Tender Loving Footcare Needed with Older Horses

Reduced physical activity along with serious digestive system changes often lead to serious problems with deteriorating hooves with aging horses

Soles often become more flattened when the feet of many older horses aren’t properly supported as they continue to age.

It’s not at all unusual to see declining hoof conditions in older horses as the natural aging process takes its toll on equine body condition, 

Veterinarian, author, researcher, educator and lifelong horsewoman, Karen E. N. Hayes, says degeneration of hooves starts with declining nutritional status and the natural decrease in physical activity of horses as they age.

“It’s safe to say that an aging horse is on a lower nutritional plane than a younger animal,” says the equine veterinarian from Hayden Lake, Idaho.

“Because both digestive and metabolic prowess decrease with time, aging animals don’t get the nutrition from their feed as effectively as they once did. Even if their ration is excellent, they may experience some nutritional deficiencies. This will have an impact on the quality of hoof horn.”

Because an older horse is normally less physically active, the blood circulation in its feet is also reduced. As a result, nutrients are not as quickly and thoroughly delivered, and waste products are not as quickly and thoroughly removed.

Sole Concerns

“There is also the issue of the soles becoming more and more flattened if their feet aren’t supported as they age,” Hayes explains. “This can happen to any horse, but it’s more likely to be a problem in an aging horse.”

She points to the aging process humans experience as a means to illustrate the physical changes that horses…

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