Horse hooves: how do you maintain them for healthy feet and quality horn growth?

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Horses have the particularity of resting on four hooves. Highly vascularised, horse’s hooves – whether used for sport, racing, or leisure – require special attention.

Horse hooves: what daily care do they need?

Recognise and maintain healthy hooves in horses

To properly maintain a horse’s hooves, they need to be inspected every day. The wall must not be damaged. The frog and sulci must be healthy, with no foul odours, and dry.

Before and after each time a horse works, its feet need to be cleaned to remove any foreign matter (straw, sand, stones, etc.) and the condition of the frog and sole checked. An ointment (often called hoof grease) can be applied to dry feet 2-3 times a week to nourish them.

 The farrier’s role

Every 4 to 6 weeks, a professional should step in to trim the hooves – which grow about a centimetre per month – and possibly have the horse reshod. Horn growth will be controlled and corrected to preserve the cushioning role of the foot and stand. The farrier may also prescribe special care if they think it necessary. However, if the horse is barefoot, trimming is every 3 to 4 months.

Split or damaged hooves: how do you treat them?

 The impact of living conditions on the health of horses’ hooves

The weather and where a horse lives have a considerable impact on its feet. An environment that is too humid (field in winter, soiled box, etc.) will cause excess humidity which is detrimental to the horse’s hooves and can cause frog rot. Long periods of dry weather can also damage the hoof by making the horn brittle, which can result in split hooves.

How do you care for hooves, if there is a problem?

A brittle hoof can be hydrated with water and/or a care oil. If the horse suffers from frog rot due to excess humidity, it is advisable to apply Norwegian tar. In the event of larger problems such as corns, white line disease, or sand cracks, the veterinary surgeon and the farrier need to be quickly called for a suitable care protocol, whether the horse is shod or not.

 The role of diet in maintaining hooves

Feeding your horse well is a key parameter in preserving its health and that of its hooves. Its diet must cover its vitamin, trace element, and mineral requirements in order to help the body produce quality horn.

Biotin is a vitamin known for its beneficial impact on the horse’s coat, hooves, mane, and tail: it promotes the regrowth of horn and coat, a glossy tail and mane, and healthy horn. It is therefore often recommended to supplement the horse with biotin to stimulate hoof growth and improve horn quality. In C-400 Hoof active repair, biotin, associated with Prokeratin®, promotes good quality horn and a healthy coat, mane, and tail. Hooves are effectively made up of keratin, among other things.

Daily maintenance, quality nutrition, and proper care are key elements in ensuring the good health of horse hooves. And remember the saying, ‘no foot, no horse’!

Learn all our tips to care for your horse’s feet and avoid brittle horn thanks to a biotin-rich diet.

Royal Horse recommendation : C-400 – complementary feed that reinforces horn structure, Hoof Activ Repair

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