hoof cracks


Dealing with horizontal cracks in your horse’s hoof


  • Yesterday, your horse’s hoof looked and felt totally normal. Today, he has a horizontal crack that literally appeared out of nowhere. Should you panic? NO. Should you have a plan? YES.


And here is your hoof crack plan:


  • Horizontal hoof cracks are alarming, but typically nothing to worry about. They are usually caused by a trauma to the coronary band or a bang to the hoof wall.


  • It’s also suspected that some horizontal hoof cracks are the result of an abscess that ruptures at the coronary band, and the crack grows out with the hoof. If your horse tends to forge or interfere, using bell boots can help protect their hoof wall from knocks.


  • At any rate, these horizontal hoof cracks rarely cause lameness in horses. My horse had one, as seen below, and he was quite the drama queen about it. Turns out, the crack “opened” halfway down the hoof wall, as they sometimes do.


  • Then the wet weather and his tendency to be really spazzy and muddy got a bunch of goop and mud inside the crack. This is when the smell started. I’ll not go into the puke-inducing nature of this smell. He ended up a bit lame, and when the veterinarian trimmed the hole open, we were able to clean and dry it out the crack. Smell and lameness were gone.


horizontal hoof crack that has opened


Have your veterinarian check these cracks out, just in case.


  • The hoof is a dynamic structure, that will flex and bend and move. A crack, horizontal or vertical, will make the hoof wall unstable, and the area will move quite a bit. This can, and will, affect underlying structures.


  • I know that some of you are wondering why I would call a veterinarian before the farrier, and it’s simple. Veterinarians are trained to work on the inner, soft tissue structures of a hoof, farriers are not. When you have any type of hoof crack, there is a chance that soft tissue will be affected, even without lameness. Also, vets have pain meds and x-ray machines just in case.



hoof wrap on a horse hoof

You may want to cover the hoof with a wrap or boot if the crack wants to become a cave for smelly stuff.


It’s up to your veterinarian and farrier as to how to proceed with a horizontal hoof crack. Luckily, they are often easy to treat and require no time off, but always remember that phrase about “no hoof, no horse”!

go shopping button for horse products

If you want to pick up some protective boots if your horse has a hoof crack, you can use these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is ZIPPO charge to you, and my qualifying commissions help to keep this website alive for you. I appreciate this greatly!

Cavallo Simple Hoof Boot for Horses, Black – thick-soled hoof boot for riding and hoof wrapping.

Hoof Wraps Brand Bandage – Affordable wrap for hoof protection


Thank you!