Who came up with the idea of ​​making horseshoes

The hoof! Everything you need to know - PLUS: The most important tips for healthy hooves

Hooves are so important! Your horse goes and stands on them. Nothing works without healthy hooves. That is why it is so important to take good care of them. But you can do a lot wrong and a lot right. We will now explain the most important DOs and DONTs of hoof care in the article, explain hoof myths and tell you whether barefoot is really so much better than a horseshoe.

Carsten Schultze answers all questions about the horse's hoof. He is a hoof expert. As a state-approved farrier, barefoot attendant and member of Nordhuf, he knows exactly what he is doing on a horse's hoof. He also does hoof reconstruction after illness. So he is definitely THE man for all hoof cases.

Besides, he is still in the EHE group "Equine Hoof Equipe - Germany. These are farriers, veterinarians and osteopaths who have come together to educate and inform about horse anatomy and horse hooves.

You can find out more about Carsten here on his Facebook page: Farriery Carsten Schultze


Interview about good hoof care, hoof anatomy and the DO’s and DONT’s for healthy horse hooves

Hoof anatomy

Horse whisper: The hoof is a living tissue - it is easy to forget when you look at it - how exactly is a hoof constructed?

Carsten: Sometimes pictures say more than 1,000 words - so here is a cross-section for an overview

Horse Whispering:And what does he do for the horse?

Carsten: The horse's hoof has several important functions as an organ.

  • The hoof primarily bears the total weight of the horse as a "regrowing shoe" and guarantees the horse a secure hold on all surfaces that can be found in nature. Due to its well-structured structure, it serves as a slip brake on the one hand and gives the horse the feeling and sense of touch necessary for safe locomotion on the other hand for the respective ground
  • It serves as protection against any mechanical damage (wear and tear) and against temperature fluctuations
  • As a "regrowing shoe" that the horse cannot change, it fulfills an extensive range of tasks.

Horse Whispering:That would be there?

Carsten: It is a feeling sensor for every surface. The hoof is most sensitive at the transition from the dermis to the dermis, because this is where the nerves of the hoof run most densely. The individually addressable horn tubes communicate any kind of unevenness to the corolla, whereupon the tendons and ligaments are fixed in order to avoid twisting the joints.

The horse notices exactly whether there is a bump on the right, left, front or back of the hoof. This is why, for example, breeders remove the shoes from their broodmares shortly before foaling, so that the mare notices immediately if she accidentally steps on the foal.

Then the hoof also serves to absorb shock. When the horse is footed, depending on the gait, a weight load of more than 1500kg can occur; this balancing energy is converted into deformation energy for shock absorption. Due to its flexible construction of the hoof horn (spiral tubes connected by a putty horn), the hoof serves as a shock absorber to absorb the energy that occurs when the foot is footed.

When standing up, the hoof is deformed by the horse's weight; in the area of ​​the front coronet (extensor tendon process, attachment point of the interossius muscle), when standing up, there is a retraction to the rear - down and the horn wall dampens this load by shifting the horn tubes downwards, which is caused by a longitudinal shift the horn tube (spiral arrangement) is compensated in the horn wall.

Hoof mechanism

Horse Whispering:Is that the famous hoof mechanism then?

Carsten: Yes exactly. Through the development from the multi-toe to the single-toe, the compact cartilage mass of the multi-toe has split in the course of evolution into the coffin cartilage connected to each other by elastic fibers, which enables the leg ends (heels) to spread and the horse has even more shock absorption. The entire process of these deforming movements in the hoof is called the HOOF MECHANISM.

Another large and important task of the hoof or the hoof mechanism is the transport of blood and nutrients in the course of mechanical deformation of the hoof capsule. With every step that the horse takes, a certain amount of blood is transported through the complex venous network of the hoof and its leather hides ... symbolically "pumped" and the cardiovascular system is supported to a certain extent. Dr. med. vet. Strasser defined the amount of blood given here as 2cl (1 snap glass). Which in turn underpins the importance of sufficient and species-appropriate exercise.

Horse Whispering:How much hoof is growing there per month?

Carsten: The entire organism of the horse is basically adjusted to the fact that approx. 10mm horn (wall horn) plus sole, lamellar and beam horn should be produced per month. The frog and ball of the foot form an elastic bridge between the leg ends (corner struts / heels) and prevent the hoof from tearing open under load and the ball of the foot protects the deep flexor tendon. They both allow and dampen the movement of the hoof capsule and pull it back into its narrowest shape.

Healthy hooves

Horse Whispering: What does a good, healthy hoof have to look like?

Carsten: Of course, certain standard dimensions for the horse's hoof are defined in the specialist literature. Only in the rarest of cases can this optimal case be reached or found. Even if, according to specialist literature, the front hoof should have a toe angle of approx. 45-50 ° and the rear hoof 50-55 ° (spirits argue here too), it always depends on the individual case and the overall condition of the horse.

But you can already define a few characteristics.

A healthy hoof:

  • Is harmoniously shaped (regular)
  • Has a prominent beam that can carry in the rear third
  • Straight, upright corner struts running from the heel to the center of the frog
  • A smooth white line with no disconnections, rot, or other destructive elements
  • Uniform circumferential wall thicknesses
  • Straight or stretched wall courses
  • The heels are at the same angle as the toe
  • There are no compulsive situations (compulsive frequency).

Basically, a hoof is a healthy hoof if the horse can walk barefoot over all types of ground without any problems.

Hoof care - this is how it works

Horse whispering: Keyword: horn quality - what can I, as a horse owner, do to improve or optimize it? Supplementary feed, for example? Cures You Would Recommend? Special in daily care?

Carsten: Personally, I am not a fan of general feed additives as "hoof cures". Basically, what matters is a balanced diet that is adapted to the horse's husbandry and use. I do not want to make any recommendations on this point because the subject is complex and individual. As far as the daily care of the hooves is concerned, the most important thing is stable hygiene ... this is where the first, worst mistakes can be corrected.

  • Clean pit management
  • Careful selection of the bedding
  • Meticulous box maintenance

Horse whispering: Keyword: hoof care - are there Dos and DONTS for horse owners?

Carsten: Of course there are. So my personal dos and don'ts.

  • Do's: Keep appointments for hoof trimming, daily scraping and cleaning of the hooves, if anything is unclear, consult the trusted hoof trimmer.
  • Dont ́s: Fats, oils, lend a hand without specialist knowledge, and if you do ... PLEASE STOP when the red control fluid comes! ;-)

Horse whispering: Keyword: washing and greasing hooves, for example?

Carsten: Washing YES ... greasing NO. The greasing forms a moisture-impermeable film on the horn capsule and prevents any penetration of moisture, which is immensely important for the elasticity and plasticity of the hoof horn and thus for the hoof mechanism. My advice is: "Water ... water ... water" in daily hoof care ... shower off the horse's legs, wade in smaller bodies of water and get enough exercise.

Horse whisper: So watering the hooves - should you definitely?

Carsten: Basically YES, unless the hoof situation is something else ... please MUST discuss this with the person you trust.

Horse Whisper: Huffestiger - are they a good idea?

Carsten: Here, too, consultation with the hoof trimmer.

Barefoot versus iron

Horse whisper: Barefoot is trendy - I think it's great because it seems natural to me - what are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?

Carsten: The advantage of barefoot is clearly the naturalness of the horse and the unrestricted functionality of the horse's hoof. There is no need to embellish this sentence, in my opinion it says everything that needs to be said.

The goal is to walk barefoot… a horse cannot walk barefoot, but can walk after a shoe has been applied… we have a running horse, but not necessarily a healthy horse. And this is exactly where the tiresome dispute about "barefoot - the non plus ultra" and the "devil's horseshoe" begins.

Even though I would prefer to let all horses run barefoot, over the years I have recognized the limits of barefoot care. For example: In equestrian disciplines in which a horseshoe from a certain performance level serves the safety of horse and rider, such as reining, show jumping, versatility, barrel racing, pole bending, cutting, driving and other examples.

Then there are diseases of the musculoskeletal system or the hoof, where proper, professional and animal-friendly shoeing accelerates healing and can shorten convalescence. Knowing that there have been and are good, successful ways in barefoot therapy, one sometimes cannot avoid shoeing in the animal's sense. My Opinion: Barefoot whenever possible ... if not, then not.

Horse whispering: What do I have to consider when caring for barefoots?

Carsten: Barefoot care is the same as shoeing ... regular intervals tailored to the horse and the hoof situation, as little as possible, as much as necessary. This has to be agreed individually with the consulted expert. In both approaches, the declared goal is that the treated horse runs at least as well after the treatment as before, or better ... by no means worse.

Horse Whispering: Same with Iron - Pros and Cons?

Carsten: Nowadays there is such a large variety of materials: steel, aluminum, plastic, composite materials made of plastic and steel, plastic and aluminum, copper-brass alloys, gluing, nailing, both etc. ... the use for the horseshoe must always be an individual decision Being a horse on horseback and requires the assessment of various parameters, such as hoof shape, position, movement sequence, footing, use of the horse, posture of the horse, any diseases, injuries or misalignments.

The main disadvantage of shoeing is that it changes and restricts the natural functions of the hoof. However, most domesticated horses cannot be kept and moved anywhere near species-appropriate. This restriction of the naturalness of the horse inevitably also results in restrictions in the overall PFERD concept. Not every horse owner can adapt the keeping to the needs of his horse ... whether this is what some horse owner wants is a different matter. If the posture of the horse does not allow barefoot, you have to make compromises.

In my opinion, the advantages of permanent hoof protection are primarily in the treatment of diseases of the musculoskeletal system and / or the hooves. In the acute phase of a visual or ligament injury, a far greater degree of relief of the damaged structures can be brought about with a shoeing than is possible with barefoot. Roll-off points can be optimized more precisely and effectively and the sinking behavior of the hoof can be controlled in a more targeted manner.

Horse Whisper: Do you have another example?

Carsten: Example "laminitis" or "coffin breakthrough". With a shoe made according to the X-ray findings, the painful, inflammatory area of ​​the sole can be relieved more specifically and the sagging coffin bone can be more effectively supported using a pad that is also made according to the findings.

Of course, the IMMENS depends on the professional execution of the shoeing and the interdisciplinary cooperation between owner, veterinarian and farrier. I am very well aware that a large number of such diseases can also be successfully treated barefoot, but I have made the experience that one in most cases the faster healing process is recorded here using a horseshoe.

Horse whispering: How often does a specialist have to lend a hand on the horse - every four, six or even only every ten weeks?

Carsten: As a rule, one speaks of a regular interval of six to eight weeks. But here too the principle applies: every case is an individual decision! There are horses where the hoof situation requires shorter intervals (due to increased horn growth, little to no abrasion, misalignments, diseases, etc.). What you miss in foal age is difficult to make up on an adult horse! That's why I like to correct foals more often, for example, and get them on the way to healthy hooves ... to cite this as an example.

Horse whispering: And what can the horse owner do of his own accord without hesitation in the meantime? A bit of filing? Or can you do something wrong with that?

Carsten: Yes, you can do something wrong with a "little filing" !!! Of course, it is always good if broken-out areas are "filed in" straight away, there is nothing wrong with that. Ask your hoof trimmer in this regard ... he / she will advise you and give you tips and instructions if necessary.

Hoof myths - there really is something to them

Horse Whispering: Or myths that you come across again and again and that you would like to get rid of?

Carsten: There are also heaps of them!

  • light hooves are softer than dark hooves
  • Horseshoes make hooves tight
  • Horseshoes make horses sick
  • Farriers cannot perform competent barefoot trimming
  • EVERY horse can walk barefoot

Horse Whispering: Does good hoof care look different in winter than in summer?

Carsten: Basically, in my opinion, not.

Horse whispering: What are typical hoof diseases and how can I avoid them in advance?

Carsten: The “do's” listed above ... nobody can look inside my legs or hooves. Observe your horses, perceive changes, consult the appropriate experts. Better to have a look than to sleep in once. The earlier you act, the higher the chances of success.

The most typical AVOIDABLE and also WORST hoof disease and the second most common cause of euthanasia in Europe is laminitis ... this can be avoided in approx. 90% of cases with a balanced diet that is tailored to the attitude / use / food / type. Sometimes less is more.

Horse Whisper: Thank you for the interview!