Soft hooves are one of the common conditions even with all information behind them, why not utilise it?
That’s right; you are not alone. Soft hooves are one of the common problems that can happen to a horse’s foot, which directly relates to its environment. Soft hooves can also lead to other hoof problems; hence, we must always bear this in mind. The good news is that it is preventable.
Let’s look at the development of soft hooves, what it can lead to, how to treat and prevent it in the first place.
Table of Contents
What Is Soft Hoof
The first layer of the hoof is the hoof wall, a hard covering that protects the inner structure and provides strength to support the horse’s weight.
The hoof wall has a tubular structure and is porous. When the hoof is healthy, these tubules are firmly connected so that the hoof wall will stay strong. However, the hoof wall will absorb moisture like a sponge in a wet environment. When the horse is exposed to the wet condition for an extended time, the excess moisture will weaken and stretch the tissue that connects and hold these tubules together in the hoof wall, causing the hoof to start losing its structure and shape, that’s a soft hoof.
Causes Of Soft Hooves
The environment is the main factor for horses to develop soft hooves. Both wet and dry climates can affect the hoof, but the wet condition causes soft hooves. It can easily be overlooked, especially when the wet state doesn’t last long. The hoof can’t be dry and get hardened as quickly as the ground dries, so it might weaken over time.
Problems From Soft Hooves
So what if the hooves get a little damp?
DVM, a Mossouri-based veterinarian, in an article from theHORSE.
It is invaluable to be able to notice when your horse has soft hooves because it can lead to other more severe hoof-related issues:
5 Tips To Prevent Soft Hooves
All that being said, don’t worry too much about it. We can tackle the problems and ensure the hooves are in good condition.
1. A Clean Environment
Reinforce all the grounds your horse has access to, such as the stalls, paddocks, horse walkers etc. You can look after the hoof’s health by providing the horse with a mud-free area to stand on and keeping the hoof clean and dry.
Find out more about EquiGrids Ground Reinforcement with Free Drainage.
2. A Balanced Diet
Ensure the horse has enough nutrients daily to help with the overall hoof growth.
3. Maintain Good Circulation
A good blood flow to the tubules is essential because it helps the specialised cell that composes the hoof wall, giving the horse a resilient hoof. Regular activity and specific hoof trimming can also keep good circulation.
4. Utilise Hoof Hardeners and Hoof Conditioner
A healthy hoof needs to be maintained at a level of hydration. Some hooves might need external help before and after activities by applying a layer of hoof hardener to the hoof wall and sole.
5. Regular Farrier Appointments
Just like humans should have regular body checks, horses also need regular care to maintain good health.
Check For Soft Hooves
How can you tell if your horse has soft hooves?
According to Darren Owen, a professional farrier mentioned by LifeData.
If your horse has developed soft hooves or any other issues, visit your farrier or veterinarian for further action. The quicker it gets related treatment, the better it is.