The Importance of Hoof Care.
Caring for your horse’s hooves is a important part of maintaining your horses overall health. If at all possible depending on your day’s routine you should check your horses hooves daily. At the very least, two to three times per week. You’ll find you become very familiar with what is normal and what is not, and to notice any problems that may be starting. To help you with this checking, here’s a simple checklist for you to refer to in your daily grooming routine.
1. As you approach your horse make sure the symmetry of his hooves is close. They don’t have to be exactly equal, but very close to the same size and shape.
2. Then carefully look for defects in the wall and coronary bands. Pick up each hoof, run your hand over the outside of the wall to feel for defects. You can use the exact same procedure for the coronary band, then squeeze it gently, these two procedures will also show tender spots and any moisture bearing areas.
3. Carefully inspect the sole. Check the coloring in each hoof. They should be the same in color. A clearly delineated dark spot indicates a bruise or puncture wound that my need veterinary attention.
4. Next,look and compare your horse’s frogs. The two front hooves should be similar in size and shape and the same with the rear hooves. You should lightly press each frog with your hoof pick, in most areas, with the exception of desert areas. They should be slightly spongy.
5. If your horse is shod, grasp the shoe and see if it wiggles. If it does, check for missing clinches. Should any shoe be loose you may choose to remove the shoe before your horse loses it on his own with the possible result of taking a chunk of his hoof with it.
If you keep a good close eye on your horses hooves, you can avoid a lot of issues by catching the problem before it gets severe. I’d recommend you work into your regular hoof cleaning a few simple steps. Use your hoof pick from heel to toe. If it is tightly packed you may need to loosen it up a bit before it’s removed. Once all the debris is removed, check all the areas of the hoof and make sure there is not a bad odor as this is a clear cut sign of thrush. Also make sure there are no pebbles or stones lodged anywhere, even under the shoe.
Your horses hooves should exhibit a natural glossy luster of the hoof wall. Plus a smooth uniform surface free of cracks, rings, dishes and flares and a concave sole that touches the shoe. If you have all of that, you can be pretty sure that your horses hooves are in good health.
I recently came across an excellent DVD that’s ideal for the young ones on a wet day inside. So I thought I’d pass on the following review and a link to get yourself a copy.
Saddle Club – Horse Crazy – The New Movie DVD
“I really thought this movie was good. To be sure, it is a children’s movie, specifically for young horse-crazy girls. There are a few boys that ride in it also. Very age appropriate fare for your stable/barn kids to watch and enjoy over and over again, it follows several story lines all related to life at the barn for a group of girls and boys that own and work with the horses there. As a grown up horse-crazy woman now, I enjoyed it with my 4 year old daughter and certainly would have loved for this series to be around when I was that age! Two thumbs up for young entertainment with no veiled adult-type references, no skimpy clothes, and no bad language, just good stories that are fun and horse-centric”.