Winter Hoof Cracks and Care
 By Winniefield Park   •   3rd Jan 2016   •   1,707 views   •   0 comments
Winter Hoof Cracks and Care

Ice and frozen ground can leave your horseís hooves ragged and even cracked. Rough edges can be smoothed out the next time your farrier visits and really arenít a concern. But cracks are a bit trickier. Your horseís hooves grow about about an inch per month (slower in winter) and that means cracks can take a long time to grow out, and can lead to some serious problems if ignored.

Hoof cracks can run vertically or horizontally on a hoof, and and vary from a hair width to a gaping crevice that reveals the next layer in the hoof structure. If you see a horizontal crack on your horseís hooves, that probably means there was an injury caused by an impact. A horizontal crack can also indicate the exit point of a hoof abscess. These usually grow out and disappear once the hoof is trimmed.

Vertical cracks can be a sign of injury or problems like white line disease that allows the hoof wall to separate from the layer beneath. But cracks can also be caused by concussion, poor trimming, or from working or standing on rough, hard ground. Frozen surfaces, especially if theyíre uneven, such as frozen mud can chip and crack horseís hooves. Add in wet conditions, and hooves can take a lot of abuse in winter.

Related: Your Horse From the Ground Up - The Lower Leg

Logically, horses should stay off of frozen, rough surfaces, but thatís not always possible. There are a few additional things you can do however to avoid hoof cracks. Here are some ideas:

Good Nutrition
Healthy hooves start with good nutrition. Good hay and supplements will help keep your horse healthy overall. Nutrition also includes water, which should be available all the time. Some people feel adding a biotin supplement helps promote growth. It may or may not promote thickness, which is ideally what weíd like to see.

Regular Trimming
Your horseís hooves will not be as likely to crack if you have it trimmed regularly. This prevents toes from getting overgrown, flares from spreading and other problems that weaken the hoof and leave it prone to cracking. Hoof growth tends to slow down in the winter months, so you may be able to stretch the time between trims, but donít be tempted to skip them altogether.

A Dry Escape
If particularly wet weather makes a sloppy mess of your pastures and paddocks keep your horse in a dry spot for part of the day. Wet hooves can crack, and may benefit from some time to dry out. And if a paddock is frozen into lumps and bumps, let your horse spend some time in a flat area that isnít as rough.

Hoof Ointments and Oils
Thereís some debate as to whether applying hoof ointments has any real effect, and some think it may even be detrimental. For cracks caused by winter wear and tear, they probably wonít have much effect. Talk to your farrier about this one.

Yep, I said shoes. If all else fails, try shoes. If you have snow to worry about, add snow pads that will pop out any balls of snow that pack onto the underside of the hoof. This will protect your horse until spring, when you can return to your freewheeling barefoot ways.

Long Term Paddock and Pasture Care
Hard, uneven surfaces arenít just hard on your horseís hooves, but on their legs in general. If your paddock or portions of your pasture turn into frozen bumps and rocks, consider improving the the drainage.This can mean moving or adding soil, channeling water flow and even altering fence lines. This is a big project but can make life easier, safer and more comfortable for everyone.
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 More News by Winniefield Park
Amish Boys Get DUI on Horse and Buggy
23rd Jan 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
four underage Amish men charged with felony obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct and given civil infractions for being minors in possession of alcohol. Witnesses saw the young men tossing beer cans from the buggy. The heavil ...
Top PonyBox Stables To Start 2020
21st Jan 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
2020, and a new decade is only a few weeks old. The winter days seem to drag, it certainly doesnít seem like the Roaring Twenties, but game play continues with changing stats and rankings. Hereís a look at some of the top barns on ...
Rejected Show Horse Saves Owner from Fire in Australia
19th Jan 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
As her family fled the fire, leaving behind possessions and favorite farm animals, a horse named Charmer, once rejected as a show horse, carried her owner to safety though blinding smoke to safety. Her rider, disoriented by the sm ...
PonyBox Top Fives and Prospects
18th Jan 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Who has been at the coveted number one ranking recently? Here is a look at some of the horses that have reached the number one spot and a few that are poised to grab top spot very soon. ...
Tiniest Dwarf Horse Learns To Walk
13th Jan 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Chanel the tiny horse is a dwarf. She had a hard start in life when her mother rejected her. Her poorly formed legs made it difficult to learn to walk and she had to be bottle fed every two hours. Her breeder reached out to the Pe ...
One hundred Horses Rescued In Police Sting Operation
12th Jan 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
A team of volunteers is responsible for rescuing over one hundred horses in King County near Enumclaw. The horses, some in foal and with foals by their sides, were being kept in unsanitary conditions by a women well known to be a ...
Interview of a Horse Kill Buyer
8th Jan 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
The public may be more aware of the negative side of horse racing as the number of race horse deaths at Santa Anita and other tracks becomes publicized. Now, USA Today has shone an unflattering light on another dark side of the sp ...
Horse Magazine Apps
4th Jan 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
An interesting magazine is a good way to pass the time on the bus or in a waiting room. But who wants to read those germ laden, dogeared waiting room magazines, or yesterday's newspaper? And, your Facebook Instagram feeds can get ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
223 Members Online 258,709 Registered Members 2,655 News Articles 11,268,472 Unique News Article Views 266,593,225 Website Views