No Foot, No Horse (part one)

This is the first installment in a series of articles which will hopefully shed some light on the hows and whys of hoof maintenance, function and anatomy.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit

You may ask what has some long dead Greek philosopher got to do with horse’s feet? The answer is, if you are a horse owner you may as well be an excellent horse owner, and an excellent horse owner ensures their horse has excellent feet.

So, what are excellent feet, how do I recognise them, and how do I go about ensuring that my horse is the proud owner of them?

The third part of that question is the most easily answered.

  • Find a qualified, professional, farrier.
  • Whether your horse is bare-foot or shod get their feet tended to every 5-6 weeks. Later on we will discuss why any period past six weeks is generally too long, and the long term damage that may occur if you do not adhere to this routine.
  • Before you go for a ride, pick your horses feet out!!! They cannot tell you if there is a stone wedged in their foot. It is up to you to check for them.
  • Look at your horses’ feet regularly (daily is ideal). Check for loose nails, loose shoes, chips, cracks, splits, flares etc.
  • If you are concerned, ring your farrier!! It is amazing how many major problems start out as minor issues that are not addressed early!!!

Well that is the easy part out of the way. Next article we will look at some common-sense, easy to understand and follow ways you can assess the condition of your horse’s feet.