Hoof Care Options

Horseshoes, Horse, Shoes, Legs, Feet
Part of your horse care routine focuses a good deal on their hooves. While the wild horses generally move through different terrains so that they have the ability to naturally take care of their hooves and toenails, domestic horses need you to receive the services of a good farrier to always check on their hoof needs, whether shod or not.
There are so many issues your horse’s hooves may encounter, some actually cause lameness. Some include:
Thrush – It is caused by wetness around the barn and could lead to a blackish residue around the frogs. Keep the barn area clean and dry to avoid this.
Hotnail – It happens when the shoe nail gets to the sensitive part of the horse’s hoof. Proper care must be taken as it can result in a serious infection. The hoof should be soaked in Epsom salt then bandaged till it gets better.
There are of course so many others which we’ll not concentrate on but fortunately, a good farrier, good hygiene and nutrition will be able to keep these worries at bay.
Appropriate horse nutrition is mandatory in ensuring your equine friend has healthy hooves. Feeding the horse with quality hay and the right amount of vitamin supplements ensures that the horse stays active, has strong bones and is not susceptible to hoof problems.
This brings us to the question of whether a horse should be shod or not. The choice is largely determined by the horse’s unique requirements and the surrounding environment. As an example, a horse that does not work regularly can be kept unshod for the period of time it’s resting. Pasture potatoes may also do without shoeing unless recommended. A healthy horse will have strong bones and hooves so they might not have to be shod in any respect. That is why we really insist on appropriate nourishment for the horse.
Horse shoes are a bit more expensive than maintaining the horse unshod. Apart from this, the shoes may get caught on something and cause injury. Another problem is how the shoe prevents the hoof from getting picked clean most of the time. Let’s not forget that getting kicked by a shod hoof could make a lot more harm than a bare hoof!
Hoof trimming is quite important to help with appropriate balance for your horse. Imagine walking around in shoes that have uneven heels! Not only is it uncomfortable and unstable, it could ruin your back and leg muscles. Domestic horses need to have their hooves taken care of regularly because as mentioned earlier, they do not move around enough for their hooves to trim naturally.
Shoeing is great for the working horse especially if done by a qualified farrier and at a regular interval of 4-6 weeks. However, even horses that operate frequently can do without being shod. Proper hoof care retains the hooves powerful as nature intended them to be. When you combine great care and nutrition for your equine animals, they’ll live very well with horse shoes, which saves you the extra costs.
Nowadays, the job of trimming and looking after your horse’s hooves is something you can easily learn through research. Hands on practice helps you get better at it quicker too, so you do not have to employ the services of a farrier every time your horse needs trimming.
Be careful however… The choice to go barefoot needs to have the input of your farrier. You might think you are doing the horse some good but you might end up getting an injured horse which would cost you more!

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