Horse Frog A Natural Shock Absorber
The frog is the horse's natural shock absorber. A rubbery v shaped area located under the horse's hoof the frog needs to be maintained in order for it to continue to function properly. Because it is the softest part of the hoof, the frog can develop a nasty fugal infection called thrush. Thrush will blacken and literally rot out the all important frog leaving your horse footsore. Daily foot cleaning with a hoof pick and stiff hoof brush will help to prevent infection as well as keeping your horse's environment clean. Dirty unkempt stalls and muddy manure filled paddocks are a natural breeding ground for thrush.
If your horse develops thrush despite your best efforts or because of your worst efforts treat it with a hoof treatment that is designed to dry out the frog area and kill off the fungus. Always apply carefully to avoid getting chemicals on the white line at the coronet band (top of the hoof). Some chemicals which while killing the fungus can also harm the white line which affects healthy hoof growth.
Stones tend to lodge in the frog area so always check your horse's feet before and after a ride or other activity. Lodged stones can be carefully pried out with a hoof pick. If there is a cut from the stone wash it out with betadine scrub and apply an antibiotic ointment to avoid infection setting in. If there is a stone bruise your horse will appreciate a few soaks in epsom salts and very warm water until it feels better. You may also need to soak the foot if there was a fairly deep cut or puncture wound.
Take care of this small part of the horse's anatomy because it is a very vital part of hoof health. Without a healthy frog your horse doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Horse Anatomy: The Frog
When you look at a horse standing in front of you, the frog is invisible-you can only see the frog by picking up a hoof and looking at its underside. That V-shaped rubbery-looking dark area, with a cleft in it, is the frog.
But what is the frog, actually, and what does it do?
Let's consider the whole hoof. Horses stand on one toe on each leg. Inside the hoof is a bone just like the last little bone on the end of your finger-it's called the "coffin bone." And just like that bone in your finger, the coffin bone has around it, protecting it, a "fingernail" or "toenail"-the outer hoof wall, the part you see. If you look at your finger end-on, you see that your nail curves a little, in an arc. On horses, this protective "nail", called the hoof wall, grows almost all the way around the hoof. That's the outside "hard part"-dark colored in dark hooves, light colored in light hooves-that you see as a big curve right at the outside of the hoof on the underside. The hoof wall protects, and holds together, the soft tissues and the coffin bone inside the horse's hoof...it is like the sides of a box.