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Cracked Hooves

10259 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  mls
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.



thank you!
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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.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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!
 

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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.
 

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I agree with good diet and a good trim.

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:)
 

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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.
 

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ACK! had this typed and got booted :-(

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.

Hope all this information from everyone helps:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Next, I'd evaluate her diet. What is she currently eating and how much? Hay? Turnout? Any supplements? Mineral block?
Right now she is on 24/7 turnout on grass, and I've currently started her on grain. Tomorrow I will start feeding her Farriers Double Strength Formula. I don't think that her pasture has a mineral block. I could put one in her stall though.

I know that she never was fed grain, supplements, or mineral blocks. I know that her previous owner didn't really ride her once she was trained and I'm guessing that she got her hooves trimmed once every 2 months? I think it needs to be sooner than 2 months, because her hooves seem to grow pretty fast. She has the same farrier the last year or so (before I got her) but I'm going to change farriers this week. I'm going out to see her tomorrow, and I'll post pictures of how her hooves are.

I really want to fix her hooves, she is such a sweet horse! I don't want her to be sore. :sad:
 

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"Yes" to all the comments on a better and more frequent trim, diet review to include supplements (biotin is very good for hooves) and "No" to paint on hoof creams/pastes/oils that are applied to the outer wall which is old growth and no longer can be "mended". The cracks will go away when the grow out, which will happen with good, regular trimming. You can't seal or moisturize a crack away or prevent it from increasing that way. Actually, some of these products can seal the hoof and cause further problems. However, there are creams that are applied to the coronary band only that may do some benefit, though I sometimes wonder how much is the cream and how much is the massaging of the band that helps. Either way, you may see benefits with that kind of product.

And yes, two months is a very long time to go between trims for most horses. Anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks is average, depending on the horse and terrain (paddock and riding).
 

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Hi,

Agree mostly with what others have said. We need more pics to get much of an idea, but it's obvious the horse has been suffering ongoing lami for some time & the walls(esp evident inside quarter of white one) are disconnected from a long way up. The cracks are a symptom of this, as well as(based on this pic being taken just after a trim) poor trimming.

First & foremost, if she's been lame since she was shod, I'd get the shoes off her pronto - preferably last week:-(. It is most likely farrier error that has caused it, so have a word to your farrier & ask him what he thinks may have caused it. Might be a genuine accident, such as a nail ***** or some such, or it may be he's one of those who pares sole &/or frog or some such, in which case it's an error of method & I'd definitely look elsewhere.

Secondly, as others have said, good diet & nutrition are vital, and if this horse has been suffering lami on grass alone, I'd be restricting her grazing - muzzle her or keep her on a bare lot, eaten down area, 'paddock paradise' track, and feed her hay. I would also definitely avoid feeding grain, molasses or other sugary/starchy 'junk food'. Whether this 'farriers formula' stuff is right for her or not, she will also be lacking & imbalanced in a range of nutrients, so yes, a *good quality* complete supplement or grain-free 'ration balancer' will be good for her. They don't actually get much out of a mineral block(& they're often bound together with molasses, so bad news), and a good supp should give her what's required.

Thirdly, educate yourself as much as you can on the principles & factors which effect feet. Farriery is but one small part of it and most of the responsibility is down to you. But if you don't know what comprises a good trim, then you'll need to learn in order to gauge the proficiency or otherwise of your 'expert' of choice too. hoofrehab.com barehoofcare.com & safergrass.org are some good resources to begin with.

I would not be getting this horse shod at least until her hooves have become healthy & strong. Or for that matter, at least until she is mature, so her feet have a chance to develop fully before they're restricted. I'm not against shoes in any situation, but I believe they are generally unhelpful at best when applied to sick feet. Hoof boots or such are generally better alternative when she requires extra protection for her feet.

I wouldn't bother paining anything onto her feet, as someone already mentioned, it's pretty much useless, except perhaps to make her feet look a bit nicer.
 

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Tomorrow I will start feeding her Farriers Double Strength Formula. I don't think that her pasture has a mineral block. I could put one in her stall though.
I don't believe the horse really needs to be on grain but rather a top-notch vitamin/mineral supplement.

Also, I doubt anyone bothered to tell you the guaranteed analysis of the Farrier's Double Strength formula when they recommended it, so here's the link.

Farrier's Formula Double Strength Nutrition Information

Please note that it is 25% protein! Someone on another forum commented their horse became really hot when they started feeding this. They didn't look up the G/A either.

Feeding her grain, stalling her, adding something with 25% protein is not a good combo.

I get fantastic hoof and coat results just by feeding 1/2 cup daily of Omega-3 Horseshine and it's probably cheaper on the long term than Farrier's Formula. It takes longer to see results, I'm sure, but those hooves aren't going to grow completely out much faster than nine months anyway.

Lots of terrific advice regarding good diet, hoof care (and I sure do agree with loosie to keep her shoeless until she matures and therefore so do those hooves).
 

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Barefoot, she should be trimmed every 4-6 weeks. With shoes, you generally need her trimmed and re-set or reshod every 5-6 weeks. 8 weeks is too long to wait between farrier visits.

A couple of my horses I trim every 3 weeks, but most are every 4 weeks. My two shod horses get done every 5 weeks during the spring/summer and every 6 weeks from late fall through winter (their feet slow down in growth).
 

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Please note that it is 25% protein! Someone on another forum commented their horse became really hot when they started feeding this. They didn't look up the G/A either.

Feeding her grain, stalling her, adding something with 25% protein is not a good combo.
It's 25% protein, but you're only feeding 1-2 oz a day. That's not enough protein to make any dietary difference. Also, protein does NOT cause a horse to be hyper. If a horse has an attitude change due to a supplement or feed, it's generally due to either excess sugar/starch/calories or a feed sensitivity. Some horses with sensitivities to Alfalfa or Soy can become "hot" when given feeds or supplements that contain those ingredients. I have a horse with a severe grain sensitivity who cannot have any feed or supplements that contain any amount of corn, oats, or barley. Even just a handful of plain oats in his food everyday makes him about to jump out of his skin, lol.

Protein does not cause a horse to be hyper. It's the calories, sugar/starch, or an allergy/sensitivity that causes a horse to become hyper or change their attitude.
 

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If a horse has an attitude change due to a supplement or feed, it's generally due to either excess sugar/starch/calories or a feed sensitivity.
Yes. Think of it in relation to folks who can drink a soda or cup of coffee before bed without any problems sleeping. Just because one horse reacts to one thing, doesn't mean every horse will.

As far as external applications - our farrier said standing in mud when it's hot and dry out - it good. Adds some moisture the air and ground are sucking out.
 
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