Horse Hoof Problems and Treatment

Many common horse hoof problems are caused by imbalance, which can affect the entire horse. For instance if a horse has a sore hock, it may be because the medial/lateral balance of the hoof is off balance. If your horse has lost his get up and go, then he may have sore feet.

Frequently, behaviour problems are brought on due to the discomfort of living with pain, so always consider this when your horse is being especially difficult to manage.Horse Hoof Problems

Horse Hoof Problems – Abscess

An abscess in the hoof is usually characterised by the sudden onset of severe lameness. Sometimes, the horse will not put any weight on the affected hoof at all. The area around the abscess will be sensitive. You may notice swelling in the lower leg and an increased digital pulse.

A vet or farrier will be able to pare away the hoof to identify and drain the abscess, as well as confirm a diagnosis. If an abscess is left untreated, it can erupt through the sole or at the coronary band.

Once your vet finds and drains the abscess, it is important to keep the area clean in order to avoid reinfection. Soak the hoof in a of Epsom salt solution to draw out any remaining infection. Keep the hoof bandaged until it heals. In addition, your vet may recommend an anti-inflammatory for pain management.

Horse Hoof Problems – Bruises

A bruised hoof can cause varying degrees of lameness. Some horses will only be affected when walking on uneven or rocky surfaces, while others can be constantly lame. A sole bruise may leave a visible mark, but lameness or sensitivity generally occurs before the bruise appears.

To treat your horse for bruising, have him stand with the injured hoof in a bucket of ice water to prevent the rapid blood flow. In severe cases, a vet may recommend an anti-inflammatory medication.

Horse Hoof Problems – Cracks

Hoof CrackA crack in the hoof wall that begins at the coronary band and occurs on the side of the hoof is called a quarter crack. Toe cracks also occur, yet they are not as common.

Such cracks generally start on the inside of the hoof, do not become obvious until reaches the hoof wall surface. Cracks are not horse hoof problems that will always cause the horse to be lame. However, if the area becomes infected, the horse may experience severe pain. Check for cracking as part of your daily horse care regimen.

If the hoof does become infected, the veterinarian will open up the crack, disinfect the area and remove the dead tissue. Sometimes, a veterinarian can repair cracks with wire lacing, staples or screws. Usually, the horse will require special shoeing in order to relieve the pressure as the crack heals. Most likely, the vet will cover the crack with an acrylic patch for reinforcement.

Horse hoof care is important. Keep your horse’s hooves clean, maintain your pastures and stalls and keep your horse on a regular healthcare schedule to prevent horse hoof problems. If you suspect your horse is suffering from hoof problems contact your farrier or veterinarian for further information.


  1. You have so much information. I love to read your posts about anything horse.
    Complete Horse Care is proving to be a one stop shop for everything horse. Fantastic site. I have lots of problems with a new horses hooves and was pleased to see your post on the subject.

    • Hi Mandy,
      Thanks for the great comments. I love horses so very much and it is important for me to share as much knowledge with people as I can. I believe we can always learn more.
      Glad you got some good value out of the horses hooves article.
      If you have any other problems that you would like an answer to, let me know and I will see how I can help. It might also help another person who has the same problem.

      Cheers and happy horse riding :)


Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing