ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Horse Hoof Color

Updated on March 31, 2014
DonnaCSmith profile image

Donna Campbell Smith is a published author, freelance writer, and photographer. She also specializes in horses.

One striped hoof and three white hooves.
One striped hoof and three white hooves.

Horses do not have much variety in foot color, unless they happen to be owned by little girls who like to embellish them with polishes, then they may even glitter. But, the natural colors of the horse’s hooves are basic white, black or brown, and combinations of the two called striped or parti-colored hooves. Not saddled with fashion mores of humans, they can wear mix-matched combinations with one horse sometimes sporting hooves of different colors on each leg.

The color of the horse’s hoof is determined above the hoof at the coronet band. The coronet is the live tissue from which the hoof tissue grows. The hoof grows from the coronet down. The color of the skin at the coronet band will follow down into the hoof. So, a leg with white markings down to the coronet band will usually follow through with a white hoof and a dark leg will normally end with a dark colored hoof. If the coronet band has black spots, also known as distal spots or ermine spots, there will be dark stripes on the hoof below the spot. Some breeds characteristically have striped hooves, such as the Appaloosa and other multi-colored horses, and horses and ponies with the silver dapple gene.

You will also notice that the stripes on the horse’s hoof are always vertical, never horizontal. The reason for this is that pigment follows the horn tubules, which run vertically down the hoof wall.

Nutrition and good hoof care will accentuate the intensity of the hoof’s color. Adding a fat supplement to the horse’s feed such as oil or black oil sunflower seeds will give the hoof a natural glossy surface. Cleaning the hooves with a brush and wet sponge, then applying a hoof dressing when making a public appearance is a nice grooming touch. There are various hoof polishes, comparable to women’s nail polishes, on the market. These are often used on show horses, but can be damaging to the hoof if not removed immediately after the event.

Old writings and folklore say white hooves are weaker than dark hooves. But there is no scientific backing to that lore. It is a myth that color has anything to do with the strength or weakness of the hoof, so whether dark, light or striped, it really doesn’t make any difference in hoof quality.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Rick Benningfield profile image

      Rick Benningfield 

      4 weeks ago from North Texas

      I have worked on horses feet for 48 years and this is the best article that I can remembering reading, Thanks! Please do remember that the hoof wall is not bone but are millions of tubules that are interlaced and in turn are laced to the foot and all of the way to the coffin bone (P3) The crack usually occurs from a compression strike causing a separation on the interlacings (What is referred to as a crack) Most Farriers know how to deal with this problem.

    • profile image

      angel121 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting, goes to tell my childs teacher "put that in yooripe and smoke it!!" think they need to read things like this befoe waffleing on a load of garbage at school

    • profile image

      Pepper 

      8 years ago

      Very informative and handy. Thanks.

    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 

      8 years ago

      Very nice, and informative Hub! Keep up the good work!

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 

      8 years ago from Central United States of America

      How interesting a tidbit here! I just love these simple kinda off-the-wall bits of info. Thanks for cute realistic fun!

    • profile image

      proudgrandpa 

      8 years ago

      Donna, you are always sharing interesting but very obscure information. I love horses but I never gave thought to their hooves. I have watched my neighbors dress and shoe their horses when they kept them on our farm to graze but I had no idea of the intricacies involved. Thanks for an interesting post. NEIL

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)