In fact, horse hooves are an amazing feat of engineering. To keep a horse healthy, the hooves are extremely intricate and consist of numerous elements. As blood is pumped via the arteries towards the hoof, which then physically expands and contracts to pump the blood back up to the heart, the hooves are even linked to the heart. But what material do horse hooves consist of? Let’s investigate!
What Are Horse Hooves Made-Up Of?
You might be surprised to learn that the horse’s hoof is one of its most intricately designed components, and even a minor injury to it can result in serious harm and discomfort for your horse. For this reason, having sturdy hooves is crucial. Horse hooves are naturally composed of the protein keratin. The same fibrous protein is also present in wool, feathers, horse hooves, hair, and nails. Keratin is a crucial protective substance that can shield delicate tissues from damage.
The same is true for fingernails as it is for horse hooves. Similar to how a horse’s hooves guard its feet and legs from injury, our fingernails shield our nail beds from harm. Horse hooves, however, are not entirely made-up of keratin. Horses require routine hoof trimming procedures since the bulk of the outside structure is made up of keratin, which develops continually like fingernails. In addition to protecting the feet and giving the horse stability when moving and standing, other components of the hoof are formed of tissue, bone, nerves, and tendons.
A hoof is made up of several different components, but we’ll start with the hoof wall. The external hoof structure that supports and guards the internal hoof components is known as the hoof wall.
There are no nerves or blood vessels in this area, which supports the weight of the horse. As a result, here is where the horseshoe is nailed into the keratinous portion of the hoof. The coronary band is located where the hairline meets the hoof. The periople, which defends the hoof wall, comes next. There is also the inner wall, which cushions impacts and shields the hoof’s inside. The sole is located beneath the hoof, but because of its concave design, it does not touch the ground. You will see the frog by looking at the underside of a hoof.
This is the V-shaped feature that protrudes from the hoof’s heel downward. This delicate area of the hoof cushions the feet and aids in the horse’s understanding of the terrain.
Additionally, you’ll see bars running along the frog that curve inward at the heel to strengthen the heels and aid with weight support. The central sulcus, which is broad and shallow beneath, will then be visible.
There is a digital cushion at the innermost portion of the hoof, immediately below the coffin bone. One of the foot’s most important shock absorbers is this one. The bottom bone inside the hoof is known as the coffin bone. The navicular bone, which is located immediately beneath the coffin bone, helps to stabilize the hoof so that the horse won’t trip when traveling on uneven ground.
Do Horses Experience Hoof Pain?
Depending on where the discomfort is in the hoof, yes. Horses can feel pain in their hooves if there is injury to the internal parts of the hoof. For instance, a number of conditions, such as laminitis, puncture wounds, infections, scrapes, thrush, bruising, cankers, fractures, or navicular disease, may have an impact on a horse’s hooves. If a horse is affected, these could hurt their hooves. The hoof’s outer structure, which lacks nerve endings, is all that is involved in walking on the hooves and fitting horseshoes, thus the horse is neither harmed or in pain.
In conclusion, horse hooves are among the most intricate structures ever created by Mother Nature. They consist of a variety of elements, including bone, tendons, and tissues. Horse hooves are primarily comprised of keratin, the same protein that makes up hair, nails, and horns. This serves as a safeguard, ensuring the foot and hoof are safe and secure at all times, allowing horses to stand, walk, and run without discomfort and with the support they need to stay healthy.