Horse hoof care is extremely important for many reasons. With a little time, patience, and these tips you can guarantee the best quality of life for your companion:
- Pick out your horse’s feet
- This may sound pretty basic, but it is the single most important thing you do for their hooves. Your horse gets a head start on healthy hooves, and you get a chance to take early action on many common hoof problems if you pick out the feet before you ride to remove any stones or small objects lodged in the feet. This is important before you add your weight and to check on the condition of the shoes.
- Each time you clean your horse’s hooves, take an extra couple of minutes after you have pried out any packed debris to gently clear the crevice of the frog and scrape any remaining debris with the tip of the pick. You need to see the sole’s entire surface.
- Establish what is normal
- While handling your horse’s feet to pick them out, notice their temperature; when everything is ok, they’ll feel very slightly warm. Take a moment to locate the digital pulse with two fingers pressed against the back of the pastern. Check the frog, which has the texture and firmness of a new rubber eraser. Don’t be alarmed if everything looks okay but the frog appears to be peeling off because most horses shed the frog at least twice a year.
- When picking out the feet, watch for these signs
- Thrush – The first clue to this bacterial condition is a foul smell and dark ooze from the cleft of the frog. Later, the frog becomes cheesy in texture. Thrush can cause significant hoof damage and can even cause lameness.
- If a nail or other object pierces your horse’s sole and then falls out, the entry wound will probably be invisible by the time you pick his feet and you will be unaware of it until it causes an abscess.
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