The sole is the insensitive protective undersurface of the horse's foot in which are the highly vascular (rich in blood supply) and sensitive (rich in nerve supply) tissues (laminae) that connect the hoof to the pedal bone.
The average horse lives to be approximately 20 years of age, although many ponies and a few horses live for 30 years. Older horses and ponies need a little extra care to ensure that they remain healthy and happy.
Choke is a relatively common condition that occurs when food or a foreign body blocks the horse's esophagus (gullet), which is the tube that takes food from the back of the mouth (pharynx) to the stomach.
The term colic simply means abdominal pain. There are many causes of colic and symptoms range from very mild to violent.
Corns are specific types of bruises of the sole, specifically occurring at the angle of the sole between the hoof wall and the bars, i.e., at the 'seat of corn', most commonly affecting the medial (inside) aspect of the front feet.
Diarrhea means the production of feces that are softer than normal. Normal equine feces are produced in formed, non-offensive smelling, greenish-brown, semi-solid portions that will break up in the hand, revealing varying degrees of fibrous content depending upon diet.
Horses and ponies are efficient herbivores and one of the key adaptations that evolution for a life of grazing has equipped them with is a set of hardwearing and specialized teeth.
In pregnant mares, unlike most other animals, antibodies do not cross the placenta into the foal's blood stream before birth. Therefore, when a foal is born it has no natural defence mechanisms against infection because it has no antibodies, that are the blood's special immune proteins, with which to fight infection.
It is a well recognized saying 'no foot no horse'. Caring for your horse's feet and hooves and ensuring that he is attended to regularly by your farrier will safeguard his long term soundness.
Cracks may form in the horse's hoof wall, usually in a vertical direction, and either originate from the ground surface (sometimes called grass cracks) or, less commonly, from the coronary band (sometimes called sand cracks).