Hoof Care: What the Code Says,…

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What does the Code say about hoof care in horses?

Caring for your horses hoofs is crucial to your horse’s well-being. Here is what the Code stays about equine hoof care:

“No foot no horse” – regular hoof care is essential towards achieving overall horse health and longevity through hoof and leg soundness. All equines, including donkeys and mules, need regular hoof care but not all equines will need shoeing. Shoes are necessary when wear exceeds growth, or for correction of conformation or gait. Horse boots are a potential alternative to shoeing. Trimming to correct leg and hoof deviations is most effective when done as early as possible in the foal’s life. All hoof and leg deviations worsen with neglect and excess growth.

Cleaning the foot is important, particularly to prevent thrush and to inspect the foot for any foreign materials that may cause injury. Thrush is an infection caused by bacterial and fungal yeast-type organisms. Signs of thrush include a foul odour and a black putty-like appearance of the frog (the frog is located at the heel of the foot and forms a “V” into the centre). Regular cleaning of the hoof prevents thrush from developing by aerating the exposed area.

Strategies to maintain the hoof health of horses:

  • keep hooves free of defects through regular trimming and/or shoeing
  • keep corrals clean, dry and free from mud
  • provide adequate nutrition and exercise
  • clean out hooves regularly, ideally on a daily basis, and before exercise or riding
  • avoid extended use of hoof polishes
  • use hoof moisturizers or hoof hardeners as needed.”
Source: National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC)'s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines

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