18 December 2009

No Foot, No Horse

One of the most ignored horse management practices is proper foot care. Proper foot care can also prevent lameness the reduces your horse's usefulness. Practice making foot care a regular part of your horse care routine.
The average owner is capable of most foot care, but seek the help of a professional for corrective shoeing, and disease treatment and control. That being said, know that not all farriers are created equal. Your horse will appreciate your efforts in seeking out a horseshoer that understands the biomechanics of his body. Not understanding how the horse "works" can cause lameness and may even cause permanent impairment.

Over the years, I have seen highly skilled farriers and some that may have found old tools and thought that made a new career for them. The skilled and often gifted farriers continue their education and have a real love for their chosen career path. Finding someone like that doesn't mean that you should ignore your own education. You should learn to evaluate and assess your horse's feet. Teach yourself about the quality, shape, size and overall condition and health of the foot, your horse will appreciate your effort.

Watching horses is part of your educational process. How does your horse stand when he is resting? How does your horse look while grazing? Does your horse always extend the same leg when grazing? If so, this may indicate an imbalance. How does your horse move at all gaits with no rider? These are all great points to start knowing more about your horse than anyone else does, and it is a great place to start in the creation of a great team.

Additional Tips:

Your horse should have his feet trimmed and shod on average every six to eight weeks. When you look at your horse's healthy feet, it is normal for the front and back feet to have a different shape.

Hoof dressings are not all for the same type of conditions. Be sure you are buying products that are suitable to both your horse's hoof and the surrounding ground conditions.

American Farriers Association
Leg Image
Foot Image

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