Caring for Your Horse’s Hooves in Spring

With more sunshine and milder weather spring is the perfect time to jump back in the saddle. It’s also time to pay extra attention to your horse’s hooves...

With spring in the air and longer sunshine hours, no doubt you’re keen to get back in the saddle and spend some quality time out and about with your horse. But, as your horse or pony is brought back into condition for more regular riding, special attention should be paid to their hooves to ensure you can enjoy many happy rides together.

Let’s talk laminitis

A common condition that can affect hooves during spring is laminitis. While there are a number of causes for this condition, one of the causes is the sudden access to the lush grass that comes up during spring.

Symptoms of laminitis include stiffness, your horse frequently lying down, or being reluctant to move. The hoof may also feel warm. And, once a horse has had laminitis once, they’re more likely to get it again.

However, laminitis isn’t the only thing to look out for during spring. To help catch laminitis, or any other hoof issues, as early as possible and ensure your horse’s hooves are in tip-top shape, here are four top tips on caring for your horse’s hooves during spring.

  1. Pick your horse’s feet daily. While you may already do this every time before you ride, it’s a good idea to pick out their hooves every day. This removes any debris that could cause pain and lameness. If it’s an especially warm and wet spring, cleaning their hooves regularly can help avoid creating an environment where bacteria can thrive and cause infection
  2. While you’re picking out your horse’s feet, look for anything abnormal. The earlier you can identify a problem, the better chance that treatment will provide a quick fix and prevent bigger issues down the track. Things to look out for include thrush, hoof cracks, punctures, abscesses, and mud fever.
  3. If your horse went unshod during winter, now’s the time to book in the farrier and get them fitted for new shoes. Of course, your horse should have been getting regular trims anyway, so this can just be part of their next visit.
  4. Add an extra layer of protection with a hoof dressing. The winter/spring fluctuation between wet and dry can wreak havoc on your horse’s hooves and a dressing will help balance out the moisture content of the hooves.

Doing a little extra now to look after your horse during spring won’t take up a lot of extra time, but it will help prevent painful and long-lasting conditions down the track. This means you’ll be in the best position possible to enjoy riding and competing in the spring and summer months to come.