tips for your horse's coronary band

The Horse’s Coronary Band – What it is and How to Care for it!


For a complete guide to leg and hoof grooming, this article has you covered!


  • The horse’s coronary band is quite literally where the rubber meets the road. Er, where the hoof meets your horse. You can basically say that your horse’s hoof literally grows out of the coronary band.


the periople of the hoof under the hair


Anatomy of your horse’s coronary band.


  • The coronary band is loaded with blood vessels inside the coronary corium. This is the part of the hoof growing complex that generates new cells, and then pushes them out into the world. This is how the keratin hoof wall is made.


  • Also inside the coronary band are long sections of corium called papillae. These papillae are designed as long tubules that transport nutrients through the hoof wall.


  • As the coronary band creates new hoof tissues, the cells don’t pop out fully functional and hard. They spend some time getting harder under the periople. This protective covering is just below the covering band and keeps the newly formed hoof wall safe.


fully clipped lower leg showing the coronary bad and periople

Inspecting coronary bands when your horse’s legs are clipped is EASY.


Common problems associated with the coronary band.


  • Aside from your run-of-the-mill cuts and scraps that pop up, you may also find more serious situations.




  • Gravel is a lovely term used to describe an abscess that blows out the top of the hoof. Typically, a horse will have a speck of something, like sand, that works it way into your horse’s white line. Sometimes, this turns into an infection inside the hoof wall. Besides being wildly painful as the infection grows upward, it often pops out of the coronary band.


  • Gravel can also happen under the bars off the hoof, towards the heels. This is also quite painful, and the resulting infection might pop out of the rear of the hoof, towards the heel bulbs.


finger print size wound on horse's heel

This knucklehead horse likes to whack himself.


Quarter cracks.


  • Quarter cracks are one particular hoof crack that originate at the coronary band, between the toe and the back of the hoof, on either the inside or outside of the hoof. Quarter cracks have tons of causes, from conformation to impact injuries to improper hoof care to a coronary band injury. These hoof cracks are full thickness of the hoof wall, and super tricky to heal. As your horse moves, the hoof flexes and contracts, stressing the quarter crack.


  • It’s easy to see the beginnings of some quarter cracks. You might see a bruise or a sore on the coronary band, or the beginnings of a small crack. Do get your Farrier and Vet involved pronto if you suspect a quarter crack. Many cracks need to be sewn shut or have metal plates hold them together.


Interference and other self-inflicted injuries.


  • Horses are also experts at overreach injuries, in which care the hind hoof clips the front leg, often landing on the heel bulb or coronary band. Bell boots often help horses that love to perform this particular stunt protected.


getting a close clip of the coronary band

Clip just a little with the clippers UP so that you can easily see what’s going on.


How to groom your horse’s coronary band.


  • There’s really no special reason to “groom” your horse’s coronary band, but you do need to spend time every day making sure it’s not injured. Because the coronary band is filled with blood vessels and serves such a critical function, even the smallest injury can influence your horse’s soundness. Some coronary band injuries cause permanent disfigurements and abnormalities to the hoof, and may even cause permanent lameness.


  • The easiest way to inspect your horse’s coronary band is just like taking care of the rest of him, using your hands and eyes. It’s also handy to have a pair of trimmers or clippers, so that you can clean any wounds as you find them.


clipping the coronary band with blades pointed down

Give your horse a bowl cut.


How to trim around the top of the hoof.


  • Horses that have their lower legs clipped have clearly visible coronary bands. This is super easy for visual inspections, as well as keeping the entire leg clean. You can also trim up your horse’s coronary band with some trimmers or clippers. I use a #10 blade, and you can do things a few different ways.


  • You can point your clippers down and just chop off the bottom of the coronary band. This is a bit like giving your horse a bowl cut.


  • With the clippers pointed down, you can rake the coronary band to “take a little off the top” as if you were blending the hair.


  • Alternatively, point your clipper blades up and to grab a little more hair.


All of these techniques make it easier to stay on top of your horse’s hoof health. You don’t always have to groom your horse like he’s going to the Olympics, just double check on all of the important parts. Like the coronary band.


go shopping button for horse products


For easy shopping on trimmers for coronary bands (and other things!), shop here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which means that you are not charged extra! I thank you for your support.

Wahl Professional Animal Bravura Lithium Clipper – this includes the 5 in 1 blade that goes from a #9 to a #40. Perfect for designs!

I also like the more affordable (and cute) Arco, which also comes with the 5 in 1 blade.

Wahl Professional Animal ARCO with 5 in 1 blade

The Chromado trimmers are an option, too.