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Michele16 06-15-2008 02:43 PM

hoof crack advice
My horse has a hairline crack in his back hoof. It stared at the bottom, and it is not deep but has traveled up 75% of his hoof. I have not ridden him since the day i saw it, which was the day it happened. We went for a 2hr trail ride, with lots of hills and tricky footing at parts,it is something we do often, and when i got back there is was. I have stopped any work and he is on mats in his stall at night, and grass field during the day to alleviate some pressure. I would like some advice about what a farrier would do to stop the crack and get him on the mend (i would ask my own but i fired him since i have been calling for over 3 weeks, finally got an appointment then he didnt show up and still cant get him, so i am looking for a new one) I just want to know what different approches one would take, and he has never had to wear shoes but i am open to anything to get him fixed up not matter how long or costly.

barefoothooves 06-15-2008 02:59 PM

First, how DEEP is the crack? If it's merely in the surface, it's called a "grass crack" and is more of a cosmetic issue than structural problem. It usually occurs when the hoof was super saturated and then dried over an over (lots of water crossings on a trail, lots of baths or standing in mud, etc) . Try to keep your horses' feet a little drier and it will go away as it grows out. DO NOT apply hoof oils (these can trap excess moisture in the tiny fissure, along with bacteria that can exaggerrate the prob) . As far as overall hoof healthy goes, keep on riding, won't hurt a thing.

If your horse is lame on that foot, get a farrier out ASAP , esp if it spreads visibly as the horse puts weight on that foot, or if blood starts to seep out as it works it way upwards of the hairline. But most likely, it's not that dramatic.

To check the depth (seriousness) of the crack, (since your horse is barefoot, should be easy to figure out.) Pick up his hoof. Look at the wall from the bottom and see if that crack is all the way through the thickness of the wall, or if you can even see the crack from the sole level.

If it doesn't go through the thickness of the wall, prognosis is great. If it DOES to through, it's still not a life and death issue. Typically, for a real crack that goes through the wall, it indicates that a trim is needed and the crack is usually tighter and shallower as it goes up, tapering into a surface crack.

A farrier/trimmer will trim the foot (excess length is likely what caused it begin with). Rasping a good bevel through the hoof wall will prevent cracks, and sometimes a notch is made where the crack is reaching ground level to take that weak section out of weight bearing to keep the crack from continuing, though that may not be necessary. Also, when finishing the hoof, making sure the wall is rasped to an even thickness all the way around, and the toes aren't "square" in appearance (squared breakovers lead to toe cracks, in my experience) .

If your horse doesn't usually have crack issues, it's likely a shallow one that can be fixed pretty easy by any farrier/trimmer.Shoes aren't necessary to stablize anything, as you may be told. I can grow out severe cracks barefoot and the horse stays in work quicker than I ever could with shoes. A better trim is usually all that's needed, and stay on that routine schedule (6 weeks).

Michele16 06-15-2008 06:13 PM

I looked at the bottom and if i didnt already know about it i wouldnt be able to tell. There is no sign of a crack from the bottom, it is very shallow on the side, just long which had me a little worried. I think then that it just needs a good trim, from a good farrier. Thanks for the infomation, i definitly do not want to have shoes on him unless i really need it.

barefoothooves 06-15-2008 07:30 PM

No problem! :D

Micki O 06-16-2008 10:16 AM


Originally Posted by barefoothooves
DO NOT apply hoof oils (these can trap excess moisture in the tiny fissure, along with bacteria that can exaggerrate the prob) .

I have a 25yr old TB with really dry hooves and have been putting Rain Maker on them once a day for the sand cracks. You're saying this is bad?

barefoothooves 06-16-2008 11:39 AM

Micki O,
Well, I don't know where you live, how your horse is kept, etc. But in general, sand/grass cracks are a result of excess moisture, fluctuating wet/dry (grass is dewey in the mornings but dry during the day, or frequently bathed horse put in stall with shavings, plus polished hooves that get washed off, maybe sanded) and shoes can help create them with the nail holes being the starting point.You DO mean true sand cracks, where only the surface is spliting, not the wall itself, right?
Hooves are meant to be dry more than wet. Once the little surface cracks form from excess moisture (dishwashing hands, anyone?) putting oils on there make it worse. Unlike our clean dish hands, hooves are dirty. Bacteria gets trapped by the oils and breeds, further weakening the surface of the hoof, more cracks means more oils applied...etc. Leaving them alone to dry "breathe" as much as possible and providing a good dry place to hang out most of the time or even applying a sealant to the bottom 2/3rd of the wall (when the hoof is clean and dry) can stop the cycle. Most horses do fine without the sealer if you stop applying the moisutrizers
Exercise, good nutrition and a dryer environment with regular trims does prevent a lot of problems.But right now if you live where it's been raining more than usual, you might see more of it anyways, regardless of shod/barefoot. TB's tend to have more anything that can go wrong with the hoof, they have thin walls, but that's not saying they can't have healthy feet!
Also, applying RainMaker (has petroleum) everyday is much more than would ever be necessary. About once a week is the normal application. It will certainly trap moisture in.

Micki O 06-16-2008 03:28 PM

Please read my new thread Hoof Talk. I figured I'd move so I wouldn't over shadow Michele16 and her concerns about her horse.

barefoothooves 06-16-2008 03:34 PM

Where is this thread???

Micki O 06-16-2008 03:49 PM

Its there now

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