hoof cracks cowgirl magazine

Many horses are plagued by hoof cracks of all lengths and depths. Not only are they unsightly, but they can cause lameness and sensitivity. Some splits simply grow out and offer little trouble, while others are more severe. Your best bet is to figure out why your horse is getting them.

Why Hoof Cracks Occur

  1. Hoof Imbalance

The hoof wall should evenly slope away from the coronary band. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. When there’s a distortion of the wall, you can get what’s called a flare. Part of the hoof will be longer than the rest. To minimize flaring, schedule regular farrier appointments and only work with experienced professionals.

2. Past Hoof Injury

An old abscess or hoof wall injury will create cavities. This makes the hoof inherently weaker. The crack will be in the same general area of the former abscess. A coronary band injury or extra stress to that area can also cause splits.

3. Loose Shoes

When the horseshoe is loose, the nails are constantly moving. In turn, this erodes the hoof wall and makes it weaker. It’s important to not go too long between farrier visits. Additionally, your farrier should be skilled and well-trained. Hot shoeing offers a more snug fit and may be a better option.

Your farrier can work to correct the issue by starting with a properly trimmed and balanced hoof. The dead and loose horn is removed and any infection is cleared up. There are quite a few techniques your farrier can use to repair the crack.

The best way to prevent a hoof crack is to find a good, well-versed farrier and provide plenty of exercise for your horse.