How to Harden Horse Hooves Naturally? Effective Ways!

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 03/15/23 •  6 min read

Hoofs are like the tires on a car.

They support the weight of the horse and allow them to move around. 

But, just like tires, hooves can wear out over time. And the worst part? They become vulnerable to damage if not correctly cared for. Brittle, weak, or soft feet can ruin your horse’s confidence so badly.

The last thing you as an equine lover can imagine, right?

If so, it’s time to help harden them naturally.

Fortunately, you can take several simple steps to strengthen your horse’s hooves and help them stay healthy. Like a properly balanced diet, regular hoof maintenance, and exercise, you can also use natural remedies to harden your horse’s hooves

Let’s dive deep into how to harden horse hooves naturally and keep them strong and healthy!

What will happen if the hooves of the horse hooves get hard too much?

Too much hardness in the hoof will bring a lot of problems. Such as…..

Painful lameness: 

Hard hooves are the main reason for lameness. As a result, the horse may develop bruises or other injuries due to the lack of shock absorption. As a result, it turns into cracks, chips, and splits in the hoof wall.

Unstable walking:

When the sole has become excessively hard and rigid, you will see your riding companion is facing walking difficulties. The Discomfort or even pain makes it more difficult for them to move around comfortably.

A decrease in traction on soft or slippery surfaces:

Hard Hooves have less flexibility and grip than healthy hooves. As it is also more likely to develop fissures, it reduces traction. As a consequence, they have a hard time maintaining their footing.

why you should soften horse hooves before trimming

How can I make my horse’s feet harder naturally?

You probably heard that old proves your grandparents used to say a lot….

Nature helps us to heal more than anything else.

And that’s true!

Natural treatments often take a holistic approach to health. Not just for humans, but for horses too. Here are some tips to help to promote overall wellness and improve the horse’s ability to heal the hoof itself. 

#1 Proper diet is a key

Food is fuel.

A balanced diet with plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals can help strengthen your horse’s hooves. Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, zinc, and other key nutrients have been scientifically proven to support healthy hoof growth and hardening. 

So, how do you provide them to your horse?

Well, you can get all these nutrient sources from hay, grasses, grains, and supplements. Let’s not forget……

Nutrition is paramount to ensuring the health of your horse’s hooves. Inadequate nutrition can lead to brittle and weak hooves. So, try to ensure healthy eating habits for developing solid hooves in horses.

#2 A little bit of Exercise can make a huge difference

Regular exercise is so handy for naturally strengthening your horse’s hooves. 

When your horse works out regularly on different surfaces (hillsides or mountain areas) with gravel or mud, it automatically toughens the sole. This will help the hoof wall become dense and strong.

#3 Try natural remedies

Natural remedies are cheap and most importantly available at your home. Here are Some natural remedies that can be used for hardening the horse hoof…..

Apple cider vinegar: Soaking the feet in a solution of apple cider vinegar can increase circulation. Vinegar also strengthens soft hooves due to its antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties.

Essential oils: Essential oils have some cool magical properties that help to heal. Natural oils that are good for horse hooves are….

These oils keep the hoofs sanitized and free from any harmful bacteria.

Epsom salt: 

Surprised a little it? Epsom salt soaking can also be beneficial for reducing inflammation and promoting healthy circulation. 

Beeswax and honey:

We all know honey has anti-bacterial properties. Applying it on hooves promotes healthy growth and prevents cracking and chipping.

Take care of your pony’s living conditions

The area where your horse is kept has a major role in its hoof health.

Obviously, it should be properly maintained.

Wet, muddy areas can soften and weaken the feet. Try to provide a dry place for your horse to rest its feet when not active. 

Hoof care

Always be in touch with a qualified professional farrier to assess your horses to check hoofs like….

Apart from that you should check in on your horse’s feet regularly so that any potential issues are caught early before they affect you hugely.

Can I put coconut oil on my horse’s hooves?

Yes, you can!

In fact, Coconut oil is an excellent natural way to help protect your horse’s hoof wall. 


It helps lock in moisture while providing a protective barrier against external irritants. The benefits of putting coconut oil on the hoof are numerous. Simply because it is enriched with vitamins C & E, which help nourish the skin and hoof of your horse. 

Here is the coolest part……

It helps retain moisture within the hoof wall, thus helping to reduce any potential cracks or dryness. Not to mention, coconut oil has some anti-fungal properties that help protect against thrush or white-line disease. 

But first warning…….

When applying coconut oil to your horse’s hooves, ensure that the hoof is free of dirt and debris. Start by taking a small amount of coconut oil in your hands and gently massage it into the foot until evenly distributed. 

Can I put coconut oil on my horse's hooves

Is vaseline good for horses’ hooves?

Vaseline is not usually good for horse hooves but can be used in certain situations. 

There is no denying that Vaseline has a very high mineral oil content, which can lead to softening of the hoof wall if applied excessively and left on over extended periods. 

Sometimes, vaseline can protect the hoof from thrush and other bacterial infections. It works best when put on the foot after it has been cleaned well and with an antibacterial agent like iodine or Epsom salt.

But the problem is…..

It has pine tar, toxic to horses, and other ingredients that can dry the hoof.

Additionally, vaseline should not be left on for extended periods so that it doesn’t cause the hoof to become too soft.

Bonus care for healthy hoof for horse

A regular hoof care routine lets you keep your horse’s hooves strong. Here are some tips for proper hoof care:

  1. Trim your horse’s hooves regularly to keep them at a healthy length and shape.
  2. Provide adequate bedding for your horse to reduce wear on their feet.
  3. Allow your horse access to pasture to get the movement needed for healthy hooves.
  4. Supplements can be added to a horse’s diet to help strengthen their hooves from the inside out.
  5. Use hoof boots or shoes to protect the hooves when riding on hard or rocky terrain.
  6. Do maintain regular farrier visits every 4-6 weeks to trim and balance the hooves.

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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