Equine Health - Equine Hooves

ArticleHow To - HealthTuesday 14 September 2010
Horse Hoof Care
Horse hoof care is one of the most important aspects of caring for a horse and it is essential that you take care of horses hooves correctly. Making sure your horses hooves are in good condition is part of every day management and you need to make sure you do not neglect this aspect of horse care if you want to keep your horse in sound condition. 
You can think of horse hoof care as a joint effort between you and your farrier. It is your responsibility to care for your horses hooves every day, picking out the hooves to remove dirt and stones. You should also keep your eyes on the condition of your horses shoes to make sure they are fitted securely and there are no risen clenches. Another aspect of horse hoof care that is down to you is keeping your horses bedding clean and dry or your horse might get infections such as thrush. 
All other aspects of horse hoof care should be left to your farrier. Whether your horse is working or not you will need a farrier every six weeks to check your horses feet. Never ever try to shoe a horse yourself this is illegal and must not be attempted. Always get a farrier to replace shoes and check your horses hooves over thoroughly. 

Horse Care – Shod or Barefoot?

It is vital that every horse should be looked at as an individual when deciding whether or not it should be shod. You will need to think about the horse’s workload, environment and the owner’s circumstances. It is essential to get the advice of a farrier when deciding if your horse should be shod or go barefoot. 
You should always remember that trimming a horse’s hooves is a very skilled job. The way the hoof is shaped affects how the horse moves and changes the stresses that are imposed on different parts of the legs. 
Currently in the UK anyone can trim a horses hooves although this is not advised at all. Only a farrier is allowed to nail on shoes and it is always recommended that you use a farrier even for the simplest of trims. If your horse is shod then it is a good idea to learn how to remove a shoe if it comes loose. Your farrier will show you how to do this, make sure you do not attempt it until you know how. Whenever in doubt call a farrier. 
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