Proper care of a horses hooves is one of the three basics for a healthy horse (the other two are appropriate diet and regular worm control). Qualified farriers are experts in trimming hooves correctly, and should be your first call for problems. Often, correcting problems requires the farrier and the vet to work together to solve them. When correctly trimmed, the hoof wall should touch the ground all the way around, the angle of the front of the hoof wall (when viewed from the side) should be the same as the angle of the pastern (ie a straight line from fetlock to the ground in front), and when looking at the hoof from in front it should slope evenly both sides to the ground without flaring in or out. Underneath, there should be no diseased or dead tissue on the frog which should be the normal shape; the bars should be level with the hoof wall at the outer edge and taper to the sole level at the front; the sole should be concave and below the hoof wall level (so it doesnt take direct weight) as well as having most dead sole (flakey and cracked) removed; and all sharp edges on the edge of the hoof wall rounded off.
Preventing hoof problems is dependant on a correct diet, and regular (every 6 to 8 weeks) trimming of your horses hooves by a qualified farrier. Some horses have quite crumbly soft hoof walls, and require their diet to be supplemented with things like MSM, Biotin, Calcium, Zinc and Methionine to achieve a healthy hoof. Avoid at all costs damage to the periople at the hairline (coronet).
There are numerous problems that can occur with horses hooves from injuries to lack of attention. Treatment of each problem should be discussed with your farrier and your vet. Hoof cracks are a common problem, yet each one is different – different depth of crack, location on the hoof, lengths and causes. Treatment of these basically revolves around one or more of the following: Dietary supplements; Notching the upper limit of the crack; Altering weight-bearing surface of the hoof to avoid weight taken at the crack site (remove a portion of the wall at the crack site/rubber or plastic pads to take weight away from crack site); Stabilising the crack with clips/screws/wire sutures and hoof repair materials (fibreglass/epoxy resins/acrylics); Corrective/Special shoeing (bar shoes).