Did you know that hard soles or hooves indicate good health in horses? They start off as thin and soft soles, but they need to be hardened over time. This is a time taking process, but most horses get there soon enough. If you are worried about your horse and her soft hooves, this article is for you.
We have compiled a few ways in which you could naturally harden your horse’s hooves. But, first, let’s talk about the basics.
Are they really soft?
If you can gently knead or flex into the hooves, they are soft. For a young horse, it may take time, as we mentioned before because getting used to a hard surface is indeed a challenge. The callouses need to be developed, and they take around 6 months to a year. So, the safest thing to do would be to wait and let your horse get acclimatized on her own.
How to Harden Horse Hooves Naturally?
If, and only if, you are worried that the hooves are too soft, you should try different methods to harden them. There are products that can help, but we believe in a natural approach. Read on to see our list of natural techniques:
- Change the living conditions: Horses are usually in the pasture or in the stable. The ground in both these places is soft and muddy. If your horse spends all her time here, her soles will remain soft. She needs to get out there, experience her some grime and dryness to harden her hooves. So, the first thing you must do is to give her the opportunity to get out of the wet, muddy area every now and then.
- Give her a healthy diet: A lot depends on what your horse eats. Horses need a healthy diet, loaded with nutrients. Check to see if your horse is getting all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbs. You may also visit a vet for an examination to be sure. A healthy diet can speed up the process of the hooves hardening, but if you are doing everything right and there’s no change in the hooves, you may want to try supplements. For this, again, we advise that you speak to the vet and buy supplements accordingly.
- Keep the hooves clean: This may seem basic, but we know many people who completely miss out on this. The hooves have to be clean and neat. Otherwise, infections may arise, causing the hooves to stay soft and painful. We are sure you do not want that for your horse! So, make it a point to clean the hooves, pick out any stones or debris in the soles, and wash them with a good, natural cleaning agent.
- Exercise: When has exercise ever failed us? Never! The same applies to horses. Horses are super agile animals, bursting with energy. They need consistent exercise to stay fit and healthy. They also need exercise to harden their hooves. Add a good amount of exercise in their daily routine. But don’t overdo it. You should remember to strike a balance at all times.
There you go! These simple steps will help you harden your horse’s hooves without causing her much trouble. Love, care, and attention go a long way. All the best!