Horse hooves are important. Any horse owner knows that, but how important is hoof care? So important that if hooves are neglected for too long, there’s simply no saving the horse and it will have to be humanely euthanized.
To put a finer point on it, proper horse hoof care is a matter of life and death.
The Best Care is Preventative
The difficulty is that, as with all other aspects of horse care, major problems in hoof care begin as minor ones. Conditions that may only start out as minor irritations like brittle hoofs or hard frogs can quickly turn into costly (and painful) conditions like cracked hooves if not treated immediately. To prevent cracking and splitting, use a hoof ointment like W.F. Valentine’s Hoof Ointment that contains paraffin and other ingredients to make the hoof hard enough to withstand various terrains while being flexible enough to not split under pressure.
Hoof Care Schedule
The best farriers recommend adding hoof care to daily maintenance, which makes sense because, well, hooves have an entire horse standing on them every day: that’s a lot to endure. Hooves undergo daily stress and are simultaneously subjected to all the conditions of the outdoors, including pests, gravel, and strain. The best way to ensure that a hoof ointment is effective is to paint the entire hoof with hoof ointment using a stiff brush about 3-4 times per week.
If you think the hoof is severely dry and in danger of splitting and you’d like faster results, it’s safe to use a hoof ointment daily. The most important thing to remember is that hoof care isn’t optional: it’s a mandatory practice for horse owners who want to continue having healthy horses and avoid expensive vet bills. A simple can of hoof ointment can save thousands of dollars down the road, so integrate daily maintenance now and make it a habit.