on Too Long - Dry, Brittle Hooves
2006 Cherry Hill ©
My horse had shoes on a couple of
weeks too long so her hoofs were getting brittle and were starting to break and
chip. We have had the shoes off for two weeks now but the hoofs are still
dry and breaking and she is almost flat footed.
This doesn't seem to bother our horse when riding.
Should we stop riding her? Can we or should we put shoes on her at this
time. (there really isn't much hoof to nail into) or should we let mother
nature take its course. What can we do to moisten
When shoes are left on a horse's hooves too long, the shoes become loose and often
pull off large hunks of the too-long hoof when the shoes finally do come off.
When a horse's shoes are pulled and the hooves are left unshod, the hooves generally
break around the edges up to some extent, especially where weakened by the nail
holes, until the hoof tissues can adapt to being barefoot. Like if you suddenly
started going barefoot, it would take a while for your feet to "toughen"
up. It might take some horses up to a year to develop a tough "barefoot"
It's important that a barefoot horse be trimmed regularly and properly to keep
the feet balanced. The edges of the hoof should be rounded to minimize chipping
and cracking. The toe should be squared off somewhat and rounded as well.
If your mare is comfortable being ridden, you can keep riding her barefoot, but
minimize riding on sharp gravel or abrasive surfaces like concrete.
Exercise promotes blood flow in the hoof and is the best way to moisten hooves.
Often, hooves will crack not because they are too dry, but because they have been
too wet. Horses in a consistently dry environment have better feet.
To be sure your horse's hooves are growing at an optimum rate, make sure the horse
is getting a balanced diet.
Farrier's Supplement by Gateway is a supplement that can help undernourished feet
grow stronger (it also improves the hair coat, including the mane and tail).
2006 Cherry Hill ©