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Nakiska 12-28-2012 03:53 PM

Quarter cracks, what's causing them?
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Hi all,

I'm new here to this form and wanted to get some advice/opinions.

Due our remote location and lack of reliable farriers in our area, I have been doing all my own trimming for the last 5 years with no issues what so ever. All our horses have been successfully barefoot and ridden for the last 5 years. :)

This horse in question is an 8 year old paint mare, she's always had terrible feet, very flat, flared, weak shelly hoof walls, prone to peeling, chips and cracks when they grow out too long. Even still, she's never taken a lame step and I have had great success with trimming her myself...until this last year.

She's developed these cracks in her hoof wall that are rather superficial, the pictures make them look worse, actually...until they grow out to the bottom of the hoof, they split a little as you see and I've been able to usually trim most of that off. Each week I drip some iodine down each crack.

The cracks on the hoof wall are not deep at all and appear very superficial. They appeared after a long hard winter last year when her feet got a bit too long and I've not been able to get them to go away or even grow out since. We rode her successfully all last summer, she's not lame, no heat, doesn't seem to have any restricted movement as a result, they just look unsightly.

Is this caused from a balance issue? Any recommendations. I was going to go out and do a trim today, but thought I'd rather see if I can get some advice first, THEN go out and do some filing.

I tried to get pic's best I could...any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


verona1016 12-28-2012 04:35 PM

I'm not a trimmer, so take this with a grain of salt, but I'm thinking there are two things that would help this horse.

First would be to trim more often. There's a lot of growth there, and the bars are folding over. Doing little and often would probably help by removing the excess wall before it has a chance to flare outward and crack.

Second would be to consider adding a biotin supplement. Not all horses benefit from added biotin, but the ones that do usually have weak, shelly hooves just as you described. If you decide to give it a try, keep in mind that you should supplement at least 20 mg/day and it won't improve the horn that's already there- it'll only improve new growth, so it will take several months to see a difference. If you do see a difference, you should plan on continuing the supplement indefinitely; when you take the supplement away the new hoof growth reverts back to how it was before. Some more info on biotin: Biotin Basics: News: Kentucky Equine Research

Elizabeth Bowers 12-28-2012 04:51 PM

You should really look into the yahoo group for barefoot horse care, they're really helpful, and offer lots of great advice. They are my go to group when i'm stuck! :-) Best of luck!

Iseul 12-28-2012 05:13 PM

Ill be back with some edits of your photos with some lines. Bars are overgrown, feet are flared, hoof is overall overgrown, etc. Id say for sure though that her feet are going to need trimmed more often than what you're doing. In my opinion, the reason for the quarter cracks is because her feet are flared and overgrown.
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Nakiska 12-28-2012 05:29 PM

Wow! Okay, from what you all are saying is that I'm not taking enough off overall. Because I've been running a file over her feet each week, quickly and not taking much off but keeping her "cleaned up." I missed last week, so these pic's are 2 weeks untouched. I shoot for once a month to try and do a more thorough trim where I trim down the bars, take down some heel if needed and back up the toe etc...

Her flat foot is very decieving to me and I feel she just doesn't have much to work with, therefore I've always been a bit conservative with her.

Sounds like I need to get a little more "Brave"

Looking forward to the edited pictures.



KellyS 12-28-2012 05:43 PM

Her feet are very long. There should be very little if any hoof wall standing above the sole. If you are rasping, rasp off the wall (this may take a bit of work) until it is almost flush with the sole and role the edges a bit. A natural hoof care practitioner will help you and even give you tips on doing it yourself. Good luck!

KellyS 12-28-2012 05:45 PM

...sorry forgot this part. The quarter cracks will go away when trimmed correctly. When standing on a solid surface (like cement) a properly trimmed foot will touch at the toe and heel with a VERY slight rise in the quarters that do not touch. This is how nature intended. Look up some wild horse hoof pictures to see. Also, check out Pete Ramey hoof care laminitis founder horse navicular disease thrush equine foot development farrier for help. You will be amazed at the results.

Iseul 12-28-2012 08:01 PM

Kelly, I have never heard that the quarters are suppose to be slightly dished. Ever.
A balanced foot has the wall as a level plane, not different heights here and there.
Also..when I get home around 10 Ill get the pictures done for ya. (:
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princessfluffybritches 12-29-2012 11:04 AM

I think quarter cracks are caused by imbalance. I don't know if it's just the picture, but those vertical lines don't follow the angle of her pastern (?). Her foot is way way too long. With an overgrown foot like that, there is no laminae at the bottom to hold that hoof together. The pressure on the outer hoof wall is more than the pressure on the inner wall, and causes the cracks. Shorten up the foot and do a nice roll around the bottom so the whole wall can share the weight, not just the outside. And like Verona said, biotin or a hoof supplement can help alot, once the good hoof grows all the way down which can take up to a year.

amberly 12-29-2012 11:38 AM

I don't know for sure, but I think it might be rocks or something that causes that. Maybe a weak spot in the hoof, the hoof is too lon. I don't know for sure though.

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