As of this writing, Big Brown has underwent a scare with regard to his feet and the appearance of a quarter crack in his hoof. It has been well noted in the press that Big Brown has a history of problems with his feet so, though this comes as no surprise to those who follow horse racing, it is still scary and potentially disappointing to hear a horse on the brink of history may be derailed. However, according to the Thoroughbred Times, Big Brown went to the track this morning after having his hoof repaired by the veterinarian and horse shoer.
So what is a quarter crack? (According to Farrier, John Silveira)
Quarter cracks are vertical cracks in the hairline or coronary band of the horses hoof. They can be large or small, they can bleed and they can make a horse lame. Since the crack is sometimes an open sore its best treated in some way. Depending on the causes of the cracks they don’t all heal by themselves unless something specific is done.
The problem with dealing with quarter cracks is the movement and stresses put on the foot that spread the crack and prevent it from mending. If the horse becomes lame the problem usually can’t be ignored.
There are several types of fixes requiring a bit of skill and expertise in order to achieve a mend and recovery. There are also several reasons that quarter cracks occur as well – becoming aware of the reasons can go along way toward prevention.
Quarter cracks can be caused by a thin hoof wall (a genetic disposition) as well as low under slung heels combined with too long of toe. Uneven balances all contribute to the possibilities. When the heels of the horse are too low and the toe too long the downward pressure from the weight of the horse on the hoof is misplaced and the foot gets stressed in a certain point – the crack is the result. Obviously a horse involved in hard work and stressing the feet can be susceptible.
Shoeing the horse correctly is one of the first places to start for prevention.
The fixes are where things can get tricky – actually correct shoeing can be tricky as well but quarter crack lacing and repair is usually not an easy task. Probably the simplest method of repair is by just cutting the hoof wall directly under the crack where the hoof touches the shoe and creating a gap between the shoe and hoof there. By creating the gap the hoof at the area of the quarter crack no longer takes a pounding which keeps the crack open – in essence the area “Floats” giving the crack a chance to mend. This method works pretty well.
Horseshoeing And Quarter Cracks – Causes And Fixes
Here is another source of information regarding quarter cracks.
Hopefully this is the only negative news we hear in the days leading up to the 140th Belmont Stakes.