Your horse’s hooves are the similar to the tires on your car. If you have a flat, then you’re not going to be able to get far down the road. If you have hoof problems, then you’re not going to be able to ride your horse. After all, we know the importance of hoof care from the horseman’s proverb: No hoof, no horse.
Supporting healthy hooves doesn’t require much effort on your part, but your horse will reap the benefits of improved hoof quality. Here are five ways you can help pamper your horse’s hooves.
[RELATED: 7 MISTAKES IN EQUINE HOOF CARE]
1. Daily Care
Picking your horse’s hooves every day and applying a hoof dressing will help to maintain a healthy frog, prevent thrush, and keep hooves conditioned. By cleaning out all four hooves often, you’ll be able to spot an illness or injury that could cause your horse serious pain. Your horse will also learn to have all four feet handled often, making your farrier’s job easier.
Movement increases blood flow, which encourages hoof growth. Offering your horse as much turnout time as possible—this is not only great for his hooves, but his mind as well—will allow him to move naturally to increase circulation. If you can’t offer extended turnout, you can place piles of hay throughout his pen or stall-with-run to encourage him to move in his smaller space. Riding and working your horse regularly, especially if he is restricted to a stall, will also help to improve his hoof health.
Hooves begin to grow from the inside, so your horse’s hooves rely on good nutrition. A high-quality hay will provide the protein requirement that supplies the amino acids required for hoof growth. If you’re unable to provide quality forage—grass or hay—commercial feeds provide the necessary requirements for average horses, growing horses, and performance horses.
Consider adding a hoof-specific supplement to your horse’s diet. If your horse isn’t getting the required amino acids to help build strong hooves, an amino acid supplement will promote not only healthy hooves, but skin and coat. Biotin will also help to promote hoof growth and improve horn quality.
The ideal footing for your horse is dry and firm. Place extra drainage throughout your horse’s pen and try to incorporate gutters and downspouts that will redirect moisture to areas where your horse spends less time. However, ground that is too hard and dry can still damage your horse’s hooves, so consult your veterinarian to determine the best footing option for the area your horse lives. Remember to also clean pens regularly, so your horse isn’t standing in manure.
[READ MORE: TLC BLOG]
Runaway with This
While you should start to see some improvement in your horse’s hooves weeks or months after implementing these tips, it’s important to remember that it takes about a year for a horse’s hooves to grow out from the coronary band to the ground. Keeping your horse on a schedule with your hoof-care professional is the best way to evaluate your horse’s hooves.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to the TLC blog, sponsored by Manna Pro, where we’ll share tips about the extra, pampering things you can do for your horse…just because you love him. Our pointers will help you foster your horse’s wellbeing by boosting his health…or just making him happy.
ENTER THIS MONTH'S GIVEAWAY WITH MANNA PRO
Three winners randomly selected will each receive:
- 2 Corona Thrush+Shield ($39.98 value)
- Corona Hoof Dressing ($19.99 value)
- SHO-Hoof Supplement ($29.99 value)