What are Hoof Problems?
Hooves refer to the hard outer covering of the horse’s foot. The outer and inner hoof is made up of bones and sensitive structures. The outer hoof consists of the coronet (the band around the top of the hoof where the hair stops) and hoof wall (horny exterior of the hoof).
Under the hoof is the frog (spongy, triangular portion in the center of the underside of the hoof), sole (the concave, hard and tough underside of the hoof), bars (portion of the wall that curves forward at the heel) and the white line (narrow strip where the bottom edge of the hoof wall meets the sole).
The inside of the hoof consists of the coffin bone (shaped like a hoof – held in place by the sensitive laminae and the insensitive laminae which form a bond), navicular bone (small bone which fits in the space between the short pastern and the coffin bone), short pastern (bone found above and connected to the coffin bone), and the lateral cartilage (wings of cartilage on either side of the coffin bone).
Taking care of your horse’s hooves is essential because they grow about a quarter of an inch every month and should be trimmed regularly. Cleaning and caring for hooves daily as well as visiting a reputable farrier regularly will ensure that your horse’s feet stay in a healthy condition.
Help for Hoof Problems
Natural and holistic treatments have proven to be highly effective in maintaining the health of your horse’s hooves. Herbs, essential oils and homeopathic remedies are safe and gentle to use without unwanted side effects.
Carefully selected ingredients such as Linseed oil (Flaxseed oil), White willow, Horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) and Comfrey contain soothing properties that helps to support skin health. In addition, Marigold (Calendula officinalis L.), Lavender and Arnica acts as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent for bruises, aches, sprains and injury such as equine lameness and promotes healing and recovery.
More Information on Hoof Problems
Tips to avoid hoof problems
There are several things that can be done to avoid hoof problems in horses and these include:
- Feed your horse an all natural diet without preservatives, additives and colorants
- Exercise your horse regularly to ensure overall fitness and health, and also to prevent dry hooves
- Visit a good farrier – this is very important as he will be able to recommend the proper shoes and inspect your horse’s hooves depending on where he was stabled and he is ridden
- Trim or shoe your horse’s hooves every six weeks using a skilled farrier
- Pick the hooves out daily using a hoof pick
- When inspecting your horse’s hooves, place your back to the horse’s hooves so that you can get the best possible view of the hoof
- Keep all areas where your horse stands dry and clean. Avoid wet footing as it can cause thrush and soft hooves
- Make sure the horse’s feet are fitted properly with shoes and pads
- Incorporate a biotin supplement to your horse’s diet to promote the growth and development of healthy hooves