Remember: No Hoof; No Horse. 30 facts you should know about your horses feet and hooves.
Your horses feet are more important than you think.
A horse is nothing without it’s feet and we, horse owners and riders, continually mess around with different shoes and boots. We trot on hard roads, jump on rough surfaces, allow farriers to adjust the shape and angle of the horses’ hoof and probably never give a thought to how the horse feels about all this.
Make sure you know all you can about your horse’s feet and how to take care of them.
Because there is nothing more frustrating than trying to work out why your horse is lame, or more heart breaking than watching, helpless, as your horse suffers.
Horse Feet Facts :The size of your horses feet are relative to the size of your horse. Your horses feet continue to grow in size until your horse is 6 years old. The length of your horses toe is relative to the weight of your horse. Your horses pastern and dorsal hoof wall should be parallel – the foot pastern angle should be straight. Your horses front feet are more circular in shape to allow for expansion during weight bearing work.
Your horses hind feet are more pointed to allow for traction during propulsion. Your horses front feet should never be steeper than your horses hind feet. The angle of your horses heel should be within 5 degrees of the angle of your horses toe. Your horses coronary band should form an angle of about 30 degrees with the ground. The diameter of your horses coronet band should be approximately equal to the vertical height of your horses hoof at the toe. When viewed from the solar surface your horses foot should be as wide as it is long. Your horses sole should be concave. A flat sole will impede expansion of your horses hoof during weight bearing and will be more prone to bruising. The soles of your horses front feet should be slightly less concave than those of your horses hind feet. The width of your horses frog should be 2/3rds (66%) of its length, any less and your horses feet are considered to be contracted. The bars should protrude slightly above the level of your horses sole. They should be about 1cm shorter than the wall to allow for hoof expansion during weight bearing.
Your horses hoof wall grows an average of 1cm each month and should wear down by about the same amount. The parts of your horses feet that bear the most weight will grow the least. Your horses feet perform several essential functions;
- Supporting your horses weight
- Absorbing shock
- Resisting wear
- Providing traction
- Pumping blood
- Conducting moisture
Moisturise Your Horses FeetYour horses hoof quality is directly related to its moisture content which, can vary in different parts. Your horses hoof wall is approximately 25% water, the sole 33% and the frog 50%. Extremely dry hoof walls (less than 20% moisture) or extremely wet hoof walls (greater than 30% moisture) are weaker and more susceptible to failure. Water is natures hoof conditioner. It is the only preparation that has been consistently shown to have a positive effect on maintaining your horses hoof moisture balance. As water is constantly being lost from your horses feet it is important to replace it on a daily basis. The weight of your horse shoes should be as light as possible, 15 grams at your horses feet becomes 450grams at your horses shoulder. Your horses feet are the most prominent point associated with lameness in your horse. You should always check and eliminate your horses feet first, as a cause of lameness
Daily immersion in water for 10-15 minutes is sufficient for healthy feet. Oil or fat based hoof dressings cannot moisturise your horses hoof wall.