An Equine Podiatrist looks at the whole horse -why??

As an Equine Podiatrist we look at all the elements of the horses lifestyle that might impact on how healthy their hooves are.  We call this a ‘whole horse’ approach.

When you think about it there are a surprising amount of things that can show up in the feet – here’s a few..

Whole horse - Diagram of what affects a horses hoof

A schematic of the ‘whole horse’ factors affect the hoof

Diet.  Is the diet supporting the horse – are they too fat/too thin? are they growing good quality hoof horn?   Particularly are the vitamins and minerals balanced..? is there too much molases or sugar…? are they spending a large part of the day or night not eating anything..? all of these things might cause problems for the hoof. (Read more)

The workload/exercise – are the feet up to the job?  Are they being worn down too quickly, and are any parts of the hoof getting overused (bruised/inflammed) or underused (weak/atrophied)

Infections -thrush/white line disease and seedy toe are so common we take them as read… but they are all suppressing the health of the hoof and can make the horse uncomfortable and change their way of going. (Read more)

Grazing Livery – are they stabled/yarded/kept at grass?  Winter is often a juggling act between getting enough turnout and not having them living in a mud bath/poaching the paddock.  Are their feet getting waterlogged either in damp fields or on damp bedding in the stable?

Working surfaces.  What surfaces is the horse expected to work on & do they live on a similar surface during the day?   For a great many of us, we keep our horses on soft paddocks but then hack them on out on hard surfaces.. this can mean that their feet don’t get the chance to  become conditioned.

Does the whole story set the conditions for barefoot sucess, or is there more that you can do to help your horse be comfortable?  (Read here) about horse digestion and hoof design….

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2 Responses so far.

  1. […] your horse’s metabolism is doing well/not coping.  Spring grazing or changes in  diet or environment can often cause issues, so be extra vigilant over these times….  So what should you check […]

  2. […] I do as a trimmer is pretty minor, its what you owners do to improve hoof health by means of diet, environment and work that matters […]

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