Hoof Care

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Proper trimming and awareness of the horse’s sole thickness is vital to maintaining optimal hoof health. Whether the horse is growing back over-trimmed soles or is genetically predisposed to thin soles, it’s important that hoof care professionals examine the conditions the horse is kept in because environment directly impacts sole health. Think of soles as calluses on feet – if you’re active, calluses protect your feet from getting blisters. If calluses are removed from your feet when you’re active or in abrasive conditions, the feet develop blisters and become painful. In order to keep soles in healthy condition, hoof care professionals need to be familiar with the conditions the horse is kept in. If the horse has naturally thin soles, different methods can be applied to help the horse regain sole thickness, depending on its environment.

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Prevention is key to avoiding hoof issues - During her daily field visits to farms and acreages around the Saskatoon area, equine veterinary specialist Dr. Kate Robinson sees a wide range of hoof issues in horses – many of them preventable with a consistent daily hoof care regimen.

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Proper hoof trimming is vital to preventing lameness and injury in horses. Keeping the hoof bars aligned and healthy is also dependent upon trimming. Bars appear as white lines along the frog and are made up of laminae. Think of the bars like plastic straws – if you push on the straw from the end, it stays strong and holds its form. If a straw gets too long, it will likely bend when pressure is applied and become weaker. In order to keep bars aligned and healthy, hooves need to be trimmed and collected on a regular basis. Without healthy bars, a horse can develop a “stacked sole,” or worse, a bruised sole or abscess.

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Diagnosis and Treatment with Proper Trimming and Pour-in Pads - Proper hoof trimming is vital to the horse’s overall health and quality of life. Hooves that are not trimmed properly become uneven, causing the horse’s weight to be unevenly distributed and the horse to land on its feet differently than when the hooves are properly trimmed. Lameness can result.

Thrush Infection Basics

By Greg Toronchuk - Thrush is a common hoof disease which usually has a simple treatment with little or no long lasting implications. However, in some situations, infection left unaddressed can cause long-term lameness. The collateral sulci (the grooves alongside the frog) and the central sulcus (groove in the center of the frog) are the main sites of thrush infection.

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When a person wears the same pair of shoes for a long period of time, some parts of the shoes will wear out before other parts depending on the way the person walks and distributes weight to their feet. Once shoes wear out, the feet are not properly supported. This scenario is also true for hooves and horseshoes. When hooves aren’t trimmed properly or horseshoes don’t fit correctly, the horse distributes its weight unevenly and lands on its feet differently than when properly trimmed or shod.

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