Working from the bottom up; how proper hoof care can make a difference in equine well-being
Ever heard the adage, “no hoof, no horse?” This old saying affirms the importance of proper hoof care. Weak, damaged or overgrown hooves can mean the difference between a horse running unhindered in the pasture and a lame one that experiences pain and discomfort.
Horse’s hooves are continuously worn down through movement. With the average horse weighing more than 1,000 lbs., immense pressure is placed on each of the four hooves. Proper hoof care can help prevent foot distortion and reduce the risk of injury. Here are some simple tips to keep your horse’s hooves trimmed and healthy.
Don’t Downplay Good Genetics
If you’re looking into purchasing a horse, but haven’t taken the plunge, remember that genetics play a key role in hoof quality. Ideally, you should buy or breed horses that already have quality feet to avoid the potential lifelong challenge of keeping your horse’s hooves healthy.
Find a Top-Notch Farrier
You’ll want to find an experienced and trusted farrier even before you bring your new horse home. Your horse will need to have his hooves trimmed about every four to eight weeks, depending on the horse and certain environmental factors such as wet or dry weather. During a routine trim, a farrier will also check for abnormalities, such as cracks in the hoof wall or signs of thrush or white line disease.
Create a Hoof-Friendly Environment
While horses are outdoor animals, not all environments are conducive to healthy hooves. In fact, moisture can wreak havoc, predisposing the hooves to cracking, fungus, abscesses and other problems. Consider stalling during extremely wet conditions or set up an area in the paddock that is higher and drier, allowing your hose to get out of the mud.
Follow Proper Hygiene Practices
Keep your horse’s hooves clean by regularly checking that they are not packed with mud or rocks. If you do discover issues, there are many topical products on the market that address problems such as weak, thin soles. Thrush, and dryness. A hoof sealant can also be applied to protect against constant changes in moisture that damage your horse’s feet.
Know When to Shoe Your Horse
While a bare hoof is designed to function without human interference, there may come a time when shoeing a horse may become necessary. Boots or shoes are often recommended when the feet wear away as fast as they grow. Some horses may also need special shoes to support a disease or condition that causes foot abnormalities. Shoes can also provide horses with proper traction and prevent deterioration.
Offer Nutrient-Rich Foods & Supplements
Diet plays a key role in maintaining healthy hooves. For the many horses in light work, a green pasture provides the vitamins, minerals, and protein needed to get by. If pasture quality is lacking, stabling is required, or the horse is in consistent work, hay and grain will be needed for the horse to keep proper weight and muscle.
Adding in natural ingredients to your horse’s daily gain to combat common hoof issues can make a huge difference in their overall hoof health. Supplement your horse’s diet with natural, organic supplements, such as rosehip. Extracted from the Rosa Canina plant, rosehip supplements have been beneficial in improving hoof health and growth. Rosehips contain more vitamin C than nearly any other plant source which helps support strong blood vessels. They also contain bioflavonoids that play a critical role in supporting a healthy immune system. Biotin and Vitamin E can also be found in rosehips, which will support hoof growth and quality.
Are you ready to make a difference in your horse’s life and hoof health? Elite Equine offers rosehip products that are one hundred percent organic. Our rosehip supplements have been tested and proven to reduce inflammation, boost performance, protect cartilage, and improve the general health of horses. Check out our website today to learn more about the wonderful benefits of rosehips.