WHEN CRACKS ARE CHRONIC

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If your horse con­sis­tently de­vel­ops cracks in the same lo­ca­tion, you’ll want to work with your far­rier to un­der­stand why. One pos­si­bil­ity is that the hoof isn’t bal­anced prop­erly or that the horse has a con­for­ma­tion is­sue—such as a club­foot, or crooked­ness in the legs that places more weight on one side of the hoof—that cre­ates stresses that re­peat­edly cause cracks.

“Some prob­lems tend to be chronic, due to the way the horse lands and loads the foot,” says Dean Moshier, a far­rier in Delaware, Ohio. “If this type of foot is ne­glected it will have more prob­lems.” The in­ci­dents of crack­ing can often be re­duced with at­ten­tive care from a far­rier to bal­ance and sup­port the hoof.

An­other type of chronic crack de­vel­ops af­ter an in­jury to the coro­nary band causes per­ma­nent scar­ring that disrupts the pro­duc­tion of new hoof wall, cre­at­ing a per­ma­nent de­fect on the hoof. Your far­rier will eval­u­ate the sever­ity of your horse’s case. Shal­low de­fects may be rel­a­tively harm­less, although it’s still a good idea to mon­i­tor them closely.

“The coro­nary band has been in­jured at some point in the horse’s life,” says Moshier. “This cre­ates a weak­ened area of the foot where the hoof horn doesn’t grow quite as strong be­low that scar in the coro­nary band. Some­times this is a sin­gle line down the hoof, and some­times it can be a stri­ated line with lay­ers. Those gen­er­ally don’t cause lame­ness.”

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