Protecting Your Horse's Hooves

Posted on: 14 March 2019

As a new horse owner, you may be thrilled about getting to ride your horse whenever you like. You might feel eager to ensure your horse remains healthy and happy, so learning to care for the animal is something that you're probably focused on. However, it's easy to forget about the horse's hooves, especially if you've already seen a farrier who has put on horseshoes. What hoof care tips should be used throughout the year?

Ask for Boots Which Provide Whole Hoof Protection

It might be smart to have the farrier use hoof boots that will protect the entire hoof from being knocked or bothered. Boots provide protection for the entire hoof, rather than just the bottom surfaces as metal shoes do.  Whole hoof protection horseshoe boots are generally made of industrial grade nylon, which can be gentler on the foot than metal. In fact, boots are sometimes better shock absorbers than metal, so these boots are also great for horses who are recovering from punctures, cracks or abscesses.

Boots which offer entire hoof protection can be most beneficial during winter months or when you don't plan to do much riding. Because they cover the triangular "frog" portion of the hoof where it's easy for ice, gravel and other debris to get stuck, when they wear the boots you don't have to worry as much about frequent picking and cleaning.

Keep Stable Clean

In addition to picking and brushing hooves regularly, you should also be concerned about the cleanliness--and dryness--of your horse's stable. Constantly muddy or wet ground conditions could make hooves excessively dry and more likely to start cracking. Not only that, but wet conditions could also make the hooves likely to get thrush and other infections. Ensure that stable hay is mostly dry and that when their hooves are muddy, they're cleaned and dried before you leave the stable for the night.

Learn to Remove Shoes

When your horse gets a puncture or a shoe becomes loose, they can become uncomfortable. When you can't get them to a farrier right away, it will become your responsibility to help your horse avoid further damage. This can sometimes mean removing their shoes yourself. Ask a farrier to show you wear to stand and how to safely take a horseshoe off your horse. Of course, you'll also need to purchase and keep the proper tools around for this possibility.

If you do remove a horseshoe yourself, have a boot handy so that the hoof can be protected until the animal is seen by a professional.

Good hoof health will keep your horse strong. Remember to see your farrier each month so you're sure that your horse is comfortable with their shoes or boots.


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