Horse Hoof Cracks

Most horse hoof cracks that start from the ground up, are as a result of an imbalanced hoof. With just the application of a balanced trim, most times this type of cracked hoof can easily be grown out. However, if they've been there for a long time then there may be some fungus present so this will need to be treated as well.

The red arrows on the first photo illustrate how the ground forces on the long, underrun heel and excessive toe breakover are literally causing the hoof to fold. A previous farrier had tried to relieve the pressure by removing the wall behind it, however this did nothing to help as that area is not where the problem originated. By shortening the heel and addressing the breakover this hoof was given the opportunity to heal.

This photo shows a hoof that has been allowed to flare. With any type of flaring there are excessive forces on the hoof and in this case the hoof is being stretched and eventually the hoof cracks. Again, by removing the excess force (addressing the flares) this hoof can be healed and the cracks grown out.

Horse hoof cracks - mineral deficiency

This photo shows diet related cracks. Unbalanced minerals in the diet - such as selenium or copper deficiency - can affect the health of the hoof wall making it less resistant to fungus.

Injury related cracks

Cracks that start at the top of the foot are often as a result of injury to the coronet band and the hoof wall that is produced in the injured area is left permanently weak. There is less chance totally curing these, however with improved hoof wall quality via a good barefoot trim they often become less pronounced.

The last two photos show damage to the coffin bone as a result of long-term toe cracks. In the radiograph, the coffin bone is outlined in yellow and the area highlighted with red quite clearly shows a crack at the toe and corresponding loss of bone behind it where pressure from the crack has caused demineralization - proof that they should not be taken lightly as if they are left untreated they can cause permanent damage to the hoof.

For more information about hoof cracks, see Pete Ramey's article - click here to read it.

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