There are many things that go into the making of healthy hooves... Far beyond the trim itself
Some of the basic things to take into consideration are...
Consistency. Keeping hooves healthy requires consistent trims. Allowing hooves to get overgrown between trims can lead to many hoof issues that can take months to fix, so it’s important to keep your horses on a steady hoof care schedule with a competent trimmer who will adapt to the needs of your horse. Most horses work best on a six to eight week schedule, but there are special cases that require shorter intervals.
Movement. One huge factor for healthy hooves is movement. This can come from its living environment as well as its exercise/riding routine. Give your horse as much space to live in as possible, and work or ride your horse as much as you can, because the more exercise your horse gets, the better his hooves will develop.
Living Environment. Keep your horses’ pen as clean and dry as possible. Nothing can breed bacteria and thrush quite like living on manure. Wet ground will keep your horse’s hooves from callousing and toughening up. Try to make sure that your horses’ living quarters have good drainage. Varying the texture of the ground that your horse lives on is another great way to build awesome hooves. Adding pea gravel to a spot in their corral will help your horse exfoliate the dead tissue as it needs to shed off.
Diet. Sugar is a hoof’s worst enemy, so try to stay away from sweet grains that are full of sugar and starch. A simple diet of grass hay, fed as often as possible is a good place to start.
Hoof Protection. If you plan on riding or working your horse, it’s always a good idea to keep a set of well-fitted hoof boots on hand, especially if you ever ride in terrain that is harder or rockier than the environment where your horse actually lives. If you ride up in the mountains, your barefoot horse will have far better traction than a horse with shoes, even with rubber hoof boots, and your horse will thank you for that added protection on ground that his hooves are not conditioned for.
This is just a brief overview; Each horse is different, just as every situation is unique, and very few of us have the luxury of providing the “perfect ideal” for our horses, so we all have to do the best we can with what we have available to us. I’m always happy to answer whatever questions I can, but you can also check out some of the links on my “resources” page for more in-depth information