Tips for Repairing Tough Hoof Cracks

Get your equine athlete back into competition quickly with the McKinlay Patch

Every second counts in racing, even when the horse isn’t on the track.

Vero Beach, Fla., farrier Tom Curl and Pleasant Grove, Calif., farrier Leah Clarke know this well after repairing quarter cracks on top racehorses and show horses across the country.

“Fast is the name of the game at the racetrack,” Curl told attendees at the 2022 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio. “You’ve got to get back in the game because you’re losing days for training. If they’re coming right up on a race, they don’t want to lose 5 or 7 days because they’ll never get the horse back and fit in time for the race.”

After years of working with Curl, grooms understand the sense of urgency and begin treating the crack before placing the call to him.

“They know the procedure,” says the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame member. “Cracks have happened at the racetrack for a long time. Nobody gets excited about it. They know to start working on it for a couple of days before I get there.”

Farrier Takeaways

  • The exposed tissue must be cornified with a subtle drying agent before the crack can be addressed.
  • Remove damaged hoof wall to encourage proper healing and hoof wall repair.
  • When lacing and patching a crack, the horse’s foot must not be loaded. A loaded foot opens the crack and can compromise the quality of the patch.

The McKinlay Patch

Curl and Clarke repair hoof cracks using what they refer to as the McKinlay…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the editor of American Farriers Journal.

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