Caring for your horses feet

Have a farrier trim the hooves every 6-8 weeks to prevent them chipping or becoming too long and uncomfortable for the horse. Shoes are only needed if the horse is to be ridden on hard or rocky ground. 



Laminitis is a painful condition of the laminae (the soft tissue) which separates the pedal bone and the hoof wall. This condition is most common in the front feet, but can occur in the hind limbs as well.

There are three stages of development of laminitis

1. Developmental - symptoms at this stage are often subtle and difficult to notice.

2. Acute - signs of discomfort become more apparent at this stage, including:

  • increased hoof temperature

  • difficulty getting up

  • excessive time spent lying down

  • reluctance to move

  • shifting weight between limbs

  • lameness

3. Chronic

  • rings on the surface of affected hooves

  • the hoof wall takes on a dish/slipper shape

  • Where the pedal bone has rotated in the hoof, there is a bulge in the sole corresponding to the rotated bone

  • Restricted movement of the front legs, and weight shift to the back legs

Prevention of laminitis

  • avoid overfeeding

  • avoid feeding grain and sugary treats

  • for horses or ponies prone to weight gain, manage their grazing time by limiting access to lush pasture or stabling for part of the day

  • Ensure hooves are regularly maintained by a farrier

  • regularly exercise your horse or pony

  • poor condition or illness can predispose laminitis - ensure you maintain good health management of your horse, including vaccinations and worming