Rings and Ridges: What Horse Hooves Reveal

Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price

Horses’ health is determined by their coat condition. Sheen and dapples indicate vitality. While dull, rough or half-shed hairs can indicate unthriftiness, or disease. Changes in hooves could also be a clue to the horse’s past well-being.

Hoof walls can be subject to a variety of imperfections. It is not uncommon for hooves with chipped toes or flares to have shallow or deep cracks or chips. These flaws can be obvious. These flaws are obvious. However, subtle changes in the hoof wall (horizontal rings and ridges) tell us more about horses’ health than regular hoof care.

Although they sound like one another, hoof rings and ridges are not the same thing. One is a common feature in even the most well-managed hooves. The other is a sign that there is potential toxicity.

Rings and Ridges

Growth rings are also known as hoof rings and can be found in healthy hooves. They are often the result of diet changes from one season to another, particularly in horses whose diets are primarily forages. The nutrient content of grass increases in the growing season. This can cause subtle color variations and changes in the hoof wall. The texture of the wall is not affected by any visible changes.

On the other hand, hoof ridges are often a sign of a serious health problem, especially if it causes fever like laminitis, or nutrient poisoning. The ridges can be seen like hoof rings. However, there is an important distinction: the formation of bumps or ledges along the wall. Chronic laminitis horses may experience repeated disruptions to their hoof wall growth. This can cause the ridges to appear V-shaped towards the toe.

“A competent farrier is the best professional to care for hoof health and a veterinarian for diseases that can incite hoof problems,” Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a nutritionist at Kentucky Equine Research said. “But laminitis-prone horses need specialized nutrition and a nutritionist will be able to design diets that will aid them avoid this disease.”

Whitehouse stated that should be added to the diet for most common hoof wall dents and dings. However, this should only be done after the ration has been assessed to ensure all nutrients are being provided. She explained that hoof problems often result in optimal nutrition such as biotin supplementation and consistent care.

BIO-Bloom PS ( HF) in Australia contains biotin and methionine. These levels have been shown to promote hoof growth, which includes the development of a strong hoof wall. The formula is complete with lecithin and full fat soybean. They are essential for the production of resilient hoof hair.

Horse owners need patience as biotin supplementation does not work overnight. Because dietary changes only affect new hoof growth, it is not an instant cure. The good news? Whitehouse stated that many horses respond well to Biobloom PS. “New growth at the coronary band is visible as different from older, unsupplemented’ walls.”

Is your horse suffering from hoof problems or is it just you? Do you want a nutritionist to examine your horse’s diet and provide recommendations? Get started now.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!