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TYPES OF HOOF CRACKS Cracks are generally named for their location, most commonly toe,


heel, bar and quarter cracks. Horizontal cracks will most likely be the result of an injury, most


T is quarter crack was treated with a hand- made bar shoe and trimming to relieve the pressure below the crack. In this case, the crack was leſt open— no composites or wire bridges were used.


likely to the coronary band, or indicate the exit point of an abscess. Exit points of abscesses are sometimes called “blow outs.” Horizontal cracks will grow out with regular trimming, and the foot should need no more than normal maintenance. As the horizontal crack reaches the edge of the hoof that contacts the ground, there is a chance the hoof will chip off . Generally, this does not cause a major problem. If you are concerned, and it looks as though the structure of the hoof will be compromised, your farrier may be able to reinforce the hoof with a shoe or synthetic patch material. Vertical cracks may have diff erent causes. Sand cracks are usually


caused by an injury to the coronet band, either by a direct blow or from repeated concussion from the ground up, caused by imbalanced trimming or hoof growth. Grass cracks or quarter cracks can appear when the hoof is leſt untrimmed. T ese cracks extend upwards and are caused by excess pressure placed on the unsupported free edge of the hoof wall. Severe injury to the hoof wall or coronet band, such as trauma from


a hard kick from another horse, or the horse hit ing a hard object, such as when they kick a wall, can cause a hoof crack that extends downwards rather than up from the free edge. A hard hit can actually shat er the hoof wall. While hard footing may not be an issue with horses lightly ridden


who spend most of their time on pasture, working horses—those ridden or driven on hard surface—may be prone to hoof cracks. Con-


HOW OUR FACEBOOK FANS COPE WITH HOOF CRACKS When it comes to hoof cracks, we’ll do


almost anything to help our horses. While the use of topical dressings or supplements may be debatable for some, we learned there are a lot of you that swear by them, along with shoes or regular barefoot trims. Some of the remedies are off the tack shop shelves, some are from the kitchen cup- board and some...well...might be under the grass in your backyard. Here’s a sampling of how Trail Blazer Facebook fans have coped with hoof cracks: Many of you mentioned oils, lotions or


creams purchased at your local tack shop. T ese preparations seem by far the most popular. Maybe it’s really hope-in-a-jar for horses, but fans report they’ve had some great successes with these products. T e contents of our fans’ kitchen cup-


boards are being used for more than their favorite recipes. Oils such as olive oil, lin-


seed and peanut are popular to moisturize and seal hooves, and cooking spray appar- ently does more than prevent cupcakes from sticking to the pan. Readers go “old school” with home


remedies that Rarey or Horace Hayes may have heard of. Many have used timeless and inexpensive solutions like aloe vera, pine tar, bacon grease and turpentine, lanolin and petroleum jelly. Many of you report supplementing with


biotin. Most agree, however, that good nu- trition consisting of grass and good-quality hay is essential to healthy, crack-free hooves. T e most unusual remedy? Fermented


earth worms. Dig up a can of worms, cover the can and leave it in the sun for several days. Apply the resulting goo to the hooves, presumably aſt er applying a clip to your nose. Ewwww...


“Nutritional defi ciencies may result in many fi ne cracks on the hoof. If nutritional defi ciencies are the problem, all four feet will be involved.”


24 | June 2012 • WWW.TRAILBLAZERMAGAZINE.US


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