Put simply, the way you get rid of hoof cracks is growing out the hoof. Here’s how you can help the hoof to grow out healthier, faster and stronger.
A Farrier’s Expertise
An experienced farrier trims hooves and fits shoes in a balanced way to prevent too much pressure on any one part of the hoof. Any part of the hoof that bears more weight than it was designed to will eventually crack. Farriers can also trim, shoe or support a cracked hoof until it grows out sufficiently.
Supplementation for Stronger Hooves
Nutrients like Biotin, Methionine, Lysine, Zinc, Omega-3’s and essential amino acids give your horse’s body what it needs to grow healthy, dense hooves. If your horse isn’t receiving these nutrients every day, it’s important to supplement his diet with them and avoid deficiencies.
Biotin enhances repair and supports faster and better quality hoof growth. Lysine is important for your horse’s production of keratin which is an essential protein that makes up most of the hoof. Omega-3’s can help offset hoof inflammation caused by Omega-6’s. Methionine is an amino acid that your horse can’t produce for himself that aids in the building healthy hoof proteins.
Growing a New Hoof Takes Time
If you’ve had your horse on a hoof supplement for a month and don’t see results, don’t worry. On average, hooves take anywhere from ten to twelve months to grow a completely new hoof. It may take several months to see results from any supplement depending on how slowly or quickly your horse’s hoof grows.
Blood Flow is Key
One key to combating hoof cracks with stronger hooves is blood flow. Your horse has a blood-pumping mechanism in his hoof that pumps blood back up the leg and to the heart with each step. When the heart pumps new blood back down to the hoof, it delivers the nutrients needed to form new growth.
A horse that’s standing in a stall 24/7 will have weak, slow growing hooves from lack of nutrients. Some excellent ways to maintain a healthy blood flow are daily movements through riding, groundwork or safe turnout.
Avoiding Hoof Crack Culprits
Try to avoid environments that can cause hoof cracks such as hard pavement or rocky fields. Standing in wet footing can also lead to weaker hooves, cracks and nasty bacterial infections. Also, going back and forth between extremely wet and dry footing will cause the hoof to expand and contract, eventually resulting in cracks.
Keeping your horse’s hooves as clean as possible during the muddy, changing seasons will help prevent cracks. Also, make sure that his stall has good run-off and that his hooves are properly protected for the activities that you’ll be doing.
Turns out, the best hoof strengthening solution is a combination of expert farrier care, great nutrition, healthy blood flow and being vigilant. What’s one thing that you can do today in the war against hoof cracks?