Hoof cracks can be an annoyance at best and a huge setback at worst. Here are the best ways to strengthen your horse’s hoof, prevent cracking and keep him at the top of his game.
If your horse’s hooves are constantly falling apart because of cracks and chips, there may be something more serious lurking beneath the surface. Talk with your vet or farrier to discover the root of this problem that could be caused by anything from poor stall footing to serious diseases.
Exercise your Horse
Farriers agree that blood flow has a direct impact on hoof growth. Blood carries nutrients to the hoof that are used to form new hoof walls and tissue. So, if your horse isn’t moving much, his hooves will be weaker and grow more slowly than a horse who moves daily.
This exercise can come in the form of riding, groundwork or some safe turnout. Exercise has the added benefit of conditioning the hooves over time to be harder and stronger. Obviously, doing too much with your horse before he’s ready can lead to cracking and bruising. Take your time and be aware of your horse’s needs when conditioning his hooves.
Great Nutrition = Great Hooves
Successful bodybuilders not only condition their muscles through exercise, they also give those muscles the nutrition needed for recovery and building back up. Your horse is much the same. Without the proper building blocks of good nutrition, his hooves won’t reach their highest level of strength and integrity.
Supplementing your horse’s diet with Biotin, Methionine, Omega 3’s, Zinc and the right blend of amino acids is a huge part of building and preserving strong hooves.
Hoof Safety First
Putting your horses hooves first and avoiding situations that cause stress or cracking to the hoof are great ways to be proactive and prevent cracking. When riding on a rocky trail or paved road, think twice before performing high-impact movements such as cantering.
Be sure that your horse has the right amount of hoof protection for the activity you’ll be doing. Sometimes barefoot hooves wear down too fast with exercise. In these cases, shoeing is often a good solution. Simple things like thinking first and acting second can prevent many hoof accidents and setbacks.
The Best Advice
If you’re considering implementing these methods for strengthening your horse’s hooves, run the plan by your veterinarian or farrier first. Always go to your professional with hoof questions first and friends second.
This is because what works for one horse may not work for another. There have been times where taking the advice of a well-meaning friend has resulted in further damage. Other times, the advice was accurate and worked wonders. Your vet will know the difference and help you to avoid ineffective or backfiring plans.
Hoof Crack Prevention is about addressing many aspects of your horse’s life. Thankfully, through small daily routines, you can give his hooves a massive boost, increase their strength and density, and see fewer cracks appear.