With the arrival of Winter, the weather can take a toll on your horse’s hooves. Not only are their hooves growing slower, but the cold and wet conditions make them more susceptible to common hoof problems. In this article, we outline the four most prevalent in Australia.
- Hoof Abscesses
The cold and wet conditions of Winter, along with hardened ground, can lead to the formation of abscesses. Abscesses occur from damage to the hoof, regardless of whether the hoof capsule is penetrated or not during injury. Avoid abscesses by checking your horse’s hooves regularly, picking out dirt and stones, and exercising on softer surfaces throughout Winter.
While fungal conditions are unexpected during Winter, there are many opportunities for them to affect your horse. Stabling on soiled bedding and standing in muddy paddocks for long periods can lead to the development of thrush that thrives in moist environments. Avoid thrush by providing your horse with firm, dry ground and clean out your horse’s hooves daily.
- Mud Fever and Greasy Heel
These painful conditions aren’t caused by the change in season, but can often be exacerbated by wet conditions, muddy ground and incorrect hoof trimming. Maintaining circulatory health of the lower leg will assist in overcoming these infections. Avoid Mud Fever and Greasy Heel by housing your horse in dry areas, clipping long feathers and regular hoof trimming.
- Seedy Toe or White Line Disease
Another common infection, Seedy Toe is also exacerbated by the cold and wet conditions of Winter. Most often caused by long hoof growth or horse shoe nails which weaken the white line and allow bacteria to enter. Avoid Seedy Toe, also called White Line Disease, by offering your horse relief from wet environments and regular hoof trimming.
Remember, during Winter, the growth rate of your horse’s hooves slows down, which can increase the burden of these common hoof problems. Keep an eye on your horse’s hooves and maintain regular trimming to ensure sound, healthy hooves throughout Winter.
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