woman cleaning a horse's hoof

Regularly clean and inspect your horse’s hooves. Photo Credit: John Bearden, UF/IFAS

In Florida, the hot and humid climate can make it challenging to keep horse’s hooves healthy.  Microorganisms thrive in warm and wet environments and can cause infections. Here are some basic hoof care tips for Florida horses:

  1. Regular Trimming – schedule regular farrier visits. For most horses, this will mean a visit every 5-8 weeks.  The frequency will depend on the individual horse’s needs.  Consistent trimming prevents overgrowth, keeps the hoof from cracking, and corrects imbalances.  Wet conditions can impede normal wear on the hoof wall and may necessitate more frequent farrier visits.  Depending on the horse’s workload and hoof condition, your farrier and veterinarian may recommend shoeing.  Regular maintenance of the shod horse is vital since loose shoes can cause serious issues for the horse.
  2. Dry Environment – keep the horse’s living area dry and clean. Overexposure to wet conditions can lead to hoof infections such as thrush and white line disease.  Bacterial and fungal pathogens are abundant in warm, wet environments.  Excessive moisture can also lead to weakened hooves which will cause lameness.
  3. Clean and Inspect – regularly clean and inspect the horse’s hooves for issues. Look for cracks, splits, or signs of infection.  Thrush is a common concern in wet conditions.  It can cause destruction of the hoof frog and it should not be ignored.  This condition is caused by microbial pathogens and is recognized by a strong odor when cleaning the hoof.  Often cleaning the hoof regularly and treating with over-the-counter products will clear up the infection, especially if it is caught early.  Another common problem in warm, wet conditions is White Line Disease (WLD), which is an infection inside the hoof wall.  If the hoof sole and wall junction are wider and softer than normal and have a chalky texture, you can suspect WLD.  Work with your veterinarian and farrier to determine the correct treatment plan.
  4. Nutrition and Supplements – provide the horse with ample nutrition. Make sure the diet of the horse is balanced.  Proper nutrition is vital for healthy hooves. Consult with your vet for any recommended supplements.
  5. Exercise – regular exercise is helpful to promote good circulation in your horse. Simply walking can stimulate blood, flow which transports necessary nutrients to the hoof.

Horse hoof care in Florida can be challenging but not impossible.  Healthy hooves are literally the foundation of all horses, so diligent hoof care is important.  Work with your farrier and veterinarian to develop the right hoof care routine for your horse.

More information on this subject is available by using the following publication links:

Caring for the Older Horse: Common Problems and Solutions


Clemson Equine Hoof Care
Minnesota How often should your horse’s feet by trimmed or shod?
Utah Proper Basic Hoof Care
Missouri Care of Your Horse’s Feet
New Mexico Evaluation of Equine Hoof Care
Michigan What your horse’s hoof angle may be telling you
Jennifer Bearden
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