I'm very confused about my mare's hooves. She has cracked front hooves. She is a 3 year old Quarter Horse I just got about a month ago. I want to start working with her more, but her hooves are keeping us at a walk. About 2 weeks ago we got front shoes on her, and since then she has been lame. I don't know if it is because of the cracks or because it is her first time in shoes. My farrier recommended Hooflex, but then he called saying that Hooflex would just make it worse. He also recommended I start giving her Farrier's Formula Double Strength hoof supplement. I want to get more opinions other than my Farrier (who I don't know if I trust) before I give her something. Also does anyone know anything else that can help with the cracks?
Here is a picture of her hooves from a few months ago; she had just gotten her hooves trimmed. Right before she gets her hooves trimmed, the cracks look very bad. I can try to get a few pictures next time I see her.
I honestly believe that this mare would do well with a natural barefoot trimmer. It looks to me like she is bearing too much weight on her hoof walls and that is causing them to crack like that. Members like loosie would be able to get more technical about what is going wrong with them but I think you should find a different farrier if yours isn't able to address the base problem that is causing the cracks.
If loosie doesn't chime in on this thread, you might send a personal message to get an opinion.
A good trim is definitely the first line of defense, but as for a good hoof conditioner for cracks, Hoof Alive is the best stuff ever!! My horse recently had problems with his rear hooves cracking due to having access to grass pasture for the first time since I've had him. Something about the dew on the grass was creating just enough moisture to wreak havoc on his hooves. Both rear shoes came loose since his hoof started crumbling underneath him. I just started using Hoof Alive 3 weeks ago and am amazed at the difference. Not only are the hairline cracks gone, the bigger crevice cracks around the old nail holes have actually filled in. This stuff's not cheap, but it will definitely help build a stronger foot from the inside out.
We just bought a horse that has that.... it was worse then yours... so we brought her to the vet... he said they are called quarter cracks. And the best treatment is hooflex or motor oil.... you got put that on a lot... if they get worse theyll go up to the coronet which leads to lameness almost like our horses. If the quarter cracks get worse that can lead to staples which can get pretty costly
What it looks like to me is just cracks caused by poor (or lack of) farrier care.
That's what I think too. I'm currently trying to get in contact with a good barefoot farrier that was recommended by a friend. I also will try to find Hoof Alive somewhere in my area. Thanks so much for everyones help!
She definitely looks like she's lacking in nutrition and hoof care. Those feet are not balanced and look like they have suffered a long time with improper hoof care and nutrition.
If she were mine, first I'd find a new farrier. She should not be lame with new shoes on.
Next, I'd evaluate her diet. What is she currently eating and how much? Hay? Turnout? Any supplements? Mineral block?
To grow healthy feet, a horse needs a good base diet. Then you can add to that supplements to encourage hoof growth. I have had good luck with Source Focus HF. It has probiotics which aid in digestion, along with vitamins and minerals to support healthy foot growth.
If you look at the right hoof, notice the "dish" (concavity) on the inside at the top. That is more severe than my horse with the mild club hoof had because he was off-balance and needed trimmed differently.
With my horse it was the opposite hoof from the club that was becoming dished because it was trying to compensate for the club hoof. I have the marked pictures somewhere and will post them for comparison if I can find them.
So yes, I also feel this horse could benefit from a good Trimmer and diet does make all the difference in the world.
Once the diet has been re-evaluated/changed and a good trimmer is found, stick with that person, because it will take these hooves 9 months to a year to grow all of that out.
That doesn't mean the horse can't be ridden during that time, it just means new hoof growth doesn't happen quickly
Preventable issue with a good regular trimming schedule. Do you have a good farrier? Get one and get her trimmed. Too long in between can start causing problems. A good farrier will be able to get that cleaned up easily.
Here's Rusty's hooves in December, 2007. The lines were drawn by a profressional trimmer to indicate the hoof discrepancies. Note the "dish" on the inside of the right hoof, similar to the OP's horse, indicating he was not balanced and needed trimmed differently. I wasn't riding him during this time period due to my own nasty injuries, so things got away from me
These are May, 2009 because I can't find this year's pics and are at five weeks BEFORE the trimmer came that morning.
This horse also went thru a major diet change in 2007 as that was the year another of my horses was diagnosed with insulin resistance. As a result, I quit feeding grain and grain products to everyone. All they get are soy-free vit/min supplements, Omega-3 Horseshine, and a small bit of pelleted rice bran because they love the taste and therefore eat everything without issue.
Because of that left hoof being mildy clubbed, it is an on-going issue keeping him balanced. Toe cracks are always making an appearance but I also know how to trim so I keep up with him between the five-week visits from the Trimmer.
He is splay-footed because he is a Tennessee Walker - splay-footedness is a typical trait but some TWH's more than others. This Guy is now 15+ years and has been with me since he was 2-1/2 and barefoot most of his life. He has hooves tough as a goat, I have trail ridden him everywhere and he's never come up sore or lame.