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By Eleanor Kellon, VMD
Learn how to prevent chipped, brittle hooves in your trail horse with these expert guidelines.
Horses with poor hoof quality may need nutritional support as well as regular trimming.
Are your horse’s hooves brittle and chipped? Here, I’ll explain how hoof supplements can help strengthen your horse’s hooves. But first, follow these tips to address any potential underlying issues.
Chip Tip #1: Schedule Regular Trimmings
Proper and timely trimmings are crucial. Letting a barefoot horse go too long between trims increases the risk of chipping and breaking.
Here’s why: As the hoof wall grows, it also extends further forward in relation to the bones of the leg and foot. When the hoof lands, the bones stay in the same location, connected to each other, but the hoof wall expands. This causes stretching and eventually crumbling of the white line, the layer of hoof wall that connects the outer wall to the sole and live tissues of the hoof. It also contributes to chips/flaps developing in the hoof at ground surface.
Another common mistake with barefoot horses is leaving the hoof edge sharp where it contacts the ground, instead of gently rolling the edge of the hoof. This rounding can greatly help to prevent chipping.
Chip Tip #2: Avoid Chemical Drying
Brittle hooves are sometimes blamed on periodic exposure to high moisture, e.g., turning horses out in early morning dew. But the truth is that shouldn’t bother a healthy hoof...
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