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Hoof flare is one of the most common issues facing farriers today. Yet as often as it’s seen, hoof flare is also potentially crippling to the horse. Recognizing hoof flare and treating it can be crucial to keeping your clients’ horses healthy and sound.
Hoof flares look very much like they sound, and are visible even to an untrained eye. That’s because a hoof with this issue clearly flares out on the sides and/or at the toe.
The mechanism of hoof flare is “the bending outward of, or deformation of the hoof capsule,” describes Darren Owen, owner of Indian Fields Farrier Service Inc. in Suffolk, Va. He says it affects the lower region of the capsule that makes contact with the ground.
“This condition can cause interference problems with the other limbs, leading to injury and tissue damage,” Owen says. “When the hoof develops a flare, separation occurs between the interior portion of the hoof wall and sole. This situation makes the white line region very inviting to foreign material, resulting in fungal and bacterial infections in the flared area.”
When flares are left untreated, they can become large and at times will break off, he says.
“This is often painful for the horse because the flare breaks back into the sensitive tissue of the hoof,” Owen says. “This will cause a temporary lameness until the hoof grows back out to heal itself.”
Hoof capsule flares are a serious condition that can lead to…