Quarter cracks - talk to me

We are looking at buying a horse who had a quarter crack. He was laid up for a year and a half with special shoes. The crack only resolved once the shoes were removed. The horse has been sound for approximately 4 months with no further cracks and is barefoot. Anyone have experiences they can share? My hope is if we kept the shoes off the horse we wouldn’t have problems with cracks? He isn’t cheap so it’s a risk…just need to know how risky…

I googled it and it said common in TB and not as long time off for other ailments.

I have had TbS my whole life and never had quarter cracks.

That said Dodge came here with a crack down the middle of his hoof with a split at the bottom. He was given to us and had been out of work for months. He was being kept in mud.

We let him go in a paddock with no mud. He had a shoe put on but it kept coming off with poor muddy terrain when it rained so we kept it off. We used hoof oil and a biotin supplement.

It closed and has never reopened. He has been sound. He still does not wear shoes. He has been here and ridden for years now.

He was worth the gamble.

You say yours has healed and sound so I wouldn’t worry too much, as long as you have a good farrier and ride correctly. Paddock accidents can happen to any horse so they are a part of life.

Quarter cracks are caused by an imbalance in the shoeing… they are less likely to happen with a barefoot horse because when the quarters get too long they will break out aka self trim. Shoes don’t let that happen so the from the pressure of being pushed up finally it lets go at the coronary band and there you have the quarter crack. That did not happen because there was a fault in the horse… the fault most likely is from the shoeing set up.

I don’t see a problem with shoes causing the quarter cracks, this issue is the trim and placement of the shoe. I wouldn’t worry about it as long as you had a competent farrier working on the horse.


I’d say QCs are firstly a trimming issue, and then adding shoes just exacerbates the problem because the foot can’t self-trim, which is why the are less common on bare feet.

Is the QC growing out? How far down is the top of the crack?

Breed is irrelevant, but any horse with some inherent weaknesses in the foot could be more prone to a lesser imbalance starting to cause a problem.


I had a horse with recurrent quarter cracks. I used a top notch sporthorse farrier and we would get a good 20 months or so out of it and then the quarter crack would happen again. He had a bit of a clubby foot and even with excellent care and supremely careful management (ie: no tearing around the pasture or indoor) and 24/7 pull on bell boots he’d still get a crack. That was with rebalancing trims every 5 weeks and farrier radiographs regularly. He was always sound on it and once repaired it would grow out just fine… and then 20 months later it would crack again. I spend a lot of $$ on corrective shoes, repairs, epoxy, and maintenance. If I had a choice, I would purchase a horse with four good hooves - this horse had a terrific disposition though, was good looking, and was talented enough to tolerate me. He could not go barefoot because he had thin soles and a negative angle. Would I do it again? Yes, but know going in that proper ongoing farrier care is going to add up quickly. Plus, what else was I going to spend my money on? :slight_smile:


As a cause, as JB says, it’s often farrier related- incorrect trimming prior to applying the shoes. Poor hoof shape (genetic sourced), poor quality weak hooves (genetic) can contribute. Another option is an injury to the coronary band will cause a flaw and weakness in the growth of the wall, and can crack due to that. This issue will often improve with time, but not disappear entirely, and may or may not cause problems/lameness. Again, with good farrier skills, can often be managed effectively. So, “it depends”.

:raising_hand_woman:t4:Another vote for can usually be corrected and prevented with quality farrier work.

I took a chance on a 4 yo TB that came off the track with his toes in another zip code and a quarter crack. I was able to have him evaluated by my very knowledgeable farrier who stated (along with reviewing xrays) that nothing structural was at play and correct trimming and supporting shoes would sort him out. It took about nine months, making up some of his let down time, and he never had another problem from that hoof.

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