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cracking up?


ARE YOUR HORSE’S HOOVES BY KATHERINE BLOCKSDORF Hoof cracks may manifest


themselves in a number of diff erent ways. T ey can originate from the


top of the hoof or from the bot om up. Cracks can be horizontal, vertical or the hoof may chip where it contacts the ground. A crack may be fi ne, about the width of a pencil line, or very wide with the underlying structures of the hoof exposed. Hoof walls are made of the same protein that makes our own fi ngernails and hair. T e vertical layering of the hoof material means the hoof generally has suffi cient strength to withstand normal wear and tear. On average, the hoof grows out at the rate of about one inch per month. T is varies with season—hooves’ season—hooves grow slower in cold weather. Furthermore, the horse’s diet, age and workload will aff ect the growth rate. While many people think cracks and chips are a sign of neglect, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, despite your best eff orts, cracks and chips do occur. Here’s what really causes hoof cracks and what you can do to help your horse grow healthy, strong hooves that are crack- and chip-resistant.


continued page 24 22 | June 2012 • WWW.TRAILBLAZERMAGAZINE.US


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