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Combatting the Cruel Hoof Crack

By Carole Herder

Cracks. Cruddy, cruel, conniving (yes, they do seem out to personally attack our horse’s beautiful hooves) hoof cracks. What causes them? And why are some horses prone to them but not others?

Types of cracks:

Grass Crack – a superficial crack starting from the ground and moving up. Can be caused by sudden changes in ground conditions, poor nutrition and/or lack of exercise

Sand Crack – similar to grass cracks but start from the coronary band and move down

Heel Crack – can be very painful and usually caused by shoes that are too long or too short but can also be caused by uneven heel loading

Bar Crack – located on the bars (beside the frog). Can be painful and usually caused by trauma

Toe Crack – horses that land toe first or have flares tend to manifest toe cracks

Quarter Crack – usually caused by imbalance or uneven foot landing (due to conformation defects or bad trimming)


If your horse has cracks, try to decipher the cause. The first question to ask: is the foot growing poor hoof quality or have environmental factors caused the issue? And, to be honest, one often causes the other. Can you guess which one? Do bear in mind that you can’t ‘heal’ a fissure. What you need to do is discover the issue in order to stop the crack progressing and then wait for the split to grow out. This needs to be done before the crack gets too deep or too long, as infection could occur.
Obviously, prevention is better than cure so be sure to clean and inspect your horse’s feet regularly, maintain him on a routine trimming cycle, ensure he receives proper nutrition and keep him in a consistent and suitable environment. Supplements can help, but remember, it takes between 6 months and a year to grow a new hoof so you may not see the effects of changes for a while. And above all – keep him moving. Horses are meant to move. Horse Hoof Boots are a great aid to healing, both to provide protection from the elements and comfort to encourage movement. Of course, when you consider Horse Hoof Boots, please make Cavallo an option you consider.

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