Cracked hooves

This topic contains 16 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by riding for Christ riding for Christ 3 years, 1 month ago.

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  • BuckarooBleu Original Poster BuckarooBleu
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 3

    My mares hooves crack all the time, and it is a genetic thing. How to I keep them from cracking?
    She hasn’t been wearing shoes because she hasn’t been being used enough to need them. She does have pink feet, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with it, does it?


    “Horses are incredibly forgiving. They fill in places we’re not capable of filling ourselves.”

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Late to this party in your series of questions : )

    Combining the three posts that I have read, I am going to suggest that you start with consideration of her diet. Sounds like it might need to be redesigned. Chat with your vet, ask about a basic blood panel, see if you can find out what her deficiency or overload is and where it is coming from, or if it IS a deficiency or metabolic issue.

    Dry feet, skin, mouth, just about anything dry on a body is a common sign of deficiency.

    Be aware that if you DO modify her diet, it can take up to a couple months to show the beginnings of any change or improvement. Diet related issues often take forever to present any clear sign/symptom (hard to remember that a lameness or twitch or some odd reaction can be diet-related) and the recovery can be just as slow.

    Re-evaluate her diet.
    Patience : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Everything that Pheets said, and also have your vet and farrier work together.

    It is never the horse's fault

    lspieg lspieg
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 1

    I agree with all of the above, but a less expensive, more simple possible fix could just be finding the right hoof oil/moisturizer for your horse’s needs. My horse had a similar issue in that his feet were very dry and cracked, and he had very soft, tender heels. I was able to fix this simply by picking his feet, then applying Farrier’s Fix (which is moisturizing and hardening), as often as possible and I have noticed a world of change. He is no longer sore or cracking feet. Something similar to this might help you, I know Hoof Heal works well on dryness, and Hooflex magic cushion has provided him with relief from soreness in more intense cases, and even fixed a case of lameness.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Try either hoof maker hoof flex and any other oils for there feet maybe even ask your farrier what they think should happen to have good strong healthy hooves I use farriers formula it works as a long term treatment or other indigestible they work great for a ex race horse TB with once terrible feet but i would go strait to your farrier for help they are the experts

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Have you tried a mustang roll on the hooves?

    penelope14 penelope14
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4

    rub coconut oil on the hooves. it works!!!

    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 9

    Diet is surely important, and there are great supplements to help there such as the SmartHoof here at SmartPak. As Pheets said, it will take awhile for the affects to show, but it will occur.
    For immediate relief, start with a good natural barefoot trim (as GC said, a “mustang roll”, which is a particular shaping of the hoof wall with a rounded edge that mimics wild mustang hooves), then use a good conditioner as the others mentioned. I would avoid anything with petroleum based oils and go all natural such as E3 (or the coconut oil Penelope mentioned). You would do that every day, once a day for a week, then stretch it out as needed for maintenance. Make sure it is on clean, dry hooves.
    To maintain a good barefoot trim, you will need to check her for chips and irregularitys daily, using the fine side of your hoof rasp to “clean up” and maintain them. I have been doing our horses hooves for 10 years now without a single lameness issue or need for a farrier.
    PS The photo shows some “trail traction” on my Kiger’s hooves I have been experimenting with. I have another post about those.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by  KiRin_Kiger. Reason: Add photo

    "Ride fearlessly, but think carefully"

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    I am sorry but could you tell me what a mustang roll is please?

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    First true all white hooves are not soft. that be said the walls can be thin. I have over 45 yrs experience in all from ponies to Tbs and I am a judge and a trainer-instructor. I wil tell you my remedy- first on cracked walls I use vita hoof (stay away from any petro products as they dry out the hoof) on the bottom to toughen you can use venice turpentine and pine tar if you keep your horse without shoes. I have just pulled my 31 yo TBs front shoes I never thought he could do without, he is slightly slung under in the left from his race days he looks about 15 and acts 2 but he did get hurt in a snow melt in the small paddock of an acre and then he fell and injured the hock on the other side. So he is carrying 80 instead of 60% up front of his weight. He has 4 whites and 4 white feet.There is a trend of natural trimming now going on that is becoming quite popular. As I said VITA HOOF is a lotion base I like it on the bottom you can use that or anything else depending if you want to soften or harden the foot (the wall is most important. With my horse the feet were becoming cracked and the farrier could no longer land a nail without having an issue, so hence the decision to pull his fronts even if we had used a wedge on the left front for yrs-The old guy I have is a Man o War blood was a black typed staked winner a A show hunter and also ran gymkanna just for fun his breeder and race trainer both found ne yrs back after my mother bought him in 92, We lived through Andrew and went on to win every major award there was, I had already been a child prodigy riding against and with people like Margie Goldstein-Judged with Olympians and my resume is quite lengthy. I love to teach and do clinics and pass forward the knowledge I have learned-I hope my tip helps you-If not talk to your farrier. But I would order Vita hoof and have him trim the feet with a BEVELED EDGE! New thing and it works!

    Ride like your life depends on it.Because it matters.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 6

    I don’t believe cracked hooves are genetic. I agree with evaluating diet first and doing barefoot hoofcare with trimming and a mustang roll. An angled edge always seems to chip plus it interrupts the natural rollover of the hoof when the horse moves. How often is your horse trimmed? Most horses need a trim or good rasping every 5 weeks. Some can stretch to 6, but not really recommended. The hooves usually will start chipping after 6 weeks due to excess length. Same as our nails. All horses differ in how long they can go before chipping due to length, but excessive length creates many other problems too. Go to to learn about a mustang roll. Basically it is a rolled edge on the hoof wall like how a mustang naturally wears his hooves. I read about an equine hair mineral analysis that is supposed to be the best for diagnosing diet issues. Cost is $150 and is available through
    Hope this helps!

    sandalwoodranch sandalwoodranch
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I have had great luck with Biotin Plus by Paragon for my paint mare with white feet. Hers were terrible before and I couldnt leave her without shoes. Now she goes barefoot whenever she isnt competing. Works great!

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    What I usually tell my farrier is to rasp a 2 or 3 lines across the cracks. And I put a moisturizer on the hooves that contains avocado oils in it. I put it on top and bottom of the hoof

    Chris Chris
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 17

    You don’t mention whether these cracks are few in number, more severe and toe to coronet (more likely poor hoof form/trimming issue) OR relatively numerous and just an inch or so up from the ground (several causes). If your mare’s environment goes through continuous wet to dry cycles, this can trigger such cracking. I also see quite a bit of white line “disease” (aka WLD or seedy toe) in new clients, which can extend through the WL considerably past the toes and upward “behind” the walls. Basically this is WL (the vitally important laminar connection of coffin bone to hoof wall) being degraded by naturally-occurring microbes faster than than the hoof grows out. If your hoof pick easily dislodges the WL area, my advice is to remove whatever comes easily and then apply Kopertox (or any other thrush remedy containing copper napthenate as the active ingredient) up in there once or twice a week until the problem resolves. Putting a little in a syringe (needle off) or very small spray bottle works well, but still messy and it does stain!

    Speaking as a barefoot trimmer with 12 years of experience, I agree with other posters that this is not a genetic problem, nor due to your horse having white hooves. Addressing diet can be important and for sure, get your mare off any and all sweet feed. Also good to make sure her mineral balance is right (I LOVE Hiland’s Big Sky dry minerals and have seen great results with many health issues, not limited to feet). The other thing to watch is trimming interval, which may vary for the same horse depending on seasonal fluctuations in growth/wear. Once exfoliating sole has been removed, make sure you don’t allow the length of the hoof walls to get much above the sole. When walls form a ridge around the hoof, they are much more prone to flaring and cracking, especially on hard dry ground. Gently rounding or beveling the walls (the “mustang roll” suggested by others) tends to support a tight laminar connection, but can also result in contracting a hoof if carried excessively into the quarters.

    Just noticed how long ago this topic first appeared–how’s it going? Those cracks could potentially be history be now!

    Laura S
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Get your hay analyzed. You can submit a sample to equi analytical who specializes in equine analysis. Most hays are overloaded with iron, and very low in copper and zinc. For example to balance my hay I need to feed 1100mg zinc, 400mg copper, 400mg manganese, along with the basics of biotin, methionine, iodine, selenium, lysine, threonine and vitamin E. Most ration balancers also contain iron (which is never needed, and can be a problem). Also, the mineral supplements on the market may not be what you need to balance your hay in the proper ratio. There are equine nutritionists that can help you with this online for a very small fee. That way you can be sure to supply all the basics your horse needs to thrive. Good luck.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Laura S.
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