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A Year in The Life of a Hoof

When it comes to supporting healthy hoof growth, there are many factors to consider, but the one most horse owners forget is patience! Cracking, crumbling, chipping hooves are not a pretty sight, so many riders start their horses on a hoof supplement hoping for a quick fix. Unfortunately, just like our own fingernails, the hoof wall is mostly composed of dead tissue, so it can’t mend and heal. Instead, damaged sections have to be regrown and replaced, and even with the best supplement and farrier care, that’s going to take time.
How much time? Use our handy timeline to help you set realistic expectations.

Month 1
Hoof growth rates vary from horse to horse according to a number of factors, including nutrition, maintenance, exercise/activity, climate, environment, and even time of year. However, the expected rate of growth will generally average 1/4” of new hoof per month. Since new growth starts at the coronary band, after the first month, you’ll only see a small strip of new, healthy hoof wall.

Month 4
At four months, your horse’s hooves should have about one full inch of healthy growth at the top of the hoof wall. Keep in mind that this still leaves about three to four inches of older, “pre-healthy” hoof wall. This older section is never going to repair itself; you simply have to wait for it to grow all the way out. So don’t be discouraged if well over half your horse’s hoof still looks a little rough.

Top picks for healthier hooves

SmartHoof® Pellets

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Farrier's Formula® Double Strength

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SmartHoof® Ultra Pellets

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Month 8
You’re over the halfway point now! A new heel should have fully grown in at this point, and you should see about two inches of healthy tissue extending down the front of the toe. (Heels don’t grow faster than toes, they’re just closer to the ground, so they’re fully grown out much more quickly.)

Month 12
You did it! You waited it out, stuck with your supplement, environmental management, and farrier care, and now you’re rewarded with a totally new, healthy hoof wall. Your horse now has the solid foundation he needs to perform his best. Give yourself a pat on the back, then go for a ride — you deserve it! Don’t forget that maintenance is a big part of healthy hoof care, so keep up with your supplement, management, and farrier care!

“Foot” Note: While hoof growth rates are generally consistent across breeds, the overall
hoof length will definitely vary from Shetland to Shire (and everything in between).

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11 comments on “A Year in The Life of a Hoof
  1. Laura says:

    I would like to see the same time line photos on a natural hoof without shoes, polishing, or paint. I’ve had my horse on Farrier’s Formula from Smart Pak for about 4 months now. What my farrier says is good healthy growth and exactly what he wants to see looks all scruffy to me. However, he did take pictures of my mare’s hooves to put on his facebook page!

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Laura, thanks for your comment, and good for you for choosing such a great hoof supplement for your mare! This timeline was actually created with a digital illustration, to clearly illustrate the changes you might expect to see, so it’s not surprising that your mare’s hooves aren’t quite matching up 🙂 With regard to what you should actually expect to see, it’s a bit tough to say because every horse is different. Your mare’s hooves will always look their best right after they’ve been filed down, but that smoothness isn’t going to last (just think of all the things your mare’s hooves are exposed to every single day!). Some of our favorite examples of healthy hooves come from our previously featured supplement success stories, Jeffie (, Keeper (, and Paddy ( As you can see, while they all have healthy hooves, each hoof looks a bit different.
      As long as your farrier is pleased with the quality he’s seeing, and your mare’s hooves aren’t showing signs of weakness, like cracking, chipping or crumbling, you should feel confident that the Farrier’s Formula is doing its job and your mare’s hooves are happy and healthy (even if they’re still a little “scruffy”). – SmartPaker Sarah

  2. Patricia Valdez says:

    Love the hoof information. I have a registered paint mare 16.5 hands tall, and she has light colored hooves, and really needs a good supplement.

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Patricia, thanks for your comment! Your veterinarian and farrier are your two greatest resources when it comes to caring for your mare’s hooves, because they know her individual needs. However, we can provide you with some general advice.
      When it comes to building a strong foundation for healthy hooves, there are a few key ingredients you can look for – biotin, amino acids like lysine and methionine, and minerals like zinc and copper. If your goal is to provide a little extra support and maintain the overall health of your mare’s hooves, SmartHoof® ( is a great choice. It’s been reviewed by over 280 riders and rated an average 4.6 out of 5 stars. If your mare is struggling with weak, unhealthy hooves, she may benefit from the more aggressive nutritional support provided by SmartHoof® Ultra (, which also has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating, based on over 180 reviews. When you order either of these products in SmartPaks, they are Guaranteed to Work – if you don’t see results in two months, we’ll give you your money back, no questions asked.
      Want to find the perfect supplements for your mare? Give our Wizard a try ( or call our experts at 1-888-752-5171 – they’re always happy to help! – SmartPaker Sarah

  3. Susan says:

    I have used several hoof supplements over the past 2 years. I finally found Formula 707 Hoof Supplement. I’ve used Formula 707 for the past 4 months and my farrier was so surprised. She was able to trim a decent amount off the hoof. My gelding’s hoofs always chipped off and broke off even on the other 2 supplements. I put my other gelding on this supplement 2 months ago and his hoofs have improved. I highly recommend Formula 707 Hoof Supplement. I buy from the company directly since our local feed stores don’t carry this product.

  4. Fran says:

    The first comment made me think. When you add a supplement, do you see an increase in periople growth? That might be what she thinks looks scruffy, but it’s a good thing. I wonder if different supplements would stimulate periople growth differently or noticeably. Have any of the supplement manufacturers documented that?

  5. Mary Watson says:

    The vet cut my horses hoof back to the top and said it should heal and it started healing rapidly,but then it split again.

  6. Max says:

    Hey i could really do with some expert advice on my horses hooves my farrier always tells me how healthy and strong they are and they have always done a great job but recently when i ride hes clicking his back hooves together can anyone tell me why this might be? He only does it in trot.

    • SBL says:

      He’s just brushing his hooves. This is a very common problem. Use ground poles to get him to pay attention to where his feet are and until he grows out of it, use bell boots to protect the hoof. Best of luck!

  7. Max says:

    He naturally stands in a bit closer at the back thats how his conformation is but why would he suddenly start clicking his feet now could it be due to bad shoeing any advice would be much appreciated!

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Thank you for your question, Max. There are many reasons a horse’s hind legs may be have this issue. Interference can be caused by conformation, shoeing, training, etc and may be more common if your horse is tired. Since every individual horse and situation will be different, we’d recommend working closely with your veterinarian and farrier to put together the best plan for your horse.

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