Equine Hoof Problems And Diseases
...And How To Avoid Them!

Most Equine Hoof Problems can be avoided by proper hoof care and a good environment. Learn how to manage hoof diseases like thrush, cracks, laminitis and achieve good horse hoof health!

Unfortunately most horses have problems with their feet at some stage of their life. A lot of these problems are not recognized by their owners, vets or even farriers.

A healthy hoof though is the prerequisite for performance. Hoof health is too important for the horse to be disregarded.

Don't forget to always look at the environment, horse nutrition and general horse health issues when treating a foot problem. Usually the hoof issue is not the only problem in the horse.

Common Equine Hoof Problems

White Line Disease
Horse Thrush
Hoof Abscess
Hoof Crack

unhealthy hoof

These hoof pictures were taken in August 2010.

This horse loost the shoes frequently and was very lame without shoes. The hoof walls were thin and crumbly.

solar view of unhealty hoof

This is the same foot as above.

The whole is from a hoof abscess that had been opened by the vet. You can see lots of infection and hoof thrush.

The hoof capsule is instable and allows too much movement.

dorsal view of a healty hoof

This is the same foot nearly a year later (July 2011).

The horse was treated with the HPT method and was wrapped with Hoof Wear. He was rideable on soft ground for the whole time. He grew a thick hoof wall, infection is under control and the horse is on the way to healthy hooves...

Factors That Impact On Horse Hoof Health

  • Environment: The environment has a big impact on the foot of the horse.
  • If the horse is only standing in a soft, mucky field it is unlikely that he will grow a foot that is able to cope with a lot of strain. Indeed the horse will have more than likely problems with hoof infections and flare.

    A horse shoe also creates a particular environment for the hoof. It restricts the three dimensional distortion of the hoof capsule which is detrimental for the health of the foot.

  • Nutrition: Bad or imbalanced nutrition will impact on the quality of the hoof horn.
  • For example too much or too little selenium in the diet will have a big impact on horn quality. Too much selenium is very toxic, but too little will also cause significant problems.

  • General Health: Only a healthy immune system can deal effectively with infections.
  • Problems with thrush or white line disease can have their cause in a weak immune system or a back problem might cause the horse to drag his toes.

    Metabolic issues can lead to laminitis, sore feet or chronic founder.

You might also be interested in these pages...

Horse Health

Hoof Abscess

Horse Training

Return to Home Page from Hoof Problems

Anja Koch, DAEP
Applied Equine Podiatry
Caherciveen, Co. Kerry, Ireland
087-280 98 66