It’s long been said: “No hoof, no horse.” Just mentioning a hoof injury to a horse owner will generate a ‘don’t kid about that’ type of reaction; and for good reason. Hoof injuries can be incredibly painful and costly for animal and owner.
One horse owner whose horse suffered a puncture wound to a hoof while her barn was being renovated wrote, “I have heard it said that if there is one nail in a hundred acre pasture, the one horse in that pasture will find it.”
The real risk is that a nail can damage the internal structure of the hoof and also infect tissue deep within the hoof. When a nail is removed and the hoof closes up, the bacteria can get trapped and cause an abscess. That can cause irreversible damage to a horse’s gait, or ultimately death if the wound is not treated properly.
Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care
The best way to avoid hoof injuries, specifically punctures is keep your animals’ environment clear of nails and other metal debris. Many stable and race track operators have told us that the regular use of a sweeper have practically eliminated hoof punctures.
3 keys to preventing hoof injuries
- Clean up areas immediately after repairs are made. If you’ve made repairs to your barn, make sure to sweep up any stray roofing nails, staples, etc.
- Regularly inspect your pasture and riding areas for foreign object debris. The most efficient way to do this is often with a tow-behind magnetic sweeper, like our MKS5000, but a handheld sweeper with a rake attachment is the perfect tool for inside stables and barns.
- If you use wood chips as footing material in a riding arena, thoroughly inspect it before any riding. Also purchase your footing material from a manufacturer that specializes in supplying horse arena footing as it thoroughly inspected and cleared of any metal debris.