The relationship between humans and horses began almost 12,000 years ago. Since then horses have played an important role in our lives. They have helped us with our work and supported us as loyal friends throughout the ages. During the industrialization period hoof care was of utmost importance as the asphalted roads imposed great strain on horses' hooves. Even nowadays the horses' hooves are a decisive factor for their health. The hoof care has to be adapted to suit different demands. When looking at hoof formation, we generally differentiate between the inner and the outer parts.
The upper edge of the hoof is called the coronet and represents the transition from the haired skin to the hoof. The dermis plays a central role in the hoof structure. It is responsible for the build-up of horn which forms the outer hoof capsular. Moreover the dermis of the hoof is a connection between the outer hoof capsular and the inner part of the hoof. The blood and nerve supply to the hoof are located in the dermis of the hoof. Frog, bars and heel are part of the soft horn and can absorb moisture. This is of great importance for preserving the elasticity of the hoof and maintaining the hoof mechanism.
The hard horn has a particularly protective and shape-forming function and is decisive for the health of the hoof. To a certain degree the hoof has to function as protection against maceration in summer and winter, during dry as well as moist periods. On the other hand, the hard horn also has to maintain the necessary moisture in the hoof during dry periods. If the hoof cannot counteract the cold, moisture and dryness, the horn will dry out after a certain period of time and become brittle.
Putrefaction caused by bacteria and other diseases– such as hoof abscesses and hoof cancer – can lead to ill health of the animal as a consequence of insufficient hoof care.
Every hoof is an individual finger print
Generally speaking there are "normal and easy care" hooves and so called hard and soft hooves.
A "normal" hoof is characterized by trouble-free horn growth, hard-wearing hard horn, an intact coronet and a springy and dry frog.
A hard hoof is not elastic enough and is very dry. The hard horn of the outer walls' tends to burst and split like glass, the coronary groove is susceptible to tear.
A hoof can be graded as soft when hoof ulcers occur frequently, hematomas occur easily and the hoof wall tends to become frayed. Quite often these symptoms occur in connection with coat and hair problems.
All hoof types are exposed to different environmental influences in the different seasons and react to them. The main reaction can be detected in growth: the hoof grows faster during the warm season than during the cold season. Moreover the hoof is confronted with significantly more moisture in winter, e.g. from the bedding, muddy fields, sandy paths and riding arenas.
In summer, therefore, the hoof tends to become brittle and hard whilst winter it tends to keratinization, with hoof pores closing up and making moisture exchange to the outside more difficult. This can lead to soft hooves and naturally related problems.
Irrespective of the season and hoof type, daily cleaning of the hoof is essential. This means that manure, stones and dirt should be removed with a hoof pick and the hoof should be brushed every day. Particularly because the manure contains ammonia which attacks the sole of the hoof and little stones and impurities can cause painful hematomas.
On account of these various facts it is very important to us that all horsey people are aware of the importance of individual hoof care in connection with daily cleaning of the hooves. Thus we offer appropriate Effol solutions for the different conditions and requirements of all horses' hooves. Because: Friendship needs care.