Why Are My Horse’s Hooves Growing So Fast?

Why does a horse’s hooves grow faster than his stablemates’ who are on the same diet and exercise schedule? A veterinarian who’s also a farrier shares his thoughts.
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horse hooves growing fast
Some horses just seem to grow hoof faster than other individuals, even those of the same breed. | Photo: iStock

Q.I keep my Western pleasure horse’s front feet shod year-round so he can stay in work during the winter and to keep his hooves in decent shape; otherwise they tend to flare and crack. During our main riding season (March-late October), he’s on a six-week trim and reset schedule. But during the winter, when all our other horses’ hoof growth slows, his doesn’t—the farrier jokes that he could be trimmed every three weeks. What could be causing his hooves to grow so fast, and why would it be different from the other horses? They’re all on the same diet, exercise schedules, etc., they just have different genetics.

—Via e-mail

A.Hoof growth, be it fast or slow, is a common discussion among horse owners, trainers, and veterinarians. On average, an adult horse hoof grows from the coronary band to the ground surface in one year. Younger horses’ and foals’ hooves grow much faster

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Written by:

Scott Fleming, DVM, CF, originally from Northeast Texas, grew up riding Western performance Quarter Horses and working with cattle. Upon graduating from high school, Fleming attended farrier school and maintained a Quarter-Horse-centric farrier business in Northeast and Central Texas. He also served in the Marine Corps Infantry for four years. Fleming received his DVM from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences in 2013, completed an internship at Rood & Riddle in 2013-14, and remained at the hospital as a fellow. Currently, he is an associate veterinarian at Rood & Riddle. He also has a special interest in participating in Equitarian Initiative trips to Central America to help working equids in the region. Outside the clinic, Fleming enjoys spending time on the farm with his wife, Tina, and their two children, Callie and Case.

One Response

  1. I have a mini horse. I just had her his trimmed three months ago and they need trimmed again. What am I doing to make them grow so fast

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