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Cowgirls Boots 11-22-2012 11:59 AM

Surface cracks on hooves
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So these have recently popped up in my gelding who's never had hoof problems. (Besides having big pan feet) These are his front feet and they're just on the surface and do not bother him. Looks like to me that his hooves are a bit dry, but I've never had this issue with him before. The first picture is the worst of the two.

Left front-

Right front-
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churumbeque 11-22-2012 12:03 PM

Not sure where you live but yes they are dry and it could be a nutritional issue. There has been a drought so that may attribute to the problem depending on where you live

Cowgirls Boots 11-22-2012 12:06 PM

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Im in Ny. It's muddy and cold. =( I have hoof conditioner I could try putting on, maybe?
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PaintHorseMares 11-22-2012 12:09 PM

Those are tiny surface cracks and nothing to worry about. 2 of our mares get much larger surface cracks when there are large changes in humidity that cause no problems at all. I wouldn't put anything on them.
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churumbeque 11-22-2012 12:11 PM

Mud draws out the moisture

Cowgirls Boots 11-22-2012 12:13 PM

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Should I be worried though being its winter? I recently did switch there grain last month from something very high in fats and sugar to blue seals trotter, which they seem to be doing better on. I have hoof conditioner but not sure how much that will help. Around the cornet band is dry too and my mare has that as well.
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loosie 11-22-2012 06:10 PM

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Yes, agree with others, that superficial cracks like this aren't much of a worry to hoof integrity of themselves, but they are an indication of diet/nutritional problems, and can also come about if horses are in constantly waterlogged paddocks. is a great resource for diet/nutrition specifics and low starch & sugar(grain, molasses free, etc) diets are best.

I would not use 'conditioner' or any other topical hoof goops, but addition of flax or other source of omega3 in the diet is helpful.

Hard to tell from those angles, but it seems that the quarters are quite flared & heels may be quite high, which, due to the imbalance & extra pressure, cause the superficial cracks to become 'real' ones as they grow down. Ensuring the mechanics are got in order should avoid further cracking probs.

Cowgirls Boots 11-22-2012 06:40 PM

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Yes, I had a thread a few months back about his feet being panned. I had another farrier out who also said its normal (contrary to what everyone said on here) so yes his feet are flared and now on farrier #2 and even he said there's nothing we can do about his feet other them regular trimmings which, he's on a 6 week schedule. He also doesn't have a high heel at all. Pix are not good angles to see that, though.

So what can I add to the grain to help with the dry feet? My mare has dry feet as well and my new gelding could use something to help his feet out as well. It may be this new grain I switched them to but this new grain is alot better for them then what they were on.
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Cowgirls Boots 11-22-2012 06:51 PM

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Maybe triple crown omega max may help ?
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loosie 11-22-2012 07:39 PM

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Maybe. Do you need to feed him grain at all? If he does need extra energy, I would personally choose a low starch, high fibre feed rather than grain if possible. I don't know what he's getting, so wouldn't know what else he may need. I suggested for this, as along with extra omega3, there may be a number of nutrients he's deficient/imbalanced in.

If your farrier does a flat trim(on the ground surface) and if the feet get overgrown in between trims, particularly if the diet is not helping, there is not much that can be done about flares. But if the feet are trimmed in a balanced manner, with the quarters 'scooped' or relieved if/as necessary & the hooves trimmed adequately to prevent them overgrowing, they will be able to start growing down straight & well attached.

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