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The Hoof Report


									                        Keep Your Horse Healthy
                             The Hoof Report

                                 Courtesy of Derek Pryde

                            You have master resale rights to this report.

                                 You may sell it or give it away as is.

                                    You may not change the contents
                                       or add to them in any way

                                             *Disclaimer of Liability*

                          This report is for informational purposes only. The author of the
                           report does not claim to be a veterinarian, blacksmith or health
                            care provider. Therefore they disclaim any responsibility and
                             shall not be liable for any damages, claims, liabilities, costs
                                 or obligations including any direct, indirect, special,
                          incidental or consequential damages whatsoever and howsoever
                                       caused by the information in this report.

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                 CONTENTS :

                 1.) Pick Out Your Horse's Feet.
                 --- The initial check.
                 --- What to check for.
                 --- If your horse has shoes.
                 --- The best times to check.

                 2.) Nutrition and Healthy Hooves.
                 --- The simple way.
                 --- Horses that don't have free range.
                 --- Horses that work hard.
                 --- Consistent exercise.

                 3.) Check for Signs of Cracks.
                 --- Superficial or hairline cracks.
                 --- More serious crack.
                 --- What damage can it do?
                 --- Treatment and prevention.

                 4.) Puncture Wounds What Can They Hurt?
                 --- What damage they can do?

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                 --- What not to do if something is stuck.
                 --- Signs of an abscess.
                 --- When to call your vet.

                 5.) Horses With Shoes.
                 --- When to check their shoes.
                 --- How often will they need shod?
                 --- What to look for?

                 --- Extra things you should know.

                 6.) Brief Overview of Diseases of the Hoof.
                 --- Thrush.
                 --- Laminitis.
                 --- Founder.
                 --- White Line Disease.
                 --- Navicular Syndrome.
                 --- Equine Scratches

                 7.) Tips to Help Ensure Healthy Hooves
                 --- Preventing Laminitis
                 --- Preventing Thrush
                 --- For Hauling
                 --- Supplements for Healthy Hooves.

                 8.) In Closing.
                 --- Important Note.
                 --- Disclaimer.


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                 1.) Pick Out Your Horse's Feet.

                  I am sure you may have heard the old hoof, no
                 horse! Well, it's one of the truest statements ever made!

                 We want our horse's hooves to be as healthy as the rest of the
                 horse, actually more so. So, lets get started!

                 First and foremost:
                 Pick out your horse's feet every day.

                 This very simple task will help you ensure that your horse has
                 healthy, disease free hooves for most of his life. It may be a
                 simple thing and you may not think it will make a big difference,
                 but it may be the single most important thing you can do for the
                 well being of your horse.

                 First we will do an initial check of the overall appearance
                 of the outer hoof. If you would like to see some pictures
                 of healthy horse hooves go to: and do
                 search for "healthy horse hooves" and you will be able to
                 get a good idea of what you are looking for in healthy hooves.

                 --You will want to check for cracks, abscesses and punctures.

                 --Remove any stones or small objects that may become lodged in
                 the horse's feet. Don't forget to check the condition of the
                 horse's frog and soles, are they too hard or feel mushy?

                 -- If they are too hard they will need more moisture or a good

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                 -- If they are mushy your horse may have thrush.

                 If you shoe your horse make sure you check for loose shoes,
                 sprung shoes, missing nails and pebbles or debris between the
                 shoe and the hoof.

                 **Note: We will address all of these issues further as we dig
                 deeper into this report.**

                 Here is a quick overview of the best times to check your
                 horse's hooves.

                 ---Morning Check----
                 Each morning, remove manure, and check for signs of thrush,
                 don't forget to check for signs of heat and pulse. If you do
                 this every day, twice a day and after riding or exercise, you
                 will have come a long way to improving your horses condition
                 and overall health.

                 ---Evening Check---
                 When you bring your horse in at night it is important to pick
                 your horses feet again! I know it may sound like an unnecessary
                 task, but it is important. Check again for lodged stones,
                 injuries or bruising that may have happened during the day.

                 ---Before and After Riding or Exercise Check---
                 Yes, I know you already did this today, but it never hurts to
                 check again. You don't want to run the risk of causing soreness
                 or injury to your horse because they have a piece of debris
                 lodged in their hoof. Plus your horse will be more comfortable
                 and compliant if they are not in pain. Which means that you will
                 both have a more enjoyable experience.

                 2.) How Nutrition Plays A Part In Healthy Hooves

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                 Proper nutrition helps your horse grow the best possible hooves.
                 Just like people, some horses naturally have better hooves than
                 others. Your horse may have great feet but if he doesn't the
                 following information may help:

                 Grass and hay is the simple way.

                 Free choice grass-hay diet is as simple as it gets but the most
                 beneficial for the horse. Horses that are moderately worked and
                 exercised can get all their energy needs from free choice
                 pasture or a good quality hay.

                 Many nutrients are found in the 'free range' choice, such as
                 zinc, sulphur, copper, phosphorus, calcium and more. If your
                 horse has free range access the horse will get all the nutrients
                 it needs to grow healthy strong hooves.

                 Many horses do not have free range access and if this is the
                 case with your horse, you may want to supplement the horses'
                 feed with biotin. It contains all the nutrients your horse needs
                 to grow strong healthy hooves. Most horses will benefit from
                 this supplement. It is important to use this supplement for at
                 least six months to a year. Because that is how long it will
                 take for you to be able to see any of the benefits in new hoof

                 Horses that work hard, such as endurance racing, sports, etc.
                 may need a higher level of energy. You may want to fine tune his
                 diet with more protein and fiber. With any change in feed rations,
                 it should be gradual, the rule of thumb is a 10% exchange over
                 4-7 weeks. Ask your veterinarian what the best feeding program
                 for your horse's nutritional needs.

                 Give your horse consistent exercise. Work on good surfaces,
                 especially at walk and trot, which increases circulation to your
                 horse's hooves and promotes health and growth.

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                 3.) Check for Signs of Cracks

                 Hoof cracks are a common problem in horse's hooves.
                 Less severe are hairline cracks which extend from the
                 ground up toward the horse's coronet band and are usually
                 caused by irregular or no trimming also excessive dryness
                 of the hoof.

                 More serious cracks. What to look for.

                 More serous are cracks starting at the coronary band and
                 continuing downward. They may be due to an injury of the hoof
                 forming tissue of the coronary band itself. If you notice a
                 crack in your horse's hoof, call your farrier and describe it's
                 location and size so he can decide whether it needs attention
                 now or if it can wait until the next regular visit.

                 What damage can it do?

                 If cracks that are large enough for bacteria to enter are left
                 untreated, they can cause infection to the sensitive tissues of
                 the hoof and do damage to it's structure which can ultimately
                 lead severe lameness or worse.

                 Treatment and prevention.

                 For superficial cracks using a good Biotin supplement and
                 practicing good daily maintenance will help.

                 For more severe cracks your farrier may advise shoeing or the
                 application of fiberglass or plastic to the hoof wall until the
                 crack grows out.

                 Hoof cracks can be prevented by regular hoof trimming. Keep
                 your horse's feet from becoming excessively dry and hard.
                 There are many hoof dressings on the market today that will help
                 to keep your horses feet soft and moist. A periodic hoof soaking
                 in mud will do wonders for your horses dry feet. If your horses
                 do not have access to mud you can try letting their water tub
                 overflow a little, just enough for a small muddy puddle.

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                 4.) Puncture Wounds What Can They Hurt?

                 Looking for signs of a puncture:

                 Puncture wounds are fairly common among horses. Some puncture
                 wounds if not detected early enough may cause severe lameness
                 or a permanent disability. Death due to tetanus may also occur
                 if wounds are not properly treated.

                 An untreated puncture wound will allows for bacteria to
                 enter the horses system resulting in mild to severe infection.
                 Abscesses can develop in as little as two days or as long as
                 month after the initial injury.

                 Picking your horses feet on a daily basis will catch this
                 potential problem before severe damage results. Sometimes a
                 nail, wire or other object may pierce your horse's sole. It may
                 fall out and the entry wound will probably be invisible by the
                 time you pick his feet and you will not be aware of it
                 until is shows up as an abscess.

                 In some cases the object remains in place, to be discovered when
                 you brush the last bits of dirt from the sole.

                 ***DON'T PULL IT OUT***

                 Put your horse in his stall. Protect the punctured foot, and
                 help the foreign object stay put either by wrapping or with
                 a slip-on medication boot. Then call your veterinarian right

                 An x-ray of the foot can show how far the object has penetrated
                 and which structures are involved. If you pick your horse's feet
                 out regularly, you'll find the problem within a few hours of its
                 occurrence. Then your veterinarian can remove the object and
                 advise a course of treatment.

                 If your horses digital pulse feels stronger than usual or its
                 foot is warmer than normal to the touch, this is a sign of a
                 possible abscess inside the hoof. An abscess may result from an

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                 over looked sole puncture, badly placed shoeing nail or from a
                 bruise or injury.

                 If you find heat and a stronger than usual pulse in BOTH front
                 feet, and your horse is shifting uncomfortably from foot to
                 foot, call your veterinarian immediately! These are signs of
                 Laminitis, an inflammatory condition that can cause severe
                 hoof damage and if not treated promptly it can be fatal.

                 5.) Horses With Shoes.

                 If your horse is shod, check his shoes each time you pick out
                 his feet.

                 As a general rule a horse will need shod every 4-6 weeks. A
                 healthy hoof grows approximately ¾ - ½ inch a month. If you
                 leave shoes on too long the hoof will grow out of proportion
                 which may result in lameness. If you do not shoe your horses'
                 feet they still need periodic trimming every 6-8 weeks. If
                 your horse is shod you will want to look for:

                 What to look for?

                 -- A sprung shoe: A shoe that is lifted away from the hoof and is
                 not sitting flat.

                 -- A missing shoe or shoes: If your horse is missing a shoe do not
                 ride or exercise him. Call your blacksmith right away and keep
                 your horse stalled or in an enclosure until the blacksmith

                 -- A bent or slightly shifted shoe: If the shoe has moved to one
                 side or the other, it has shifted. This can cause damage to the
                 sensitive hoof structure of the horses' foot when weight
                 is applied.

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                 -- A loose shoe or risen clinches. If you see the ends of the
                 nails your blacksmith trimmed and clinched are sticking out from
                 the hoof this is a sign that the shoe is loosening. This may
                 cause an injury. Call your blacksmith and schedule an

                 -- Look for debris and small pebbles between the shoe and sole
                 of the hoof.

                 -- Signs of puncture wounds, bruising, abscess or thrush.

                 A couple of other things you should know.

                 Mud is extremely hard on your horses' shoes. If at all possible
                 keep your horses out of deep mud. The suction of deep mud or
                 water can easily drag off a shoe it is already loosened.

                 Ask your farrier to teach how to remove shoes. I hear your gasp!
                 But it is important that you know how to do this incase there
                 comes a time that your farrier can't get to you and the shoes
                 need to come off. If you can remove a sprung or loose shoe,
                 you may save your horse unnecessary pain and hoof damage.

                 6.) Brief Overview of Diseases of the Hoof.

                 I feel it is important to add this section of the report so that
                 you can become familiar with the different disease that can
                 affect the hoof areas of the horse. This is by no means a
                 complete list. It is only an overview of the more common
                 diseases. To find out more about the individual diseases and
                 their treatment please consult your veterinarian or farrier.

                 -- Thrush

                 Thrush is bacterial condition. It is an invasion of bacteria and

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                 moisture into the sole of the horses foot. The front and back
                 feet may be affected. Horses that are confined to a stall or
                 small area are more prone to thrush than other horses.

                 Some horses, especially those with upright, narrow feet and
                 deep clefts tend to trap more dirt, debris, and manure than
                 other horses therefore they are more predisposed to thrush
                 even when well cared for.

                 What are the signs of thrush?

                 Most often there will be a foul smell and dark black ooze
                 coming from the cleft of the frog. Keep in mind that in early
                 stages there may be very little or no smell at all. Check for
                 any tenderness. If the horses feet are tender it may be a
                 possible sign. Thrush also causes the bottom of the hoof to
                 become soft and crumbly. If left untreated for long the frog
                 will become cheesy in texture and rot off. In extreme cases
                 the heel begins to split and to bleed.

                 -- Laminitis

                 Laminitis is an infection of the laminae which are the soft
                 tissues that connect the coffin bone to the hoof wall. This
                 results in swelling of the lamina. The condition may range
                 severity from mild to acute and usually occurs in the horses
                 front feet but can also affect the back feet.

                 -- Founder

                 Founder is an inflammatory condition of the laminae. Some
                 consider founder and Laminitis to be one and the same while
                 others firmly disagree, and believe that it is a direct result
                 of repeated bouts with Laminitis. Either way it is very painful
                 and destructive for the horses health.

                 There are different types of founder. Grain founder seems to be
                 the most detrimental. Grass founder which in most cases is less
                 severe. Both can be linked to carbohydrate overload or to much

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                 sugar in their diet. Road founder which happens when horses are
                 ridden on hard surfaces over long periods of time. Foal founder
                 happens when the mare doesn't deliver the placenta.

                 -- White Line Disease

                 It can be recognized on the sole of the hoof as a powdery white
                 line that runs along the hoof wall. In the beginning stages of
                 white line disease it may stay localized to one area, but as it
                 progresses it can spread to other areas of the hoof wall.

                 As it advances it will cause the separation of the hoof wall
                 from the sole and will allow bacteria and fungi to enter the
                 hoof which will cause deterioration of the inner part of the
                 hoof wall.

                 -- Navicular Syndrome

                 Navicular Syndrome occurs when the navicular bone becomes
                 immobile and causes poor blood flow within the hoof due to
                 improper care. Problems that arise as a result can be high
                 heels, overlaid bar or long toes. It also affects the bone and
                 tendons of the front feet.

                 -- Equine Scratches

                 Although this is not a disease of the hoof I think it needs
                 to be mentioned in this report because it is an infection of
                 the lower leg that can affect eventually lead to lameness.

                 Scratches is a skin problem caused by fungi and bacteria. This
                 is found mostly in the lower legs. It is most prevalent in
                 horses that are wet often or in contact with mud. The skin will
                 become crusted, scabby and thickened. In severe cases the skin
                 may ooze and the lower leg may swell. If left untreated the
                 horse will become lame.

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                 7.) Tips to Help Ensure Healthy Hooves

                 Schedule regular visits, usually every 4-6 weeks. Horses
                 that have free-choice pasture may only need their hooves trimmed
                 every 6-10 weeks depending on hoof growth. Ask your .

                 Pick your horses feet daily. Horses that are stalled
                 constantly need to have the wet manure picked out, if not it
                 can cause thrush or canker.

                 Practice good stable management and most of diseases of the hoof
                 can be prevented.

                 Make changes to the horses routine and diet gradually and
                 progressively. Rapid change can lead to stress and disease.

                 Avoid feeding in excess and keep your horse at a reasonable
                 weight. Overweight horses are more prone to hoof disease.

                 Avoid grass blooms on your pasture. They can cause founder.
                 Pull your horses off the fields and onto dry lots if you have
                 to. Feed them hay in the morning and only turn horses out after
                 the lushness and dew is off the grass.

                 Keep grain in closed bins and the door to the feed room shut
                 at all times.

                 Pay attention to breed and body types; some are more likely
                 to get Laminitis than others. Be particularly careful with
                 ponies and horses that have thick necks..

                 Give horses unlimited access to fresh, clean water, except
                 immediately after exercise, when the amount should be regulated.

                 If at all possible keep your horses out of deep mud.
                 Hours of standing in mud encourages 'thrush' or 'scratches'
                 (a skin infection in the fetlock area that can cause lameness).

                 Keep your horses' stall clean and dry. A wet-moist stall can

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                 cause bacteria to grow and bacteria causes 'thrush' and promotes
                 fungus and infection.

                 Don't shoe your horse unless necessary. There are many
                 alternatives to shoeing. The horses' foot will adapt to whatever
                 environmental surface the horse is standing on whether is be
                 hard packed ground, small stones, gravel etc.

                 Use shipping boots or wraps with bell boots to protect your
                 horses hooves during hauling. This is very important for
                 maintaining healthy hooves and preventing injury. The rocking
                 motion of the trailer combined with the horses constantly
                 shifting feet can cause tremendous damage.

                 -- Supplements for Healthy Hooves.

                 DL-methionine is one of the most important amino acids for
                 hoof growth.

                 Biotin is important for hoof growth and repair. It helps in the
                 utilization of proteins. Which helps prevent eczema and

                 When deciding on a supplement for your horse look for one that
                 is a good source of A,D,E to help grow healthy hooves.

                 Give your horse access a salt/mineral block that has a good
                 mix of calcium and phosphorous to prevent them form becoming

                 8.) In Closing.

                 I would just like to say that it is extremely important to
                 maintain the health of your horse to ensure the growth of
                 healthy hooves.

                 If you think your horse has an early case of thrush, Laminitis
                 or another harmful disease, but you are unsure, be sure to ask

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                 your blacksmith or veterinarian to look at their feet right away
                 before serious damage can occur. They should be able to easily
                 diagnose and recommend proper treatment for you.

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                      You have master resale rights to this report.

                            You may sell it or give it away as is.

                               You may not change the contents
                                  or add to them in any way


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