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Wild Kaimanawa horse photos courtesy of Heike Erhlenbach

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Hoofcare Organisation Of  New Zealand Inc.
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HOOFNZ FAQ Page Number 12

23 I have a shod horse that always has cool hooves. I’ve been told this is normal but my unshod pony always has warm hooves. Is this because horses and ponies are different or is there something wrong with my pony?

Shod horses can have cooler lower legs and hooves compared to naturally trimmed horses or ponies. This is due to the reduction/change in blood flow in the lower limb when the horse is shod. Horses and ponies are in fact meant to have warmth in their lower legs and hooves, proof that the circulatory system is functioning correctly. During the natural loading and unloading of each hoof as the horse moves, the expansion and contraction of each hoof capsule draws blood into each hoof, pools and pressurises it, then sends it back up the leg to continue its journey through the circulatory system. Circulation = warmth.

24 My horse constantly seems to shift his weight from one leg to another while resting. My friend said that natural hoof care can help him with this. Why does he do it and can the trimming you describe help him?

Shifting weight from one limb to another usually indicates pain. Contact your veterinarian for a thorough examination. Your vet may recommend correct hoof balance for your horse. Sometimes it can be a very simple matter of excess of hoof horn causing discomfort. Since the horse spends so much of his life on its feet it is very important to be sure there is not any imbalance that could cause internal damage and pain.

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