Hooves play an essential role in the way your horse performs. That’s why hoof growth in horses must be a crucial topic of discussion for horse owners. This guide can help you learn how to improve your horse’s hoof health through proper care and whole body vibration.
The Importance of Healthy Hooves
When it comes to horse performance, many horse owners make the mistake of focusing on factors such as muscle growth and stamina. They neglect seemingly minor issues like a horse’s hoof health.
Why is healthy hoof growth in horses so important?
- Hooves are a horse’s foundation. Healthy and strong hooves help a horse maintain its stability. They are critical to a horse being able to maintain its balance.
- Hooves act as shock absorbers. The impact of a horse’s movement creates a lot of shock waves that would otherwise lead to the bones being damaged. Unhealthy hooves, therefore, increase the risk of leg, spine, and other types of body injuries.
- Hooves impact mobility. Horses belong to a group of mammals called ungulates. These support their body weight on the tips of their toes, making hoof health an essential aspect of a horse’s mobility.
As you can see, healthy hooves are an essential aspect of overall horse health. Paying close attention to hoof growth in your horses should be a priority.
Hoof Care Tips
Hoof growth and health in horses were designed to be maintained by wear and tear as the horse’s hooves are worn down by the ground. In a domestic setting, your horses will require your help in maintaining healthy hooves. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your horse has healthy hooves and avoid hoof problems:
Feed with Feet in Mind
A balanced diet plays a huge role in helping maintain hoof health. Green pasture is the most ideal meal to promote hoof health, as it provides a good balance of nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. Since most horse owners can’t pasture-feed their horses full-time, supplements like amino acids and biotin are recommended for hoof nutrition.
Invest Time and Resources in Proper Exercise
The amount and quality of exercise a horse gets also affects hoof growth. Exercising increases blood flow to the extremities and inner parts of your horse’s feet. As a result, the hoof capsule is stimulated and the hoof grows faster. This, besides helping your horse develop its muscles and stamina, is another reason to invest in a horse exerciser.
Get Regular Farrier Care
One of the most important aspects of taking care of your horse’s hooves is farrier care. A farrier is a person who specializes in equine hoof care. Being a hybrid blacksmith/veterinarian, they help with trimming and balancing horses’ hooves, shoeing, cleaning, and much more. On average, a horse needs farrier care every 4-6 weeks. However, not all horses are the same, so you must study your horse’s hoof growth rate.
Maintain Proper Hoof Hygiene
Make it a habit to regularly check your horse’s hooves to ensure they’re not packed with stones, mud, or other debris. This helps keep the frog healthy and mitigates the chances of problems such as thrush and white line disease, among others. You also need to be on the lookout for cracked hoof walls, as these could lead to more serious hoof problems down the road.
How Whole Body Vibration Promotes Hoof Growth in Horses
Another innovative way to ensure healthy hoof growth in horses is to use whole-body vibration (WBV). Whole-body vibration therapy involves standing your horse on a WBV platform. The platform delivers vibrations of varying magnitude (up and down motion) and frequency (cycles per second).
In a study on WBV, horses that underwent whole-body vibration 30 minutes per day, twice a day, five days a week, for 60 days experienced a significant increase in hoof growth rates. A couple of reasons for this include:
- WBV boosts metabolism.
- WBV improves blood flow.
Both are essential to improved hoof growth and enhancing hoof quality.
Hoof Growth in Horses – Be Proactive About It
As a horse owner, you must be proactive about your horse’s overall health—including its hoof health. Use the tips above to take care of your horse’s hooves. If you need a horse exerciser or whole-body vibration plates, visit our shop and pick the one that suits you best. Alternatively, give us a call at (831) 319-2704 and we’ll be happy to help.