KER.com - Full Article
May 25, 2017
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff
Just as coat condition serves as an indication of health status in horses—sheen and dapples suggest vitality, whereas dull, rough, or half-shed coats imply unthriftiness or disease—changes in hooves may provide clues to a horse’s historical well-being.
The hoof wall is subject to any number of imperfections, and it is commonplace for horses to be beset with shallow or deep cracks, chipped toes, or flares, especially if they are not under the scheduled care of a professional farrier. These flaws are obvious. More subtle changes in the hoof wall, including horizontal rings and ridges, tell more about a horse’s health than the regularity of hoof care.
Hoof rings and ridges sound synonymous, but they are not. In fact, one is a normal feature of even the best-managed hooves; the other, though, is a sign of pathology and potential toxicity...
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