The es­sen­tial care your horse’s hooves need to stay strong dur­ing the com­ing sea­son

Plan­ning ahead and good man­age­ment are key to keep­ing those nasty win­ter hoof con­di­tions at bay, says Stu­art Thorne MRCVS

Your Horse (UK) - - Contents -

YOU CAN’T CON­TROL the weather, but you can con­trol the con­di­tion of your horse’s hooves go­ing into the win­ter,” says Stu­art Thorne, vet­eri­nary sur­geon and di­rec­tor at Fel­lowes Farm Equine Clinic. “Peo­ple for­get about their horse’s hooves through the sum­mer and au­tumn months, then win­ter comes and they panic be­cause their horse’s feet are in a dread­ful con­di­tion.” Own­ers should start pre­par­ing their horse’s hooves around nine months ear­lier, par­tic­u­larly where cracks are con­cerned, ad­vo­cates Stu­art. “On av­er­age, a hoof grows 10mm a month, so if peo­ple are wor­ry­ing about the flaky, cracked edges on the ground-bear­ing sur­face of the horse’s hoof, they should be deal­ing with this be­fore win­ter in or­der to get a really good qual­ity foot to go through the sea­son.” A key com­po­nent in pro­mot­ing qual­ity hoof is reg­u­lar far­ri­ery, whether your horse is shod or not. “An aw­ful lot can be ad­dressed through reg­u­lar far­ri­ery be­cause that keeps the foot in the right con­di­tion and shape, which helps to min­imise cracks and flares. Bare­foot hooves need just as much at­ten­tion from a far­rier as shod hooves.”

DR STU­ART THORNE BSC PHD BVSC MRCVS has worked in equine prac­tice since grad­u­a­tion and en­joys all as­pects of equine work with a spe­cial in­ter­est in the com­pe­ti­tion horse. JAN­UARY 2019

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