THIS feature includes veterinary tips from Karen Dunne, farrier advice from Kevin Rooney and nutritional information.
The phrase ‘no hoof, no horse’ always rings true. Hoof problems can be very frustrating, between pulling shoes, lameness and dealing with infection, hoof care is not always simple.
It is important to remember that there are a number of factors which influence hoof condition and growth. The various articles within this feature address some of these factors.
Good horsemanship at home can help to maintain good hoof condition. Simple things such as picking out your horses’ hooves on a daily basis, checking legs and hooves for any cuts, heat or swelling and correct and regular care from a farrier, all help to make a difference.
Feeding and nutrition has a huge influence on hoof growth. If you are seeing the same issue reoccurring in different horses who are all grazed on the same land it is worth getting your soil tested to check if there are any deficiencies which may need to be addressed.
Some horses have poorer hoof growth than others and there is no end to the supplements and products available to help encourage hoof growth and strengthening. It is recommended that you contact your farrier and veterinary surgeon in relation to what supplement is best suited to your horses.
If your horse is not the best eater then adding in a supplement to their feed might not be the best idea, so try products such as hoof dressings which you can apply directly onto the hoof. If you do need to feed a supplement there are plenty to choose from – some horses will happily eat powders when they are mixed into feeds while others might prefer to eat a pellet supplement.
The dry summer weather can be one of the hardest time to maintain good hoof care, especially if you are competing on hard ground. It is good practice to get into a routine of using a hoof dressing to help condition your horse’s hooves a couple of times a week. Make sure to use the dressing on the sole of the hoof and on the hoof wall.