Hoof Cracks in Horses
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Hoof Cracks in Horses

October 18, 2019


In a normal hoof, you’re going to always have
some little superficial cracks. Changes in the hydration level of the foot, your moisture
content will result in superficial checking and cracking on the hoof. That’s normal. Once
you get accustomed to what’s normal for your horse, you learn to ignore those to a certain
extent. But then you need to look for those that are more serious and are at the ground.
I think it’s especially important, too, if you see any crack that is following the horn
tubule, and you’ll see these little lines that go down the hoof. If you’ve got a hoof
that has pigment, it’s easier to see those. This pigmented hoof is much easier to see,
and you can see, that’s kind of a blind crack right here. Basically, it’s a crack waiting
to happen. So, it’s a structural flaw or weakness, you’ll see this very often on healthy feet.
But, if they don’t get maintenance regularly, if they’re allowed to distort, then that’s
your opportunistic region for that crack to come in. One of the things that we work with constantly
is changes in moisture content within the hoof wall. And we can’t control that a whole
lot, it’s climate-based, it’s environment-based, and we try to minimize that as much as possible,
try to regulate moisture in the hoof. Nevertheless, it’s going to have superficial checks and
cracks, and the more it shifts from wet to dry, the more you’re going to see superficial
cracking. It’s kind of like your hair would do if you went swimming every day in the summer.
You get little split ends that you wouldn’t have otherwise. So, you get that superficial
cracking, but it’s superficial, it’s on the surface. And you don’t really worry about
those, except for reminding you that you need to regulate moisture more and that you need
to stay on top of your maintenance. If, however, it’s a superating crack or a crack that goes
through the hoof wall, then you have to be concerned. So you’re looking for a crack that,
or you’re hoping not to find, a crack that goes through the entire hoof wall, because
then you have a structural issue. If you have something like this blind crack, it’s not
an issue at this point, it’s just a potential problem. It tells you you need to stay on
top of your maintenance, that you need to work on balance, that you need to work on
hydration, but you don’t need to work on that crack. You need to work on all of the other
issues to make sure that it doesn’t become a problem. There aren’t many guarantees in the barn,
but we’ve got one you can count on. Order any of our SmartSupplements in SmartPaks,
and we’ll guarantee you’ll see results or we’ll give you your money back. Supplements that are guaranteed to work. We
took care of that, too. The real problems, the real issues with cracks
are the penetrating cracks that go throughout the hoof wall. And they weaken the integrity
of the hoof wall and it’s ability to support. There are a number of things that are going
to contribute to a hoof cracking. Conformation is an issue, balance is an issue, moisture
is an issue. So, you’ve got conformation, balance, moisture – all of those mean that
you’ve got to work on maintenance. And balancing that hoof is the most important thing you
can do. That means regular hoof care. In some cases, if you’re dealing with a crack and
trying to recover a crack, you’ll see a lot of situations where you’ll have a veterinarian
and a farrier working together. They may do something as radical as lacing – using stainless
steel wire and lacing the crack. But, one of the things that you do need to be careful
about is to make sure that you don’t trap material behind that crack. If you use an
acrylic patch or any sort of patching material to try to mend that crack, you have to make
sure that you are not trapping any moisture and bacteria behind there that will create
an infection. And this horse actually had, you can see the remainders of a patch here,
where he got patched and patched, and the patches actually drove the infection into
the hoof. So you have to be very careful that you’re not driving infection in and holding
infection or creating an opportunity for infection. The crack needs to be, in general, balanced,
unloaded, and maintained. Paying attention to cracks, recognizing the
difference between superficial cracks and cracks that affect the integrity of the hoof
wall, it’s important stuff. Stay with us as we look at more hoof health
concerns here at SmartPak.

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  1. Hi there. I'm learning to become a certified farrier and I'm trying to find as many tools and and examples for training as possible. I was wondering where you got those hooves (other than obviously from horses lol) Could I find anything like that from maybe a taxidermist? I'm a VERY 'hands on' learner so it would be very useful and I'd much rather make mistakes on one of those while in training than on a live horse that could suffer from my lack of current experience.

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