Foot Care Foot care is essential to ensure your horse remains sound and should be as routine as feeding and watering. Proper foot care and reasonable management can help prevent lameness. Most foot care maintenance can be done by you however it is important to contact your veterinary surgeon or farrier if you are unsure.
Disease organisms concentrate where animals are confined, so cleanliness is important. Horses kept in a stall or small pen should have their feet picked or cleaned daily. Horses at pasture should also have regular hoof inspections and be picked and cleaned out. A fine bristled brush is also useful for cleaning the sole, frog, and hoof wall.
A good protocol to follow is described below:
- Begin by picking out the heel and use the hoofpick from heel to toe to remove dirt, mud and other debris. It is also important to clean out the cleft between the sole and the frog.
- Once cleaned check the condition of the hoof in particular the frog.
- Inspect the shoes to make sure they are in good condition and that there are no missing or loose nails. It is also a good idea to ensure the nails aren’t projecting beyond the top of the hoof.
Your veterinary surgeon can advise you on an appropriate hoof conditioner or sealant to apply to the hoof. Also your vet should be contacted if you have any doubts about the health of your horses hoof.
The legs of your horse should be inspected on a day to day basis to ensure potential problems are detected early. This inspection involves running your hands up and down all four legs looking for the following:
- Scabs, scratches and cuts
- Lumps and bumps
- Bot eggs (forelimb)
- Anything out of the ordinary
If you discover something or are not sure then phone your veterinary surgeon for further advice.
It is also important that your horse is trotted up regularly both on hard and soft ground. This can help to detect any potential lameness problems early and if spotted it is important that you veterinary surgeon is contacted to obtain further advice.