Healthy Feet

STEVE: For a healthy foot on a horse, I think there are a few things I look for as a trainer. One, a horse, when it moves or when they gallop over the ground and that foot hits the ground, it has got to expand and contract. The foot can’t be too dry. There is a lot of things we used to do.

There are different things you can put on a horse’s foot to make it pliable so that you don’t get sand cracks and so it doesn’t crack at certain points. Also, we used to put bay mud on their feet to draw the heat out. So, it’s something that you want to do everyday and look at a horse’s hoof everyday to make sure that there’s not a lot of heat, there are no cracks, its shoes are on properly, and that there are no nails sticking out. It’s extremely important, I think. Everyday.

ALEX: No doubt. What I look at first thing is, I look at proper balance. No horse has two even, perfectly symmetrical feet. They always tend to vary just a little bit. I like to make sure they’re as close to equal as they can, the angles proper on each one. The shoes are fit full to the heel, this allows for expansion. The shoe is balanced. The foot is balanced. The sockeye and the heels are open to allow for the expansion you talk about. The toe is not too long and the horse basically doesn’t interfere or show evidence that he hits.

All these things are common sense. Obviously, when you pick up the foot and look at it, make sure you have a good, prominent frog that basically has clean sulcus on each side and that there is no debris or anything down in there.

Make sure that there’s no evidence that there are impending corns, cracks, thrush, all the obvious things. These are things that can be maintained and managed if they’re inspected on a daily basis.

STEVE: So, always keep a hoof pick in your pocket. Always pick your horses’ feet out everyday.

ALEX: I just happen to have one right here.