The horse’s body really is a wonder for many reasons. Given their structure and build, it is amazing what they are able to do. The frog, in the hoof, is one of the structures that contribute to all that horses are capable of. As a horse person, you know the importance of keeping hooves clean, free of debris and dry to prevent injury and infection. After all, the hoof is obviously an important part of your horse’s body-it is often said, “No hoof, no horse!” But do you know why the frog is so important and the amazing things it does for your horse? The role of the frog is a big one- shock absorption, blood flow, protection, coordination and traction.
Shock absorption- The frog is elastic with high moisture content and is filled with blood. It takes some of the force of impact away from the rest of the foot and leg by adding cushion as it lands.
Blood flow- When pressure is put on the hoof, the frog compresses veins, pushing deoxygenated blood up the leg. In this way the frog acts like a pump, helping to circulate blood, keeping the feet and legs healthy. It also affects the health of the whole body, as it contributes to the circulatory system helping to keep blood moving.
Protection- There are important structures just below the frog that it provides protection for. The frog has a high moisture content making it a spongy cushion that shields the digital cushion, deep digital flexor tendon, bursa and navicular bone at impact.
Coordination & Traction- The heal of the frog has sensory nerve endings, much like finger tips, that feel the ground. They help the horse to be aware of where their feet are, as well as the condition of the ground. Therefore, in snow and ice, barefoot horses tend to have better contact with the ground.
With these important roles for the frog to fill, it is vital to keep your horses’ hooves and the frog, healthy. Controlling the environment, regular farrier visits and exercise can all contribute to a healthy hoof. Emerald Valley has products that can assist you in maintaining and improving the health of your horse’s hooves. BTB Hoof with Devil’s Claw and Hawthorn to support circulation and manage discomfort from normal exercise. Formula 4 Feet, with over 65 micronutrients to benefit poor horn quality, cracked hooves, weak heels and founder. Solution 4 Feet is a disinfectant and hoof dressing in one, to help destroy hoof eating microbes, while also maintaining the correct state of hydration for the hoof.
Extension University of Missouri (extenstion.missouri.edu/publications/g2740)
the HORSE (thehorse.com/136542/equine-hoof-the-flourishing-frog/
Butler Professional Farrier School (butlerprofessionalfarrierschool.com/archives/1991)