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When tightening the stitches on hoof cracks, pay close attention to the horse’s reaction. It will tell you whether they are comfortable.

Although stitching hoof cracks is something that many farriers are familiar with, there’s a fine line between securing the gap and overdoing it.

“You can stitch a quarter crack too tightly, especially old, chronic ones that have scar tissue beneath the wall,” Scott Morrison told attendees at the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium in Norfolk, Va.

The key is to carefully watch the horse’s reaction when twisting the wires, says the equine veterinarian and farrier at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky.

“Always watch the horse’s ears when you’re twisting the wire,” he says. “If their ears go back a little bit, untwist it a half turn.”

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