Are Horses’ Hooves Similar to Toenails?

David Sanderson Equipment, Food, Preparation & Health

The short answer is yes! Part of the this wall is similar in composition and function to our fingernails and is constantly growing. The hoof is made up by an outer part called the hoof capsule and an inner living part containing soft tissues and bone. As you can probably guess, the outer part protects the sensitive internal hoof tissues.


Differences in the wall

The wall of the hoof can be very thin, or very thick depending on the type of horse, its nutrition and environment. Wild horses wear down hoof growth naturally, but domestic horses require regular trimming by a farrier. The color of the hoof is influenced by the color of the skin above it, so that if a horse has white markings directly above the hoof the hoof itself may carry down the same pigmentation. Many people believe that hooves with black walls are stronger than hooves with white walls.

As you can see here in the video – sometimes the outer part of a horses hoof needs to be filed, and you’ll see the horse wiggling around because it can be sensitive!

Horse Hoof Filing – It tickles!