Hoof Cracks


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Photo courtesy all-natural-horse-care.com

Horizontal cracks (left) are usually a sign of an old abscess. They will normally grow out without too much trouble as once the abscess has burst it seal itself up on the inside to prevent further infection.

Vertical cracks (right) can be much more serious and tend to be due to an imbalance of the hoof. They will not grow out until the imbalance is dealt with. Often the crack will be an ideal home for bacteria which will need to be treated to allow the hoof to heal.


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A hoof can be predisposed to quarter cracks because of its inherent composition and morphology:

  • Thin hoof walls
  • Contracted feet
  • External factors can also contribute to the development
  • Dry hooves and brittle hoof walls tend to split more easily than feet that are moist
  • A hoof that is overlong, unbalanced, or displaying 'flares' puts extra pressure on hoof walls
  • An injury to hoof or coronet can result in a 'weak spot'

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.  ~ Winston Churchill