Are You Headed for Less Riding?
Kids are going back to school and making less time for riding. Adults are becoming busy with family and holidays with barely enough time to sneak in a ride on the weekend. When the riding decreases, finding ways to get your horse moving every day will be important to his hoof growth and health.
Standing in a stall for long periods of time causes the blood to pool in your horse’s legs. There’s a special pump inside of the hoof that pumps blood back up to the heart every time he takes a step. If your horse isn’t taking many steps, then he’s not getting the blood flow and hoof-supporting nutrients that he needs.
Some great ways to get your horse moving when you don’t have time to ride are safe turnout, longing, groundwork, and maybe a hot walker/horse walking machine if you have access to one. The more you get your horse moving during the off season, the stronger and healthier his hooves will be.
Download Our Free 10-Step Checklist to Maximize the Health of Your Horse's Hooves this Fall/Winter.
Hoof Care in 5 Minutes a Day
Simply cleaning your horse’s hooves out with a hoof pick for five minutes a day will help prevent problems such as bacterial infection. This is also a good time to look for any signs of problems so that when one arises, you can call your vet or farrier and take care of it early.
Chilly Nights and Frozen Ground
If you live in a year-round warm climate, feel free to skip to the next point. If not, let’s talk about chilly fall evenings.
Freezing nights can be a good thing since they kill off the hordes of insects that plague us and our horses during the summer. However, frozen ground can also be harder than concrete and often freezes rocks into place. This can cause tripping, bruising and cracking hazards. Additionally, ice on the ground can lead to traumatic slips and falls for both horse and rider.
When the ground freezes, ride carefully, being mindful of the ground’s toughness, spots of ice and any freshly frozen mud holes where a horse could twist his leg. A wise precaution you can take before turning your horse out is keeping an eye out for new hazards in the pasture.
Building a Strong Hoof from the Inside Out
A strong hoof is built with healthy cells, which are built from essential nutrients. It takes about ten to twelve months for the horse to grow an entirely new hoof. So, any nutrients that you give him to support hoof health and growth will need to be fed long-term.
Supplementing your horse for healthy hooves is a bit like giving your child a multivitamin. You don’t wait to give a multivitamin until there’s a problem or deficiency. You give it to the child daily to help him stay healthy. It’s the same way with supplementing your horse’s hooves.
To support healthy, strong hooves, look for a good hoof supplement that contains about 20mg of biotin. Too much biotin can’t be processed by the horse’s body and gets kicked out with the waste. Other nutrients your horse needs to build the best, strongest hoof include: zinc, copper, methionine, lysine and the right balance of amino acids.
With daily care, nutrients, exercise and a healthy avoidance of hoof hazards, you can help your horse head into fall with stronger hooves.