Hoof care is one of the most overlooked areas of horse health, so experienced farrier Reubin Underwood explains how to help you keep your horse’s hooves in top condition.
It goes without saying that checking your horse’s hooves on a daily basis should be part of your normal daily routine as you’re the one that knows him best.
- Pick your horses feet out regularly, at least once a day to prevent thrush
- Apply a hoof dressing to protect and nourish the horn, so to avoid cracks and flakesCheck that his shoes are still in the correct and that the clenches haven’t risen
How often does my horse need re-shod?
This all depends on the breed of your horse and the type of work you do together. He may need re-shoeing anywhere between four and 10 weeks apart. For example, native breeds in light work tend to go longer between farrier visits, compared to a thoroughbred that does a lot of roadwork.
In the summer and winter months the hoof growth rate slows down, meaning that shoeing may not need to be done as regularly.
Signs that your horse needs re-shoeing
- The clenches have risen away from the hoof wall
- The hoof has visibly overgrown the shoe at the front or sides
- The shoe has become worn and thin, so your horse has no grip on smooth surfaces
- The shoe is twisted or has become loose
Follow these tips on how to keep your horse’s hooves healthy
- Good showing on a regular basis is key
- A good, balanced diet aids horn growth
- Supplements can help healthy horn growth, especially if your horse has limited turnout
- Ensure you regularly check and wash your horse’s frogs with salt water to prevent infection
- Apply hoof dressing a couple of times a week, to keep the hoof wall in good condition
- Keep a good relationship with your farrier, as he'll help you with your horse’s hoof health