Hoof walls are the protective shell that encase and protect the sensitive internal structures of the hoof. Let's talk about hoof walls.
Horses' hooves are made up of over 90% protein in the form of keratin, the same protein that forms human hair and fingernails.
Keratin is the toughest biological tissue; it forms the beaks and claws of birds, the shells of tortoises and the outer sheath of the horns of mammals such as deer and bison.
A typical horse hoof grows about 6–9 mm (roughly ¼ to ½ inch) per month, averaging 9 months to 1 year to completely grow out a whole new hoof.
Hoof Walls in layers:
-Periople is the flaking or crusty looking stuff on the outer hoof wall, on some horses it’s more obvious than others. It's not very pretty but it’s actually there for a reason. It helps to lock in moisture and protect the more sensitive area where the coronet and hoof meet. This upper part of the wall is actually much closer to blood supply, more sensitive and more prone to injury.
-The outer layer of wall (Stratum Medium) is the pigmented outermost rim of the wall when seen from the sole. It is there to protect the inner walls and to prevent moisture from escaping.
-The inner wall layer (Stratum Internum) is the white rim of wall just inside the pigmented wall when seen from the sole. It is the densest layer and has a higher moisture content than the outer layer.
-The lamina shows as a very small slightly yellow rim inside the white inner wall rim. It is in two layers that are locked together like velcro attaching the hoof wall to the internal structures of the hoof. In a horse with metabolic issues or laminitis what should be a tight little line can look like a bunch of frayed hairs or like a ditch of missing material. Usually dietary changes are necessary to treat stretched lamina.
For optimal wall and overall hoof health, diet, environment, and trim are key. For dry, brittle hooves you can apply Pure Sole Hoof Oil to strengthen and seal in moisture. To treat or prevent bacteria and fungus from taking hold in cracks, splits, or white line separation, you can pack in Pure Sole Wax or apply Pure Sole Hoof Mud.