Hoof-Chip Prevention Tips
The Trail Rider|November/December 2016

Learn how to prevent chipped, brittle hooves in your horse with these expert guidelines.

Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

Are your horse’s hooves brittle and chipped? Here are four tips to help you keep his hooves strong and supple.

Chip Tip #1: Schedule Regular Trimmings

Proper and timely trimmings are crucial. Letting a barefoot horse go too long between trims increases the risk of chipping and breaking.

Here’s why: As the hoof wall grows, it also extends farther forward in relation to the bones of the leg and foot. When the hoof lands, the bones stay in the same location, connected to each other, but the hoof wall expands. This causes stretching and eventually crumbling of the white line, the layer of hoof wall that connects the outer wall to the sole and live tissues of the hoof. It also contributes to chips/flaps developing in the hoof at ground surface.

Another common mistake with barefoot horses is leaving the hoof edge sharp where it contacts the ground, instead of gently rolling the edge of the hoof. This rounding can greatly help to prevent chipping.

Chip Tip #2: Avoid Chemical Drying

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