Maintaining Healthy Hooves for Life

Many have called the equine hoof a natural wonder. Not only does it bear the animal’s weight, this complex mechanism also absorbs shock, provides traction, is responsible for temperature regulation and allows for speed and versatility. Hooves are the horse’s foundation, yet instead of ranking uppermost in many owners’ priorities, they are often overlooked. Consistent and proper hoof care is critical, allowing the horse to remain sound, athletic and comfortable throughout his life. And it all begins right after the horse is born. Foals: Building a Foundation In the uterus, a foal’s hooves are covered in soft, flexible tissue that protects the mare’s reproductive system during the birthing process. This pale, feathery covering, called eponychium, can be rather alarming in appearance if the horse owner isn’t prepared for it, but within a couple of days, it dries up, hardens and leaves a more normal-looking hoof. A foal’s hooves are more…

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