Last Updated on July 26, 2022
A quarter crack in horse hoof can be a difficult and frustrating problem faced by many horse owners. Let’s find out everything you need to know about how to prevent this condition and treat it when it does occur!
What Is A Quarter Crack In Horse Hoof?
A quarter crack is a crack that appears on the side of the horse’s hoof. These cracks can be small and relatively mild or may be deep cracks that extend the length of the horse’s hoof. Severe quarter cracks can cause lameness, as well as predisposing the horse to problems such as hoof capsule abscesses.
Quarter cracks normally start at the top of the hoof by the coronary band, running vertically downwards. They may extend part way or all of the way down the hoof.
The name quarter crack comes from the fact that they most commonly occur in the heel quarter of the hoof. Is the quarter of the hoof wall that is towards the back of the horse’s leg, either side of the frog.
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What Causes A Quarter Crack In Horse Hoof?
Quarter cracks in horses can occur for a variety of reasons, but most of them are man-made or as a result of the work we ask our horses to carry out.
Damage to the coronary band can cause quarter cracks, as the hoof growth is compromised. These cracks can often manifest as deformed growth, and will not resolve until the coronary band injury is healed.
Poor limb confirmation is also a common cause of quarter cracks in horses. This is a result of imbalances caused by problems such as offset knees, contractual abnormalities such as club foot, and rotational deviations of the limb. These all lead to distortion of the hoof capsule, making it weaker and more prone to breakage.
Another mechanical cause of quarter cracks in horses is poor foot balance, as a result of gait abnormalities or poor hoof care. When the hoof is not correctly balanced, pressure is put on one side of the hoof wall, leading to cracks.
The health of the hoof capsule also plays a large part in the prevalence of quarter cracks in horses. Horses that live in poor conditions, such as on damp, dirty bedding, will have reduced hoof wall quality. This leads to an increase of problems such as bacterial and fungal infections, further weakening the hoof wall.
How Are Quarter Cracks In Horse Hoof Treated?
The problem with quarter cracks in horses is that they can take a long time to resolve. The crack cannot be repaired, so it is necessary to support the hoof wall while the hoof grows and the crack is replaced by healthy tissue. In an ideal world, the horse would be fully rested from work while this occurs, but this is not always possible.
The first step to treating the problem of quarter cracks in horses is to address the underlying cause. Without this, the cracks will continue to appear, regardless of the treatment that is used.
So, if the horse has quarter cracks due to conformational abnormalities or inadequate hoof care, remedial shoeing will be necessary to support the hoof wall. Any hygiene issues such as wet, soiled bedding must also be addressed, and any fungal or bacterial infections should be treated.
Radiographs may also be used to assess the position of the hoof capsule in relation to the body structures underneath. This can help the veterinarian and farrier work together to address problems such as poor foot balance.
In severe cases, the crack will need to be stabilized to prevent it from widening. This is because the crack is forced open every time the horse bears weight on the limb. Methods used to stabilize quarter cracks in horses include glue, hoof wall patches, fillers, and wiring the crack together with screws.
Summary – Quarter Crack In Horse Hoof
So, as we have learned, a quarter crack in horse hoof normally start at the top of the hoof by the coronary band, running vertically downwards. They may extend part way or all of the way down the hoof, and can be shallow or deep. Quarter cracks in horses can take a long time to resolve, as it is necessary to support the hoof wall while the hoof grows and the crack is replaced by healthy tissue.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how to deal with a quarter crack in horse hoof! Do you have a horse that commonly suffers from quarter cracks in its hooves? Or maybe you’ve got some questions about the best way to prevent cracks in your horses hooves? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
What Does A Quarter Crack Look Like On A Horse?
A quarter crack will be found towards the back of the horses hoof, in the section of the hoof wall underneath the heel bulbs. The crack normally starts at the top of the hoof at the coronary band. It may extend part of the way down the hoof wall, or right to the bottom.
What To Do When Your Horse Has A Cracked Hoof?
If your horse has a cracked hoof, you should seek advice from your veterinarian and farrier. Depending on the severity of the crack, it may be necessary to carry out remedial farriery work. Even a mild crack can quickly develop into a severe and long-standing problem, so it is best to not ignore the issue.
How Do You Treat A Quarter Crack In A Horse?
A quarter crack in a horse can be a difficult problem to treat, and often requires long-term treatment. This can include specialist shoes to spread the weight of the horse over the entire hoof, and wire, glue or fillers to hold the crack together while the hoof wall grows.
How Long Does It Take To Heal A Quarter Crack?
The length of time it takes for a quarter crack to heal will depend on the severity and extent of the crack. Hoof wall grows at around 1/4 inch per month, so it can be a long, slow process waiting for a quarter crack to grow out.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE