In taking care of your horse’s hooves, you should understand your horse’s feet, pick your horse’s feet regularly, trim your horse’s hooves, make sure the horseshoes are the right size, and take regular visits to the farrier.
The adage that goes, “No foot, no horse,” aptly conveys the importance of looking after the hooves of your horse. Neglected hooves can be dangerous and can lead to discomfort, pain, disfigurement and even lameness. Diseases and infections can also become a consequence of hooves that are not properly cared for. You should invest in products such as horse hoof supplements that are meant to promote the health of your horse’s hooves and be aware of the hoof care routines that you can follow to keep your horse healthy.
Understand your horse’s feet
If you are unfamiliar with the characteristics and anatomy of a horse’s foot, then you might want to do a bit of research. General knowledge and background information will help you understand how your horse’s feet should look and will help you determine whether the feet are healthy and normal or if they have abnormal characteristics. The frog portion of your horse’s foot should normally feel like a brand new rubber eraser. However, during your horse’s shedding period, it is quite normal for the frog to look dry. You should also check for foul smells, wounds, wedged debris or cracks on the surface of your horse’s hooves.
Pick your horse’s feet regularly
You can pick your horse’s feet if you notice any stones and debris wedged in them. Regular picking will keep the hooves clean and free from any foreign objects and will allow you to closely inspect them for any signs of injuries and damage. This will help prevent more serious health problems in the future. It is also very important that you pick your horse’s feet before riding or walking your horse to remove any debris that can cause soreness after the activity. Use a hoof pick to gently take off any stones, mud and other debris that might have accumulated on the frog. Be sure to closely check the frog for any signs of bacterial infection which you can detect from a foul smell and secretions.
Trim your horse’s hooves
Whether your horse is wearing horseshoes or is allowed to walk barefoot, you must make sure that you trim and level hooves regularly.
Make sure the horseshoes are the right size
For horses that wear horseshoes, it is important that the shoes are not loose, as these can give discomfort and even cause lameness. Make sure that the nails fasten the shoes securely in place and that no stones or other debris are wedged between the horseshoes and the rim.
Take regular visits to the farrier
Farriers can give you expert advice regarding many hoof health concerns that you may have. Always make it a point to take regular visits. Typically, you should visit the farrier in 4-6 week intervals during the summer and a bit longer during winter. There might also be a need for more frequent visits if your horse is wearing corrective shoes.
The hooves of your horse will affect the overall welfare and health of the animal. Therefore, you must learn to give time and invest in the right products which can improve the health of its hooves.