WHEN CRACKS ARE CHRONIC
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.”