Friday, November 13, 2009

Healthy Horse Hooves

As a rule, a healthy horse that has access to plenty of quality grass should demonstrate healthy hoof growth. If the health of the animal or its diet is not optimal then its possible that a strong hoof will not be possible. In truth, other variables such as breed, individual genetics and environmental factors all play a part. Horse hooves are much like human fingernails: they grow from the cuticle and harden into hooves. If there is a disruption in the cuticle so that tissue can not grow, the nail/hoof will not be produced. If the crack in a hoof is a temporary problem, it should grow out with adequate shoeing. However, if it appears to be permanent / repetitive you need to address the underlying cause. It is possible that a horse with a permanently split hoof has a damaged cuticle - in which case no hoof will ever grow in that area, but it is more likely to be a temporary effect.