Black vs White Hoofs, Does it matter?

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Black vs White Hoofs, Does it matter?

This is a discussion on Black vs White Hoofs, Does it matter? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Do some horse colours have white hooves
  • The difference between black horse hooves and white

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    01-08-2011, 07:05 AM
Black vs White Hoofs, Does it matter?

I've been passing this off as B.S. But I've had so many people tell me this recently. Does hoof color make any difference in the strength of the hoof? Jack has black front hoofs and white back hoofs. I have had people try to tell me that his back hoofs will be prone to problems and I should have shoes put on the back. The farrier comes out again in Feb so I'm not going to call and ask. Any ideas???
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    01-08-2011, 08:20 AM
It is really an old wife's tale but one that stubbornly persists even among more knowledgeable horsemen. Through personal experience and anything I've read, there is no evidence that hoof color makes a difference.
    01-08-2011, 08:38 AM
I haven't heard this before, but I'd be inclined to ignore it tbh. I have one horse with four black hooves and one horse with four white hooves. We don't treat their feet any differently and haven't had any more problems in the horse with white hooves. In fact I'd be inclined to say he has better feet than my black-hooved mare!

Unless I've missed the point and this is only about horses who have a mix of both colours, I don't think it makes any difference.
    01-08-2011, 09:57 AM
Our mare with white hooves does have very hard hooves (require noticeably more effort to rasp) compared to the other two mares, but I do believe it is just coincidence.
    01-08-2011, 10:17 AM
Green Broke
White are softer but no reason to shoe if no problems. They carry less weight in back so fronts take more of a pounding
Different breeds and diet can make hoofs different also.
    01-08-2011, 11:35 AM
Green Broke
There isn't a difference because of the color. Some horses will have hooves that are softer than other horses. I think the reason this saying persists is that you can see bruising of the hoof easily with white hooves and not with dark ones.
    01-08-2011, 12:16 PM
Green Broke
I honestly don't think the hoofwall determines tender feet at all. The sole of the foot is what matters. I've seen horses with all black feet who are extremely tender & need to be shoed, as well as those with white feet.
    01-09-2011, 06:52 AM
I have a mare with 3 black hooves and one white, I think I notice the white one more because it stands out, everyone does, they always look at it more and say "does she stand odd on that leg"?? She doesn't I think it just looks different lol xx
    01-09-2011, 02:58 PM
What gets me most about this myth is how do the believers explain appy or paint feet not falling apart(& often far from it)? If white feet were softer/weaker, striped feet must be just asking for trouble!

There are many factors that affect the strength & health of hooves. The only difference between black & white feet is the amount of pigment, and pigment has no powers of strength. As someone already pointed out, white hooves show any damage a lot easier than dark ones - that still suffer the same fates but don't show it as much. I too think this is why the story persists. is a great source for learning about hoof care.

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