Bar cracks can be very painful for your horse. They are located in the bars, which are on both sides of the frog. Horses that have experienced blunt force to this area are prone to get them. Those with weaker, imbalanced bars are also more likely.
Depending on the type of crack, your horse may need a farrier or veterinarian out. Keep a lookout for lameness and signs of an infection. An expert will help you stabilize the crack and prevent it from recurring.