Weird Hoof Crack Theory...

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Weird Hoof Crack Theory...

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  • Hoof toe crack
  • Apple cider vinegar and horse hooves

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    04-01-2009, 11:13 PM
Weird Hoof Crack Theory...

Hey Guys!

That crazy/mean/weird farrier that came out to trim (and beat) my horses had mentioned something about Joey's little chronic crack he gets on his front right hoof. He said that more often than not, a chronic crack on the same hoof in the same spot means there is actually a small chip in the navicular bone just behind that spot.

He recommended I get X-rays done to see if that's what's causing it... but offered absolutely no "solution" to curb the crack from spreading (when I KNOW there are ways to do it.. again, I really doubt this farriers credibility). Now, I will note, he did not examine Joey's angles or so much as look at him before he started trimming his feet. So its not like he took a good hard look and ruled other causes out.

I always figured the reason Joey gets cracks on the front right, is because he is club footed on that particular foot... and the pressure on the toe causes the hoof to crack. It never splits -too- deep, usually just... 1/8th of an inch into his hoof wall... if that. I'll try to get pictures of his sole tomorrow to show you what i'm talking about.

I wish I had pictures, but the ones I took were awful! So im hoping some of you guys could throw out some ideas as to why he keeps getting this crack. Something missing from his diet? (the other horses don't crack, and they get the same feeding regiment he does). The steep angle of the Club Foot putting pressure on his toe causing the split? Chip in Navicular Bone?

... Help! :p
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    04-02-2009, 02:47 PM
Well if it's a deep enough crack, it can be either cut out with a hoof cutter or even a dremel to ensure there's no infection going on and then filled with a 3 part epoxy which you would get at a farrier or tack shop.

I had a crack filled this way and it then took 2 or 3 trims for the crack to be completely gone and it has never reappeared.

Our old pony has had an on going problem with one hoof. She's I/R and on a special diet. We have had x-rays done and there isn't any chips visible, the x-rays were done last year after she had a mild founder. It has gotten better with a change in food that supports hoof growth and being put on a 1-800- call-jenny diet.
    04-02-2009, 03:16 PM
(cut and paste from

Where is the navicular bone located?

As shown in the diagram below the navicular bone sits at the back of the coffin bone and provides a smooth surface for the deep flexor tendon to run over.

Skippy - based on the diagram - does his theory make sense?
    04-02-2009, 03:21 PM
Originally Posted by mls    
Skippy - based on the diagram - does his theory make sense?
No it really doesn't o.o! Unless im missing something! At the time it didnt make sense either. I knew the navicular bone was a weird smallish bone somewhere BEHIND the front of the hoof. I even asked him if he meant the Coffin Bone and he said No. I don't get how a chip in the navicular bone could create a crack infront of the coffin bone o_o;; Thank you for posting that image, by the way ^^

And G&K, thankfully its not too deep to merit the epoxy/dremel work. My old farrier burned a small shallow hole so the crack could break into it, then stop... and that made it go away for a little while, then a few months after it grew out it came back =/
    04-02-2009, 03:50 PM
What's the weather like down your way? If wet do they get a chance to come in and dry out a bit? If it's dry, do you use a hoof conditioner ? What about adding a bit of biotin to his feed.
    04-02-2009, 04:27 PM
The weather here tends to fall on the swampy/wet/humid side, usually they are on dry pasture and dry stalls, but when it rains the pasture can get swampy/muddy and it usually lasts about 2 days then starts drying ^^

Biotin? Is that like "Source"? Isn't that a digestive enzyme thing? Or am I waaaaaaay out in left field, LOL! I'm interested to know more about it! How do ya think it'll help? Just provide overall better nutrients directly to the hooves?
    04-02-2009, 04:48 PM
Hmm, well, a divot in the coffin bone MAY cause a weak spot in the toe, but it will create a divot where the sole and wall meet at the toe. He's wrong about the navicular bone.
If it's usually humid in your area, fungus may be a cause in your case, but proper trimming can sometimes take care of that, as fungi are opportunistic, in so much that a weakness may already exist from poor hoof balance, a divot in the bone, as mentioned or excess moisture. Soaking with Apple Cider vinegar or White LIghtning (a medicine for white line disease) etc and good trimming can grow it out. Opening the hoof wall further can sometimes just make it worse, as it irritates hoof structures, making them more suseptable, and for that reason, I'm not a big fan of epoxy to cover it, either.
You're right that an upright foot can promote a toe crack, and it's telling you the hoof isnt' balanced right. Even hooves that seem to be prone to being upright, usually are ready to have the heels lowered some if thy are cracking all to heck.
Probably isn't a dietary thing, unless his other hooves all are of poor quality (shelly, flaky, cracking, etc). Moisturizers and oily dressings can make it worse by trapping fungus in the wall, so I'd recommend skipping that. Brings us back tot he anti-fungal treatment and good trimming, which I doubt he got a good trim if that guy was a quack.
    04-04-2009, 12:18 AM
Maybe you should start your horse on hoof supplements? I've heard that ointments typically dry the hoof as opposed to making it strong and supple. I've also heard wonders about Horseshoer's Secret, I use the pellet variety, but it takes a good two or three months before you really see the difference. The farrier's theory didn't seem to make sense, if something was wrong with any bone in your horses foot, wouldn't he react with something other than a crack? Like tenderness, or lameness?
    04-04-2009, 03:16 AM
Biotin helps hooves, that is hat my horse is on because he has severe hoof problems. However, biotin is very expensive and for just one crack I would just use something like hoofcare which has biotin in it, its just not as expensive. Im not exactly sure how it helps but I think it makes them stronger and helps the hoof grow out nicely.
    04-04-2009, 10:45 AM
My dad and I used to use Farrier's Formula all-the-time on Skippy! Back when I was growing up. I think it came out before Horseshoers Secret did. We were naive and thought that it would "fix" his small feet, but in actuality it stimulated hoof growth, and made the hoof wall, sole, and frog very strong and healthy.

Farriers Formula is definitely a thought... at least to speed up the development of healthy hoof wall to try to grow that crack out and see if it re-splits with a PROPER farrier trimming his hooves.

Barefoothooves, thank you very much for your post! I didn't know about using Apple Cider Vinegar to kill a fungus! That's awesome! And no, I don't think he got a good trim considering as soon as I stopped Joey by his work station he immediately picked his foot up. He didnt evaluate his angles, ask me to walk him, etc. He wasn't even looking at me when I was leading Joey up. He literally just nipped his feet. I'm still really cheesed off about that.

Thanks so much for the ideas and help guys! I love getting a fresh point of view on something! Especially when it comes to hooves. I really want to learn more about them in general, seeing how important they are to the horse! Lol!

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