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Sand cracks

Hoof wall splits and quarter cracks can be difficult to manage in a horse during the competitive season.

Often, continued build-up of soil and sand within the crack wedges it open as the hoof quarters expand at each footfall, even in horses with barefoot trimming.

What can you do to help?

Where a sand crack opens up from the grounded edge of the hoof wall, often trimming the hoof and even applying a shoe may help to stabilise the crack.

To prevent sand compacting into the cracks, you could try filling the cracks with silastic window or bathroom sealant.

Simply brush out the sand and carefully pick it out from the depths of the crack with a hoof nail. Then apply iodine solution and allow it to soak for 5 minutes to reduce bacterial contamination before applying the silastic sealant. Swab the crack and the surrounding hoof wall area with methylated spirits to remove moisture and fat residues. Apply a small amount of dishwashing liquid to the tip of your index finger, or apply latex or thin vinyl gloves, to prevent the sealant sticking to your skin.


  • Often shoes will loosen and be cast more easily during wet weather if the wall around the clinches softens and allows them to indent into the hoof wall. You can seal the clinches using the same silastic sealant technique as for sand cracks.


Adapted from Common Hoof Problems from the website

Reproduced courtesy of the author, Dr John Kohnke BVSc RDA.