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The wall needs to be inspected for excessive growth or wear and the white line should be checked to ensure it is free from trapped grit which may cause opportunity for an infection if left. If your horse has been out in damp muddy conditions and then brought in to a stable, it is important to pick out the feet, not only to carry out the checks previously described but also to remove the wet mud trapped in the underside of the hoof.

Should this mud be allowed to remain in place it will leave the sole and frog damp for an extended period of time, which will result in the horn structures becoming soft and not as resilient as they should be. Furthermore, picking out your horses feet regularly allows oxygen to penetrate the underside of the hoof, reducing the risk of conditions such as thrush developing.

If they are worn significantly, the next re-shoeing appointment should occur sooner or the workload on abrasive surfaces should be reduced. Shoes should also be checked daily for any movement on the foot, as when horses move freely it is possible for them to catch their shoes. Typically, horses will often catch the front shoes with their hind shoes and either lose them completely or bend one heel up. This is a problem as it is possible for the nails in the shoe to be trodden back again which may puncture the sole.

If the shoe has moved dramatically and a punctured sole is suspected, professional advice should be sought immediately as any puncture wound can be problematic. Additionally, a deep puncture within the middle area of the hoof can be potentially fatal, if not dealt with correctly.

This is only helpful if you know what the digital pulse feels like when all is well. Once you know what is normal for your horse you will be able to tell your veterinary surgeon or farrier when it is abnormal for your horse. One of the best places to find the digital pulse is over the outside of the fetlock joint, slightly towards the back.

Use your thumb and forefinger and apply gentle pressure. Routinely, an appropriately qualified farrier needs to attend your horse to undertake trimming and if necessary, shoeing. It is best in most cases to wipe the feet clean with absorbent material rather than wash the feet, but if washing is the only way to rid the feet of mud, make sure they are thoroughly dried afterwards.

Drying the feet is very important as when the horn structure specifically the horn tubules becomes oversaturated for long periods of time, its strength is compromised, which ultimately leads to broken and weak hoof walls. Once the hooves are clean and dry a hoof dressing can be applied if required.

Basic Horse Hoof Care – Horses

Hoof horn is usually at its toughest when moisture content is low. Moreover, you want your horse to learn from the start how to stand for the shoer. Being a farrier is a difficult, physically demanding job. Take aim by: Starting hoof care early. Then plan to keep your horse on a regular trimming and shoeing schedule for the rest of his life.

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Ten Hoof Care Tips to Help Keep Your Horse's Hooves Healthy and Strong

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