Caring for horse's hooves


A fundamental aspect for your health

The horse is an animal that requires constant care, especially in its limbs, since it is an area that supports a great weight due to the dimensions of its body. The feet have to be in perfect condition so they can run without any discomfort preventing it. These attentions are not indispensable in case the animal lives in freedom, but because of the efforts that the human forces him to make, such as walking on the asphalt or galloping, the feet and legs suffer excessive pressure and deteriorate with more easily

A horse without good helmets is an insecure, nervous and distrustful horse when walking. The hull is mainly divided into three parts: the first one is located on the outside and is called a wall and grows from the crown down. On the other hand is the concave part that protects the helmet from injuries and is called the sole. It is a very sensitive area due to its delicacy due to the thin layer it presents, so it must be treated very carefully. Finally there is the frog, whose function is to cushion and prevent the helmet from sliding, a mechanism that allows the contraction and extension of the helmet when walking.

There are numerous factors that contribute to the good condition of the equine limbs, but one of the most important is daily cleaning. To do this, you have to remove dirt from the heel to the fire with a ‘helmet cleaner’, paying special attention so that the product does not penetrate the soft areas of the frog, which always has to be clean to avoid problems in the helmet.

The right time to check daily if everything is in perfect condition is just before and after riding. If our animal is a foal, this routine review is essential because, in case of anomaly, future problems will be avoided. So that he gets used to raising his leg at the time of the ironwork, a good dressage exercise is to lift his limbs every day.

Not only is it important to clean the affected area, in this case, the hooves, but it is also necessary to keep the stable and the straw in optimal conditions, because if these two elements contain impurities, the continuous contact with them will be an infection for the horse . In the same way, we must provide a balanced diet, since ingredients such as biotin will help the good condition of the hulls and mane.

The changes in the degree of humidity greatly influence the deterioration of the hulls, which is why we must strive to make these alterations as minimal as possible. This occurs after the end of the training, since it happens abruptly from being in constant motion to staying stable and relaxed, without performing any type of exercise. To avoid these changes it is advisable to use a topical application responsible for sealing the correct amount of moisture, allowing the necessary distribution and penetration of oxygen.

The frog is one of the most sensitive parts of the hulls and the one that demands more attention because in its collateral grooves stones or sharp elements are usually embedded, in addition to being the place where the bacteria rest, so it is a constant focus of infections in case they are not cleaned often. When it is time to sanitize the central groove, it is necessary to notice if there are cracks or cuts in it: if so, it is the fault of the dryness of the area.

If they give off a bad smell, it indicates that a serious infection has occurred. That is when you have to proceed to the complete cleaning of the helmet, applying hydrogen peroxide. Subsequently, it is necessary to check if the horseshoe is kept in perfect condition, that is, if it is still well placed and the rivets are tight. These steps are fundamental, because if the various diseases develop, the horse will end up limping.

The state of the horseshoe

The base of the hooves has to be continuously in good condition, but the efforts that the horse makes daily do not help to maintain it, that is why the hardware is used, to avoid its wear and take care of the deterioration. Properly placing the horseshoe is very important, as it will play the role of sole, essential when moving on the asphalt.

The fitting and trimming of the helmets must be carried out by the farrier with a periodicity that depends on the work and the trot that he carries out, in addition to the stage of growth in which he is. In general, it is a process that should begin when the foal is 4 to 8 weeks old.

When the helmets exceed the limit of the horseshoe, the nails suitable for their size are not used or the horse loses its balance, it means that the hardware is either badly made or it is time to change it. It must be borne in mind that for a horseshoe to be placed correctly, the helmets must be flat and, for this, it is necessary to trim or file them, otherwise it will wobble to the sides or slide forward or backward, which It will encourage your aggressiveness because of the pain it produces.

Genetic factors

There are lines of horses more predisposed to problems in the helmet. Both the weakness of the hooves and the pockets have a hereditary component that you must take into account when making the crossings in your breeding program.

The genetic component of a bad helmet has no treatment but there are environmental conditions that can be improved.

Foot movement

With the exercise of the horse we are improving the circulation in the foot and therefore the supply of nutrients To all its structures. The horses that are stable all day significantly reduce this blood supply to the foot and therefore to all cells responsible for the formation of a healthy helmet.

Normally horses begin to get hurt when they are ridden. If we start riding very young horses, the horseshoe restricts the movements of the helmet resulting in poor formation of the parts that act as shock absorbers.

Effects of weather on the foot

The climatological factor that mainly influences is the environmental humidity.

Dryness It hardens the hulls, but it can also crack them. If you are in dry areas, after cleaning the helmet you should apply moisturizing and nourishing creams to the helmet. Another option is to wash the helmets with plenty of water and then apply an oil or grease that waterproofs it so that the moisture that you provided with the water is maintained internally.

On the contrary if your horse is in a wet zone you should apply waterproofing greases when the foot is dry so that moisture does not penetrate.

It is very important to know that hydration or waterproofing will work especially in the palm and not in the wall. Therefore, apply these techniques in the lower part of the helmet where they will have more effect.

Nutritional factors involved in helmet quality

The passage to a quality diet will be sufficient if the health problems of your horse's helmet are of nutritional origin, but you must take into account the long period of renewal of the entire helmet and be patient and insistent.

  • For start noticing results in the helmet of any nutritional change must happen at least 4-6 months
  • For completely renew a helmet must pass 10-12 months


They are formed by amino acids. Cysteine ​​and methionine are amino acids that have high sulfur contents that favor the growth and strength of the hull.

High quality proteins contain enough essential amino acids to meet the nutritional requirements of the horse. That is why it is so important to feed with feed that contains not only sufficient amounts of protein, but that it is of quality.

Biotin (Vitamin H or Vitamin B7)

It is a type of vitamin B that can be generated in the horse's own intestine or can be supplied in the feed or by special nutritional supplements. It directly influences the structure and elasticity of the hull, which reduces the formation of cracks. By improving the structure also allows better hydration.

Minerals and trace elements

  • Copper, zinc, manganese and selenium

All natural foods contain these elements but sometimes not in sufficient quantity. That is why it is necessary to add feed balancers to the diet or use quality feed balanced in minerals.

It is necessary for cell-to-cell attachment within the cornea part of the helmet. Cereals are high in phosphorus and when there is an excess calcium absorption is inhibited. In these circumstances it is very important to provide balanced feed with less cereals.

How to clean the horse's hooves.

Cleaning is considered essential for the care of horses. For this we must observe, hydrate and clean the horses' hooves daily to anticipate an anomaly, which later takes time to heal. For this, it is advisable to do it before and after riding.

To clean the wall of the hulls you have to do it in an order:

  1. If it is not wet enough, wet the entire wall with soap and water.
  2. After this step, we use a brush or other tool to remove dirt.
  3. Once we have removed all the dirt, we apply water to completely clean the hulls
  4. To avoid the appearance of pathologies we will apply a special grease with the component of griserina and will waterproof it with great success.

Steps to clean the Ranillas

To conclude the cleaning of the horse, we finished with the frogs.

  1. We remove dirt with a helmet cleaner from the heel to the fire.
  2. Special attention to the lateral grooves, where bacteria, fungi, etc. are found.
  3. You can find odors, cuts, cracks and we will apply with hydrogen peroxide in the affected areas.

What pathologies can they derive?

The most frequent winter pathologies of horse hooves are:

Rooms: As we have said before, they are cracks in the wall, mainly associated with dryness.
Atrophied frogs: This is the appearance of infections due to the exposure of helmets to high humidity conditions.
Subsolar abscess: Due to bruising or penetrating wounds

In any other case, consult a veterinarian who may refer you to a treatment to prevent or cure any other pathology.