The hoof is a fascinating structure that supports the entire bodyweight of a horse, which considering an average 16hh horse can weigh around 500kg, is impressive. With this in mind it is easy to see why hoof health is so important to soundness and why injuries and ailments of the hoof can have serious consequences.
The outside structure is made up of the coronary band, the periople, hoof wall, frog and sole and the internal structure features the sensitive sole, digital cushion, lateral cartilages and the laminae.
Much like human nails, the hoof wall grows out of the coronary band which is the line of tissue joining the leg and the hoof. This area is packed full of blood vessels and its purpose is to feed the hoof. Inside the hoof there are three bones, the short pastern bone, the pedal bone and the navicular bone and several tendons and ligaments, running down from inside the leg that attach to these bones.
Interesting Facts about Horses’ Hooves
- The hoof is made of keratin, which is the same structural protein as human fingernails.
- The frog is made up of 50% water and acts as a pump to help push blood back up the limb, working against gravity.
- Hooves are designed to expand and contract to help absorb impact, especially when travelling at speed.
- It takes nine to 12 months for a complete new hoof to grow.
- When a foal is born its hooves are covered in a soft, sponge-like layer to protect the mare during the birth and this layer disappears quickly to allow the foal to take its first steps.
To maintain your horse’s hooves make sure you stick to a hoof care routine, picking out the hooves daily and removing any dirt and stones.
It is important to ensure that your horse is fed a nutritionally balanced diet and that they receive regular attention from a farrier.
Suitable for rapid treatment of foot conditions, Animalintex® is the only VMD licensed multi-layered absorbent poultice available in the UK.
Animalintex® Hoof Treatment is distributed in packs containing convenient hoof shaped dressings, ready for foot poulticing, so there is no need for cutting to shape, making Animalintex® economic and convenient.
For further information contact Robinson Animal Healthcare on 01909 735000 or visit www.robinsonanimalhealthcare.com