May is Adopt a Horse Month and we’re horsing around in celebration of equine adoption! Throughout the month, we will feature adoptable horses and refresh your knowledge about this incredible, lovable species.
Today, learn more about a very important part of the horse’s body—their feet!
Like human finger and toenails, a horse’s hooves grow continuously. In just one month, the average hoof gains a quarter-inch or more. On rocky surfaces, horses can naturally file their hooves to a safe length, but when horses wear shoes, or spend most of their time on softer surfaces, they need specialized care to keep them comfortable.A farrier is an equine professional who specializes in taking care of hooves! Most horses must be seen by a farrier every six to eight weeks. Many horses wear specialized horseshoes that help keep their feet balanced and protected from chipping. Horseshoes can provide therapeutic support to structures in the hoof that are important for the horse’s gait. Horseshoes are commonly made of steel, but aluminum and plastic glue-on models are also popular. A wide variety of options are available to ensure that each horse gets the perfect fit for their needs and comfort.All horses require regular hoof care, but not all horses need horseshoes! For many horses, only regular trims are necessary for maintaining healthy hoof length and shape.The old saying “if there’s no hoof, there’s no horse” indicates the critical role the hoof plays in a horse’s wellbeing. The exterior layer of a horse’s hoof is made of keratin—just like our fingernails and a rhino’s horn. Within it, the hoof contains a structural base made up of bones, tendons and ligaments that facilitate equine locomotion.
Now you hoove a working knowledge of horse hooves! Next, take your knowledge into the barn with five ways to begin your equestrian journey. Follow us on social media for more fun facts throughout #AdoptAHorse Month!
Interested in meeting some of the incredible horses who are looking for homes? Visit myrighthorse.org to get started!