You may have wondered, what are horse chestnuts on horses? The answer is simple, they are simply a plant similar to a conker. But unlike a conker, a horse chestnut doesn’t function as a part of the horse’s toes. You can either remove a chestnut yourself or hire a professional to do the work for you. To make the process easier, tie your horse up.
In addition to being decorative, horse chestnuts can be painful. You can trim them off by gently snipping them off. They are not dangerous, but a few ergots may have a blood supply and need to be removed. Chestnuts grow continuously throughout your horse’s lifetime. You should not try to trim them off completely because they grow back over time. If they are too long or overgrown, however, you should consult with a veterinarian. He or she will examine your horse’s chestnuts to ensure that there are no complications.
Ergots are similar to horse chestnuts, but they are more prominent. These tiny growths grow from a horse’s fetlock and can be treated by removing them with a sharp knife or nail. Ergots may be as small as a pea, or as large as 1.5 inches. They are commonly found on the front and hind legs, although some horse breeds only have frontal chestnuts.
As a matter of fact, chestnuts are not actually the remnants of a horse’s toes. They are a unique part of the horse’s anatomy, and their size varies from one horse to another. Some horses grow chestnuts quickly, others develop them gradually, and some don’t develop them at all. In ancient rodeo techniques, you can hide a horse chestnut in your pocket.
While they don’t taste like horse taffy, they are still a part of a horse’s diet. While horse chestnuts can’t be eaten by humans, extracts from them can be effective for hemorrhoids and chronic venous insufficiency. They’re also known as spider repellent, which may explain why they appear at the beginning of winter. And while they’re not edible, horse chestnuts are poisonous to smaller animals.
The origin of chestnuts isn’t completely clear, but researchers believe that horse chestnuts originated in an earlier species of multi-toed horses. Eohippus, a modern-period ancestor, had vestigial toes. Although not proven, the theory holds that they developed slowly, and the extra toe was subsequently lost. This makes it hard to identify a horse’s chestnut.
When trimming chestnuts on a horse, remember that the chestnuts are growing and you should never cut them off. In fact, the process can be quite painful for your horse. If you aren’t comfortable trimming the chestnuts, you can always use baby oil or petroleum jelly to soften them. And remember to stop immediately if your horse signals pain or any other signs of injury. A few minutes of petroleum jelly applied to the chestnuts can go a long way.
Ergots and chestnuts are both normal parts of a horse’s body. It may be tempting to trim these areas every time you inspect your horse, but if they grow continuously, you have no reason to worry. It will eventually fall off on its own, but until then, the chestnuts will remain on the horse. A horse’s chestnuts should be flat, dry, and not wet.
Why do horses get chestnuts on their legs?
And that’s the strange thing about a chestnut – it is a perfectly normal part of the equine anatomy. It’s been theorized that the chestnut is a small reminder of either the horse’s long lost toe or a scent gland that has been lost via evolution from the equine ancestor Eohippus.
What is the purpose of chestnuts on horses?
We know that they are unique to each horse and can be used for identification. It is acknowledged that some horses use the front chestnuts to scratch and rub their faces and it is thought that they are a form of scent glands similar to those found on llamas.
Who should not take horse chestnut?
Don’t use it if you have a bowel or stomach disorder. Liver disease: There is one report of liver injury associated with using horse chestnut. If you have a liver condition, it is best to avoid horse chestnut. Latex allergy: People who are allergic to latex might also be allergic to horse chestnut.
Do chestnuts hurt horses?
Chestnuts are a gel-like substance that we think are the remains of horse toes. You’ll see them on the inner knee of the front leg or the inner hock of the back leg. (The hock is the ‘knee’ of the back leg.) Chestnuts are sometimes called night eyes and they’re harmless.
What are horse chestnuts made out of?
Chestnuts are believed to be remnants of an extra toe lost through evolution. They are flat and crusty areas devoid of hair. Ergots are callous growths located at the bottom of the horse’s fetlock, often covered by hair.
Should you remove horse chestnuts?
You don’t really have to trim them. But if you’re so inclined, you can trim them without causing the horse any pain. Don’t try to remove them entirely, and don’t trim any deeper than skin level or above. Just peel them off layer by layer with your hands or fingernails.
What does horse chestnut do for the body?
Horse chestnut is a tree native to parts of southeastern Europe. Its fruits contain seeds that resemble sweet chestnuts but have a bitter taste. Historically, horse chestnut seed extract was used for joint pain, bladder and gastrointestinal problems, fever, leg cramps, and other conditions.
What happens if you eat horse chestnuts?
Horse chestnut contains significant amounts of a poison called esculin and can cause death if eaten raw. Horse chestnut also contains a substance that thins the blood. It makes it harder for fluid to leak out of veins and capillaries, which can help prevent water retention (edema).
Are chestnut horses more sensitive?
But the interesting thing is that chestnuts also have the most sensitive skin in the horse world. As everyone knows, the skin is the largest organ of the body.O
Are horse chestnuts poisonous to horses?
Horse Chestnut Toxic Components Horse chestnut seeds and twigs contain aescin, a complex mixture of saponins, which can be toxic to horses if ingested.
Does horse chestnut affect blood pressure?
Horse chestnut extract appears to impair the action of platelets (important components of blood clotting). It also inhibits a range of chemicals in the blood, including cyclo-oxygenase, lipoxygenase and a range of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These effects result in reduced inflammation and reduced blood pressure.
What are chestnut horses known for?
– Chestnut horses can vary in shade from very light to very dark. … – Chestnut horses are very wise – The top two horses on The Blood-Horse magazine’s list of the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century (Man o’ War and Secretariat) were chestnut.
Are chestnuts painful for horses?
And while you might worry about the appearance of ergots and chestnuts, they’re completely benign. They may look like raw, crusty wounds, but they’re not sore or painful. They’re not signs of any illness or infection symptoms. They’re normal, though not all horses have them.
What are chestnuts on horses made of?
Horses also have chestnuts on the insides of the hind legs; these are found just below the hocks. Often explained as toenail remnants from previous eons, chestnuts are actually vestiges of foot pads, the tough-fibered cushions that animals walk on.
What do chestnuts do on a horse?
Distribution among equines The evolution of the horse involved a reduction in the number of toes to one, along with other changes to the ancestral equid foot. The chestnut is thought to correspond to the wrist pad of dogs and cats, or to be a vestigial scent gland similar to those found in some deer and other animals.