Marquis Farrier Service
Basic Hoof Care

Living Conditions


    Horses living outdoors on varied terrain wear their hooves in a natural fashion. Domestic horses living primarily in paddocks or stables, with little exercise and limited opportunity to toughen their feet are susceptible to a number of hoof problems. Daily inspections, cleanings, routine trimming will prevent many problems.

    Good stall sanitation is essential for proper foot care. Areas containing a buildup of urine and wet manure will promote thrush & white line disease. It is important to clean your horse's hooves before and after each workout, daily if your horse is stabled and at least once a week if your horse is turned out in pasture.

    Lack of moisture may be a cause of hoof drying and cracking. There are several methods you can do to improve hoof moisture.

  • Apply mud packs
  • Use hoof sealant
  • Let water overflow around drinking areas
  • Soak hoofs in water

    Excess moisture, especially frequent wet to dry episodes may do more harm than good. Hoof dressings and mud packs can remove periople (the outside covering that protects the hoof wall from absorbing too much water). When a hoof absorbs too much water it may become less elastic. When this happens, the soft, crumbly horn may peel and separate. Hooves that are less elastic do not hold horseshoe nails as well.

    The health of your horses outer hoof is directly related to the health of the inner hoof. Routine exercise stimulates circulation, maintains health of the corium and elastic tissues, and balances moisture content internally. When the external moisture is kept constant and relatively dry most hoof problems related to drying and cracking will be eliminated.

    A balanced diet is also an essential element for normal growth and healthy appearance of the hoof. Overfeeding and underfeeding are among the most common causes of poor hoof growth in a foal. A balanced feed should provide amounts of calcium, selenium, biotin and essential amino acids.

    A mature horse's hooves will grow about 1/4" each month. A foal's rate is 1/2" each month. Hoof growth is fastest during spring and slowest during the hottest and coldest weather. Shod horses require frequent trimming because the horseshoe prevents hoof wear. If your horse is shod its hooves typical require trimming about every 5-6 weeks. A certified Farrier will be most able to determine your individual horses needs.

    Usually a horse's toe grows faster than it's heel (but not in all cases), if the hoof is not trimmed frequently enough, the foot becomes unbalanced. After several weeks past a normal trimming the long toe alters the horse's gait. This may result in injury or poor performance. The longer toe can also contribute to sole bruises, corns and contracted heels.

    The purpose of remedial hoof care is to correct, or compensate, for abnormal hoof/pastern axis, to relieve stresses associated with painful tendon and bone diseases. Corrective trimming is an integral part of treatment for most orthopedic diseases horse contract. Laminitis, sand cracks, flat feet, corns, sole bruises, navicular disease, and contracted heels are the most common. Other conditions may include: contracted flexor tendons, tendonitis, ligament injuries, ringbone, side bones, bone spavin, and dropped sole.

    For any other information about hoof care please contact your Certified Farrier or send us an email at the Ranch.


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