What Is A Horse Ergot? (Solution)

  • The ergot is a small callosity on the underside of the fetlock of a horse or other equine.

What is an ergot in horses?

The ergot is a small callosity on the underside of the fetlock of a horse or other equine. Some equines have them on all four fetlocks; others have few or no detectable ergots. Ergot comes from the French word for rooster’s spur.

Why do horses have chestnuts and ergots?

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. Chestnuts and ergots are, for the most part, cosmetic and typically require very little attention.

Do all horses have ergots?

Chestnuts and ergots are typical growths on all breeds of horses. They may not be found on every leg, though. Science has a strong opinion as to their origin. Caring for chestnuts and ergots is easy but not necessary unless they grow exceptionally large.

Can you cut ergots off?

Ergots are a bit more pointy and feel like the end of an eraser on a wooden pencil. 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.

Can dogs eat horse ergots?

Most dogs have no problem chewing on small, fresh pieces of hoof trimmings. Letting your dog have a small “treat” from the farrier will be fine in most cases. Avoid letting your dog have any trimmings if you have recently (as in within a week) dewormed your horses – especially if you used an ivermectin dewormer.

What causes ergots on horses?

Most horse people know that our horses have Chestnuts and not quite as many people know that they have Ergots on their legs. What are they and why do horses have them? Both chestnuts and ergots are considered by some to be vestigial remnants of the pre-evolutionary leg and foot structure of Eohippus.

Can you cut down a horse chestnut tree?

The Horse Chestnut is not normally pruned but any badly placed branches should be cut back in the winter whilst the tree is dormant, this work is best done by a professional tree surgeon due to the size of most Horse Chestnut trees and the weight of branches.

Do horses chestnuts fall off?

Grooming. Chestnuts grow over time, protruding from the surface of the leg. Grooming for horse showing may include peeling or trimming the outer layers to give a neater appearance to the leg; they may peel more easily if softened first with baby oil or moisturizer. If left alone, eventually the chestnut peels naturally

Is laminitis fatal in horses?

Laminitis is a deadly disease. Find out why—and learn the steps you should take to protect your horse from falling prey to this devastating condition.

What does horse chestnut extract do?

Horse chestnut extract has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and may help relieve pain and inflammation caused by chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). It may also benefit other health conditions like hemorrhoids and male infertility caused by swollen veins.

What are the calluses on horses legs?

The callous type growth on the inside of your horse’s leg is called a chestnut. The chestnut is believed to be the remnant of a toe that the horse’s ancestors may have had millions of years ago. It is a flaky growth of tough, hardened tissue that serves no function at all for today’s horses.

How does ergot grow?

An ergot kernel, called a sclerotium, develops when a spore of fungal species of the genus Claviceps infects a floret of flowering grass or cereal. The infection process mimics a pollen grain growing into an ovary during fertilization.

Which is not use of ergot?

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s UNSAFE to use ergot. Ergot has many effects that can be harmful during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Don’t use it. Heart disease: Ergot can narrow blood vessels and make heart disease worse.

Why do horses need shoes?

Horses wear shoes primarily to strengthen and protect the hooves and feet, and to prevent the hooves from wearing down too quickly. Horseshoes can be used to add durability and strength to the hoof, helping to ensure it does not wear out too fast.

Ergot (horse anatomy) – Wikipedia

This article is about the portion of a horse that is being discussed. See Ergot for further information on the fungus. A tiny point is located at the back of each fetlock on this horse, which is known as the ergot. Theregotis a tiny calcification on the bottom of the fetlock of a horse or other equine’s hock. Some horses have ergots on all four fetlocks, whilst others have either a few or no ergots at all. The size of the ergot in horses can range from extremely small to the size of a pea or bean, with bigger ergots occuring in horses with ” feather ” – long hairs on the lower legs.

The ergot can grow to be as large as 3.8 cm (1.5 in) in diameter in some other horse species.


Specifically, it is concerning the horse’s limb. Please read Ergot for more information about this fungus. A little point is located at the back of each fetlock on this horse, and it is known as the ergot. Theregotis a tiny calcification on the bottom of the fetlock of a horse or other animal. There are ergots on all four fetlocks on some horses, whereas there are few or none on others. ERGOTS: In horses, ergots can range in size from a pinhead to the size of a pea or bean, with bigger ergots seen in horses with ” feather ” — long hairs on the lower legs.

Derived from the French phrase forrooster’s spur, the word ergot means “forrooster’s spur.”

See also

Have you ever wondered what those callous spots on your horse’s legs were made of? The vast majority of horses are equipped with them on all four legs. A chestnut is the term used to describe the growth that can be seen on the inner of the leg. This is not to be confused with the nuts that are roasted during the Christmas season. In addition, horses have a growth that is comparable to the ergot, which is located at the rear of the fetlock and is present in humans. Continue reading to discover more about the chestnuts and ergots that may be seen on horses, as well as how to care for them.

The Chestnut: A Horse’s “Fingerprint”

Chestnuts are so distinctively different from one another that they have been dubbed “a horse’s fingerprint” because of their size, shape, and development patterns. In most cases, they are around the size of a big thumbnail. Some have rough surfaces, while others maintain a smooth appearance. They might thicken and become difficult to remove over time. They are often present on all four of their legs. However, this is not always the case with horses. On the front legs, they are positioned on the inside of the leg, above the knee, on the inside of the leg.

The Ergot

Ergot is a callous-type growth that develops on the underside of the fetlock, similar to the keratinization. It is about the size and form of a pencil eraser, and it is made of plastic.

Don’t mistake them with ergot alkaloids, which are a chemical present in some fungus that may be harmful to horses if consumed in large quantities. It is possible for ergots to differ in size from horse to horse. When there is a lot of hair on the fetlock, it might be difficult to see the ergot.

Why Science Says Horses Have Chestnuts and Ergots

One explanation about the origins of chestnuts and ergot, which some may debate or dismiss, is that they originated with the evolution of the horse, which is supported by scientific evidence. There is an enormous online display of fossils dedicated to the development of the horse hosted at the Florida Museum of Natural History. These fossils document the evolution of horses from their origins in the ancient period to the current day.

The Eohippus (Dawn Horse)

According to information from the Natural Museum of the Horse, the earliest horse, known as the Hyracotherium or Eohippus (dawn horse), stood between 10 and 17 34 inches tall at the shoulder. Their forelegs had four toes, while their hindlegs had three toes on each foot. In addition to the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, the Wind River Basin of Wyoming, and Europe, fossils of the dawn horse have also been discovered. Horses are considered to have had five toes in the past, as did their forebears.

Adapting Over Time

Equines developed the ability to adapt to their surroundings throughout time. The horse’s legs and feet grew longer and more streamlined as a result of its evolution, helping it to run faster and evade predators. As a result, the center digit became the primary weight bearer, and the remaining digits ceased to serve any practical purpose.

What Happened to the Extra Toes?

According to current scientific understanding, the second and fourth toes developed into splint bones as a result of this process. These are tiny bones that may be discovered on the outside of the cannon bone’s outer edges. The chestnut and ergot are believed to be the only vestiges of the first and fifth toes that have survived to this day. Some believe that the chestnut is really the remnants of a smell gland that was formerly there. When something is gone or departed, the vestige of it is the last quantity or visible evidence of it that is still there or can be seen.

What Breeds Have Chestnuts and Ergots?

On all equestrian breeds, chestnuts and ergot may be found in abundance. The sole exceptions are their relatives, the zebras and asses, who are both endangered.

Caring for Chestnuts and Ergots

Chestnuts and ergots are completely typical growths that pose no threat to you or your horse. If you are competing in various equestrian breed contests, keeping your horses in good condition demonstrates strong horsemanship and grooming. There are various approaches that may be used to accomplish this. A farrier can readily trim the chestnuts with the same knife that he or she uses on the foot. If the ergot is very huge and difficult to cut, he may need to use his clippers to trim it. Even if you want to trim them yourself, it’s a feasible option.

In many cases, the chestnut may be peeled out by hand.

Take care not to cut them too close together.

Final Thoughts

Chestnuts and ergots are common growths on horses of all breeds and colors. They may or may not be seen on every leg, depending on the location.

The scientific community is unanimous in its assessment of their genesis. Chestnuts and ergots are simple to care for, and it is not required to do so until they become extremely huge. Some breed groups, on the other hand, want them clipped for contests.

Horse Anatomy: What are Chestnuts and Ergots?

On nearly all breeds of horses, chestnuts and ergots are common growths. Some legs may not have them, and some may not have any. When it comes to their genesis, science is unanimous. Chestnuts and ergots are simple to care for, and it is not required to do so unless they grow to enormous proportions. They are clipped for contests by some breed groups, though.

Why Do Horses Have Chestnuts and Ergots on Their Legs?

Any links on this page that direct you to things on Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a compensation. Thank you in advance for your assistance — I much appreciate it! It is extremely obvious that one of our elderly horses has chestnut and ergot stains on him, which attracts the attention of my youngsters. They frequently inquire as to why he has them and what he intends to use them for. As a result, I decided to conduct some study in order to give an answer.

  1. An additional toe that was lost throughout evolution is thought to be preserved in chestnut trees.
  2. In horses, ergots are callous growths that appear at the bottom of the fetlock and are frequently covered by hair.
  3. When it comes to answering your child’s inquiries about horses, it is advantageous to have a thorough understanding of the subject.
  4. Click on the advertisement below to discover more about the cutting-edge grooming gloves manufactured by HandsOnGloves.

What is a chestnut on a horse?

Any exposed rough area of skin on your horse’s leg is most likely the chestnut, and don’t be concerned; it’s very common for him to have one. Unless they are wounded and bleeding, these exposed patches do not pose a health danger. According to certain scientific investigations, chestnuts and ergots are inherited from an older type of multi-toed horse known as the “Equidae,” which means “horse with many toes.” These species of horses are descended from the ” Eohippus,” a modern-period progenitor that lived around 40 million years ago and had vestiges of toes on his hind legs.

Although the hypothesis of the third toe is simply that, it is not recognized as truth by most people.

Chestnuts are located on horses’ legs.

The chestnuts on your horse’s front legs are normally found just above the knee on the front legs and just below the hock on the rear legs. They might appear extremely huge or relatively little, but the majority of them are rough, flat, and hairless. Just like a snowflake, each horse’s chestnut pattern is unique, just like each individual horse. Horse chestnuts are sometimes referred to as “Night eyes” because, according to folklore, they provide the user the capacity to see in the dark when eating them.

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Are chestnuts different from the ergots?

There are some horses who do not have ergots, and some horses that do have them may only have them on one or two of their legs. If your animals have ergots, they will be found on the rear of the horse’s fetlock, where they will be concealed by the horse’s hair. Ergots are difficult to detect in this location due to the fact that the hair is often long in this area. The horses’ fetlocks, on the other hand, are small and sharp, thus rubbing beneath them will reveal them. Ergots have the appearance of a rough projecting structure that descends from the fetlock.

I would recommend that you have your farrier inspect the ergot and take care of it before cutting it with a sharp knife.

It is possible for ergots to be as little as a bean or pea, or as large as 1.5 inches in diameter. Ergots, in contrast to chestnuts, can be prominent on the forelegs while being considerably tiny or non-existent on the rear legs.

Can I trim the chestnuts?

It is the horse’s chestnuts that are found on the inside of the horse’s legs, and they are live tissue that continues to grow throughout the horse’s lifetime. Because they are constantly developing, they must be maintained by trimming or peeling. Because this is a painful operation for the animal, additional caution must be shown to ensure that your horse is not injured. Using the video below, Rick Gore demonstrates how simple it is to peel the chestnuts. The majority of chestnuts do not require pruning; instead, simply peel off layers to smooth them out and make them appear cleaner.

When the chestnut is moist, I find that peeling and pruning are much easier to accomplish.

Hard chestnuts can also be removed by applying petroleum jelly or baby oil to the affected area.

Another method of causing bleeding is to pull the skin off of a dried chestnut.

Grooming chestnuts

For show horses, the chestnuts should be nicely groomed to give the impression that your horse is well cared for. It is the meticulous attention to detail that counts. When you’re grooming your horse, make sure to peel or trim any chestnuts. You may use your hands and fingernails to peel the chestnuts off your horse’s chest. Make them softer first by soaking them in water, baby oil, or moisturizer, which will make them simpler to remove. With petroleum jelly, you may end by improving the look of your horse’s legs once you’ve finished.

  • If you take the dry covering off the chestnuts’ base, the tissues located on the chestnuts’ base will bleed profusely.
  • While doing so, if you use a razor or blade to remove them completely, you run the risk of hurting your horse by cutting it too deeply or too close to the skin.
  • When shoeing horses, the majority of farriers will clear up chestnuts.
  • Laminitis is a painful ailment for horses, and it may have far-reaching ramifications for the health of their owners as well as the horses themselves.

Laminitis is an inflammatory illness that affects the tissue bandings of horses and can be recurring in some cases. Maintaining the chestnuts of your horse may be accomplished using the procedure outlined below:

  • Petroleum jelly should be applied on the surface of the chestnuts both before and after cutting or peeling the chestnuts. On the chestnuts, you may also use a hoof moisturizer to keep them soft. Eventually, the chestnuts may split into chunks, making it even simpler to keep the chestnuts
  • However, this is rare. Excessive growth should be removed with regular grooming. In the event that your horse’s chestnut becomes infected and begins to bleed, provide antiseptic. Following the administration of antiseptic, a liquid bandage should be applied to create a water-resistant and breathable closure.

It is possible to take care of chestnuts and ergots with only your hands and without much discomfort. There is no necessity to completely remove them, although some horse owners choose to do so in preparation for horse exhibitions.

Interesting chestnut facts

  • The legs of zebras and donkeys do not have chestnuts on them. It is possible to vary the look of a horse’s chestnutsoften
  • When it comes to appearance, chestnuts are comparable to the wrist pad of dogs and cats. When compared to other species, horse chestnuts have a similar appearance to the vestiges of smell glands seen in deer and other animals. With your fingernail, scrape the surface of chestnuts and you’ll get a wonderful peppery, musky scent

A few horse breeds, notably the last known “wild horse” breed, the Przewalski, are devoid of chestnut markings on their legs, but the following are examples of those without chestnut markings on their limbs:

Should you cut off or trim your horses’ chestnuts?

You should really refrain from disturbing your horses’ chestnuts. However, if they are unattractive and you wish to clip them, you can do so. Just be careful not to cut too deeply or to peel them with your fingernails.

Related articles:

  • What Is the Purpose of Horses’ Manes? More to it than just pretty hair
  • Why do some horses have short tails
  • Why do some horses have long tails

Horse Chestnuts and Ergots

  • Chestnuts are frequently referred to as having “night eyes,” which is a little disturbing in and of itself. Because of their chestnut coats, it is claimed that horses have excellent night vision. I’m not sure when this story arose, but it’s most likely before the advent of modern ophthalmology.
  • Many people believe that chestnuts are the remains of extinct toes that have migrated. When it comes to this idea, there is a lot of contradicting facts. Is it possible that four toes became the splint bones and chestnuts? Maybe? At the very least, the toes are in close proximity to the metacarpus or metatarsus. Despite the fact that chestnuts are not clearly connected to the cannon bones of the front and hind legs, the metacarpus and metatarsus of the front and hind legs, respectively, are both cannon bones. The splint bones are present, but the chestnuts are not.
  • Recent research reveals that these additional toes, which originally numbered five in total, really occur during the extremely early phases of a foal’s development in the uterus, when the foal is still developing. As the foal matures, the toes really join together to form the familiar and beloved hoof shape we all know and love. In this case, the toes become other elements of the horse’s body, which is referred to as digit reduction. On this subject, you may find more science and information at
  • Chestnuts are found on all four legs of the majority of modern-day horses. Chestnuts are found above the knee on the front legs, and below the hock on the hind legs, with the front legs being the most prominent. Some horses, particularly Icelandic and Caspian ponies, may be devoid of the chestnuts on their hind legs. In addition, several horse cousins, like as the zebra, are devoid of the hind leg chestnuts.
  • Some believe these are vestiges of smell glands that have been removed. With this hypothesis of chestnuts acting as smell glands, it is possible that if you transport chestnut peelings from another horse into a paddock, the horses there will come up to you and inspect the chestnut peelings, making capturing simpler. Has anybody have success with this?
  • Personally, I believe that horses are aware of our hands and that whenever we put our hands out, there is a potential for a snack to be had.

These chestnuts are smaller and flatter than the others. It is possible to maintain them looking this way with regular massage and peeling. All shapes and sizes are welcome! These hind leg chestnuts have the appearance of a saxophone. Bananas are what these chestnuts are.

How do you care for your horse’s chestnuts?

  • Keeping them flat and neat is something many of us want to do
  • Otherwise, they can be a little lumpy and occasionally rather pokey and lengthy. When they are damp, peeling them is the quickest and most convenient way to keep them neat. It is possible that the optimum time to peel them is after a wash bath and rinse.
  • Alternatively, you may keep them oiled up with baby oil or moisturizer and peel them after they are lovely and soft to the touch later. Some people do this using petroleum jelly
  • Others don’t.
  • I’m not a fan of the concept of removing them with a blade or a razor either. The combination of cutting too deeply and having a twitchy horse dance into the blade is a formula for catastrophe in my hands. However, the fact is that I would most likely cut my own finger off if I were to use a blade.
  • To prepare your horse for a show, you may either apply a layer of grooming oil to his chestnuts or do nothing and let him perform as is.
  • All of this is really unnecessary! The majority of horses have perfectly typical chestnut coats that do not require grooming, alteration, or lubrication. Some horses, who may be endowed with magical abilities, produce so many wild chestnuts that they must be pruned. Most of the time, this is required when the growth brushes against the other legs while sleeping.

What’s “under” a chestnut?

  • Before I learnt that a friend’s horse had come in from the pasture with a large fat let, I had never given it a second’s thought. What is the root cause of this? A chestnut that went missing all of a sudden. There is no bleeding, but as you can see in the photo below, there is a skin-like tissue beneath the chestnut that has developed. There were no witnesses, therefore one can only speculate as to how this horse managed to pull off such a feat.

What about ergots?

  • These are the strange pokey things that protrude from the rear of the fetlock. They have a texture similar to chestnuts, but they have the ability to develop indefinitely and without interruption. In part as a result, I really loathe ergots, finding them to be a source of constant irritation and strangeness in my life.
  • And who gave them the term “ergots”? This ridiculous name is a variant of the French word for “rooster spur,” which, to be honest, is rather accurate
  • Yet,
  • And who came up with the term “ergots” for these creatures? Although it is a ridiculous phrase, it is a variant of the French word for “rooster spur,” which is, to be honest, rather accurate
  • Hoof pads, or the remnants of a hoof pad, can be found on these species as well. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a spongy cushion incorporated inside the shoe that the hoof sits on. According to one idea, the horse’s ergot is made up of the leftovers of the foot pad. Right, it’s kind of cool
  • Some horses have ergots, whereas others do not. When I had two horses, I only had four ergots to feed the two of them between the two animals. It’s strange how things work out.

Ergots come in a variety of sizes, from tiny nubs to huge kickstands.

How do you care for ergots?

  • Ergots may be be readily eliminated in the washrack after shampooing and rinsing with warm water. Alternatively, a simple rinse may enough. You don’t have to do anything with them if you don’t want to
  • They’re similar to chestnuts in that respect.
  • It is possible that very little ergots that do not stretch much and do not grow much may feel like a callous or that a skin stink will begin to develop
  • Simply use your fingernails to scrape away the outer layers of the skin. Your Farrier may also be able to assist you with trimming them. Again, employing a blade might be hazardous to both your horse and your hands
  • Nevertheless,
  • Please do not remove the ergots by twisting them. There are several nerves and soft tissue components that come together in the rear of the fetlock, where the ergot grows. Remember to keep everything in its proper place and not to twist the ergot.
  • One more thing to mention regarding ergots. Please don’t let them grow into massive kickstands, or I will track you down and take them off your feet before smacking you in the face with them. Gently

When it comes to your horse’s ergots and chestnuts, how do you do it?

About Chestnuts and Ergots On Horses

Horse chestnuts and ergots are typical, healthy growths that may be found on the legs of nearly all horses. Chestnuts and ergots are largely regarded by the scientific community to represent the vestiges of Eohippus, an early predecessor of the modern horse that lived around 50 million years ago and was known as the “toes” of the horse. What if I told you something you already knew? “Vestigial” refers to something that has evolved to the point that it has lost most or all of its original purpose.

Horse Chestnuts And Ergots

When a horse’s legs are above the knee, chestnuts are visible; however, chestnuts are not visible on the horse’s rear legs below the knee. They can range in size from very huge to very tiny. Horse chestnuts are sometimes referred to as “night eyes.” In horses, ergots can be found on the rear of the horse’s fetlock on all four legs, although they are normally hidden by the horse’s hair and are only visible when the hair is split. Chestnuts A horse chestnut is depicted in Photo 1. Approximately the size of a woman’s thumb, this chestnut is a rare find.

  • Now is the time to pin it!
  • Each horse’s chestnut pattern is distinct from the others.
  • This chestnut is not as flat and smooth as the one in the previous photographs, but it is still rather attractive.
  • Chestnuts can be clipped to reduce the rough look of their bark.
  • Ergots The yellow circles on the horse’s legs in the photograph below depict the locations of ergots.
  • They are little growths on the rear of the fetlock that are generally hidden by the horse’s coat, as shown in the photo of the horse.

They have a similar sensation like an eraser on the end of a wooden pencil when you rub your fingers together. sourced from etsy This item is available on Etsy. The rest of the article may be found below.

Chestnuts And Ergot Grooming

No pain is involved in trimming either chestnuts or ergot mushrooms. Despite the fact that there is no actual reason to trim them, some people opt to do so as part of their normal grooming regimen. Try not to remove any chestnuts or ergots completely, and if you must trim them, don’t go any deeper than skin level or above. Chestnuts may frequently be peeled off with your hands or fingernails, layer by layer, if you work quickly. If they are excessively firm, you can carefully trim them with a knife or other sharp instrument if they are too large.

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Try not to twist the ergot when pinching it because this may be painful for the horse and you may be kicked or trampled as a result of doing so.

Fun Stuff To Know

Since the Greek word Eo means “dawn” and the Latin word hippus means “horse,” Eohippus can be translated as “dawn horse.” Do you groom the chestnuts and/or ergots on your horse’s legs? If so, please share your method with us in the comments section below! What Is / Are they? … What Are the Top 5 Most Notorious Wild West Robberies? … What Are the Top 5 Reasons Why Horse Trailer Lighting Is Important? … What Are the 8 Dumbest Things You Can Say To A Horse Fan? … What Is the Difference Between Chestnuts and Ergots?

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Making Chestnuts & Ergots Invisible on Horses

Horses and ponies frequently develop sticky protuberances on their legs, which are referred to aschestnutsandergots. Either chestnuts or ergots can be discovered on the inside of the forearms or, less commonly, on the inside of the hind legs of horses. Chestnuts are hard knots that form at the point of the fetlock. The majority of horses shed these horny growths on their own own over time. However, if you want to maintain the legs of your horse appearing smooth, you may speed up the process by putting petroleum jelly on them.

The similar effect may be achieved by soaking in warm water with a light soap at bath time.

Unlike your fingernails, which have a blood supply above the surface layer of the skin, clipping them will not cause any harm to the patient.

But if chestnuts and ergots are growing at an abnormally rapid rate, it might indicate the presence of a health condition, such as laminitis.

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Tying-Up Syndrome

When horses are tied up, they have muscle stiffness and soreness, as well as excessive perspiration and blowing, shaking, and a reluctance to move. They also have stained urine (brown), which is sometimes prompted by activity. A stalemate occurs when the amount of energy available to fulfill these activities is inadequate.

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horse hoof

When a horse walks, the hoof is the solid covering that protects the distal end of the finger. It is mostly made up of cells that have been keratinized.

Thehoof wallis the part of the hoof visible when the foot is on the ground. It grows downward from the coronary band and is the part of the hoof that supports most of the animal’s weight.
Thesoleof the hoof is the majority of the ground surface. It is normally arched, and is softer in consistency than the hoof wall. The frog is a wedge-shaped structure toward the rear of the sole.
The ergot and chestnut are small masses of “horny” material that are apparently vestiges of additional digits the ancestors of modern horses had.Theergotsare located in the tufts of hair behind the fetlock regions – the junction of the large metacarpal/metatarsal with the proximal phalanx of the digit.
Thechestnutsare located on the medial surface of each leg in the general area of the carpus and tarsus.

What are Chestnuts on Horses? (Remove & Use Tips)

Roan, bay, pinto, and chestnut are among unusual-sounding terms used to describe horse coats. When someone who is familiar with horses hears such words, a mental picture of a horse immediately comes to mind.

As a result, chestnuts on horses have a different connotation than they do in other contexts. Specifically, we will investigate what they are, how and why they originate, what their role is, and how we may manage them.

The Definition of Chestnuts on Horses

Pets and animals have toes, claws, and paws, which you may have seen if you have pets or have ever worked with animals. The majority of pets have four or five footpads, although herbivores appear to have a single solid footpad. Was it ever brought to your attention that their hoof is an evolved form of their largest toe? And that they have more than they need? Many of these creatures’ ‘extra toes’ altered throughout time, but they did not totally vanish from their bodies. Your cat or dog’s foot may have a nub at the rear of it, which you can see.

  • On horses, these’vestigial toes’ are far closer to their knees than they are on humans.
  • We believe that chestnuts are made of the remnants of horse toes since they have a gel-like material.
  • (The hock is referred to as the “knee” of the rear leg.) Chestnuts are commonly referred to as “night eyes,” and they are completely harmless.
  • Despite the fact that it is formed of the same gel-like composition as chestnuts, you will discover it in the rear of the horse.
  • Feathers are the tiny hairs that develop on the lower legs and feet of some horse breeds, and they are distinguished by their color.
  • A horse’s lower leg is covered in feathers all the way around, and you’ll usually see them on powerfully built draft horses with stocky bodies.

Do Feathers Cause Ergots and Chestnuts?

No. Oddly enough, if your horse has fetlocks but no feathers, you may still be able to locate ergots hidden inside the fetlocks. It’s not quite apparent what chestnuts and ergots do for horses in terms of health. No apparent practical function can be found for them. In the opinion of scientists, ergot and chestnuts are’remaining horse toes.’ Because they’re buried behind the fetlocks or feathers, ergots tend to become bigger and knobbier than horse chestnuts as they mature. The word ergot is derived from the French word argot, which literally translates as cock(erel) spur.

  • On some horses, chestnuts and ergots can be found on all four legs, whereas on others, none can be seen at all.
  • Some horse breeds have just frontal chestnuts, whereas others have both.
  • We also believe that ergots operate with feathers and fluffy fetlocks from time to time.
  • Additionally, the ergot is thought to serve as an anchor for the ergot ligaments of horses.

This isn’t an issue, though, since even if you cut the ergot’s projections, the inner core remains linked to the horse’s joint, preventing it from becoming loose. As a result, it can continue to serve as a structural support for the tendons in that area.

Eohippus, Ergots, and Chestnuts

Horses descended from an ancestor known as theeohippus validusor dawn horse, according to fossils and scientific investigations. It’s a transcription of their scientific name — eos is the Greek word for dawn, and hippos is the Latin word for horse. Yes, hippos are frequently referred to as “water horses” or “river horses,” and this is not by chance! Dawn horses were far smaller than modern-day horses, yet despite the fact that they went extinct millions of years ago, they share many genetic characteristics with modern-day horses.

  1. There were four toes on the front legs and three toes on the hind legs of these old horses.
  2. Despite the fact that these scabs continue to grow, you will not be required to clip them every time you visit the farrier.
  3. As new layers of mud build on the horse’s leg, the outer layers of mud begin to peel off.
  4. However, many owners are dissatisfied with their appearance and cut their hair.
  5. You will be more likely to irritate the horse if you bother them when they are in that stage.
  6. It’s simpler to handle the chestnuts and ergots after your horse has had a wash since they’ll be softer and less difficult to handle after the bath.
  7. If you hire a farrier to trim your horses, they will utilize sharp tools, which eliminates the need for you to prepare.

Do You Have to Remove Chestnuts?

What is the function of chestnuts on horses since they don’t appear to have any practical use at all? Some individuals believed they aided with night vision, which led to the term “night eyes” being given to them. Those who believe they may be scent glands believe that carrying them around in your pocket offers you unique abilities. It is said that when a horse smells his/her chestnuts on you, they would believe that you are a horse as well since you have the same aroma as the horse. This may help you become a better horse whisperer and increase the likelihood that the horse will bond with you and obey your directions.

  • They don’t pose any problems for the horse, therefore we mostly remove them since they appear weird and some of us consider them to be unsightly.
  • In order to maintain healthy feet, a horse’s hooves should be trimmed and shoed every six to twelve weeks in the ideal situation.
  • Trimming also helps to lessen the likelihood of degloving.
  • With time, the front toe developed into a toughened, perfectly balanced surface that allows horses to move quickly while being precise and elegant.
  • In addition, while you could be concerned about the arrival of ergots and chestnuts, these creatures are absolutely harmless.
  • There are no indicators of disease or infection symptoms associated with them.
  • It’s important to understand that the term “horse chestnut” may also refer to a plant that is believed to have therapeutic characteristics in the holistic health community.

It’s comparable to a conker, but it’s entirely different from the horse toes that have evolved. So don’t make a tonic out of the gelatin from your horse’s bones!

How to Remove Chestnuts and Ergots

When it comes to horses, it is quite simple to get rid of chestnuts and ergots. You may either do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Some of the most prevalent strategies for managing chestnuts on horses are listed here.

  1. Keep an eye on your horse. Some people will bite and chew away at their own chestnuts and ergots
  2. Others would eat their own flesh. If you wish to assist, you can tether the horse. Ideally, you don’t want him/her to kick or startle you. Gloves are not required. Although ergots and chestnuts are not harmful, proper sanitation is essential. Preferably, you should deal with the ergots and chestnuts when your horse is in a good mood. Even though the procedure is not unpleasant, the horse may fidget as a result of the discomfort. Using lanolin or lotion, lubricate the gelatin and gently scrape it off by hand, much like you would a scab
  3. To peel the skin, use a gradual peeling technique rather than a twisting or flicking action. The reason for this is that if you pull, tug, or twist, you may injure the softer tissues. Take care not to over-pick the flowers. Given that it provides the same level of satisfaction as scratching scabs, it is quite simple to overdo it
  4. Alternatively, have your farrier clip them out with pointed pincers, taking care not to cut too deeply. If the chestnuts aren’t bothering you, don’t worry about them. They are completely harmless. However, if you’re riding a show horse, you may choose to take them off for aesthetic purposes.
See also:  What Is A Bit For A Horse? (Perfect answer)

On the other hand, certain cultures throughout the world make use of horse chestnuts and ergots, which is strange. ergots, chestnuts, and other gelatinous substances derived from cow hooves are used to manufacture sweets in Colombia. A kind of gelatin made from paws, pronounced ‘helatina’, is combined with vanilla and sugarcane to make this dessert. Not to worry, it does not have a horsey flavor to it whatsoever. Due to the fact that eliminating chestnuts and ergots does not harm the horse, it may be kosher for vegetarians or vegans who aren’t as stringent about their diet.

How to Use Chestnuts and Ergots from Horses

Old wives’ tales might include a smidgeon of truth every now and again. While tales about chestnuts and ergots may appear foolish and cliched, they are generally harmless, and there is no harm in trying them out. But what is it that chestnuts are utilized for in horses? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Hide some chestnuts in your pocket to pique the interest of horses that are unfamiliar with you. In order to calm a nervous or agitated horse, rub your hands over its chestnuts or ergots. This allows you to transmit the perfume to your hands, and the familiar scent may help to soothe the horse
  2. Nevertheless, Another option is to peel some softened chestnuts and ground them in your hands
  3. This is a simple but effective method. In order to calm the horse, you should massage or touch him with your chestnut-scented hands
  4. Hiding some chestnuts in your hand as you approach a horse will help you attract their attention. Preserve photographs of your horse’s legs, with the chestnuts and ergots plainly visible
  5. Chestnuts and ergots are distinguished by their distinct patterns, shapes, sizes, and grains. And these calluses are so unique that they resemble horse fingerprints in appearance
  6. It is for this reason that photographs might be beneficial in the event that the horse is lost, sold, or stolen.

As you put these theories and concepts to the test, remember that the safety of the horse should be your primary concern. Never experiment with anything that might damage or annoy the horse, and only do so with the assistance of professionals or with a horse you are familiar with and trust. You will be able to interpret the horse’s cues more correctly and halt when necessary.

Do Chestnuts on Horses Need a Vet?

We’ve seen that ergots and chestnuts are both considered to be typical elements of a horse’s structure. Due to the smooth and distinct coats of horses, any bare patch of flesh might be concerning, especially in the winter. You should already be checking on your horses on a daily basis, paying particular attention to their noses, ears, limbs, and feet. The goal is to identify any abnormalities as soon as possible and to ensure that the horse is comfortable. Take a close look at the ergots and chestnuts as you remove rocks and stones from their hooved footwear.

  • They should never be exposed to moisture, wetness, or freshness.
  • If the place is raw or bleeding, even if the horse has been bothering it, it should be treated as such.
  • However, if it’s only dry and scraggy, call the farrier right away.
  • If you touch their chestnuts or ergots, they’re likely to twitch, but only you can determine if the horse is astonished, somewhat angry, or in agony since only you can tell.
  • In certain cases, especially when having a bad day or when your horse is acting up, you may pull a chestnut or ergot too forcefully or make a too deep cut.
  • Don’t get too worked up over it.
  • You can cover the damaged skin with a piece of gauze or a bandage to keep dirt and bacteria out of the wound.

After that, you should consult with a veterinarian. They’ll have to inspect the horse and look at the wound more closely. They may prescribe medications and conduct tests to determine whether the bleeding was caused by an infection or another unrelated illness.

A Footnote on Chestnuts in Horses

At the very least, here’s all you need to know about chestnuts in horses if you don’t read anything else.

  • It is considered that these are remnants of horse toes. They can be found behind the front knee and behind the back hock
  • Ergots are constructed of the same jello-like substance as chestnuts
  • They are similar in appearance to chestnuts. Neither of these remnants is harmful or bothersome to your horse. Although it is possible to remove chestnuts and ergots, it is not required. If you soften them the day before, you should be able to pluck them off by hand. Farriers like to clip them rather than tack them. Don’t go too deep with your cuts

Have you noticed any chestnuts on your horses recently? Before you clip your hair, post images in the comments!

The Chestnut Conundrum

In certain horses’ legs, the chestnut (an oily, scaly callosity) is supposed to represent a vestige of a toe from the prehistoric species Eohippus, which means “ancient toe.” The horse is a very enigmatical creature to behold. If I ever had the opportunity to speak with him, there are a slew of questions I would like to ask him. What is it about carrying folks on your back that interests you? In the middle of the night, while you’re standing about, what do you think about? Why do you have to stamp your feet at inconvenient moments like this?

  1. The chestnut has always been a source of anxiety for me.
  2. They are referred to as “night eyes” by some.
  3. I agonized about what to do and even lost a few hours of sleep over the transaction.
  4. Because the chestnut is a totally natural part of the horse’s anatomy, it’s a strange thing to see it in the wild.
  5. That theory appears to be a little far-fetched and scientific to me, but given the lack of any other plausible explanation, it is arguably the most reasonable explanation for why our horses still have them.
  6. Speaking of unusual, there’s another little growth that may be seen on many horses called the ergot, which is another type of strange growth.
  7. Ergots are discovered on the bulb of the fetlock of a horse’s fetlock if they are present, and are generally undetected since they are covered by hair.

As with a person’s fingerprint, each and every horse’s chestnuts are distinct and individual.

If you peel a chestnut and then transport the peelings out to a field full of other horses, the horses will come up to examine and will be simple to trap, according to a popular notion.

I can’t claim I’ve tried it since I haven’t.

I happen to be a member of the latter kind.

If the horse appears to be unhappy during the trimming effort, you should immediately stop and re-position yourself.

A lovely, smokey horsey odor emanates from the chestnuts of grazing horses. It’s actually rather appealing to me. Having a whiff yourself is a good idea if you ever get the chance, albeit I urge doing so immediately after they’ve been removed from the animal’s leg.

The Connectivity and Histological Structure of the Equine Ergot—A Preliminary Study

An close relationship exists between the ergot tissue and the skin above it. A robust attachment of the ergot tissue to the underlying fetlock palmar annular ligament may be seen. A possible functional coordination of tissues in the distal limb is provided by the fascia of the ergot in some cases. Nerve fibers and Ruffini endings may be found in the ergot tissue and the ligaments that are generated from it. The presence of Ruffini endings in the ergot ligament suggests that it has a mechanoreceptive function.


Equines’ ergots are fibrous cushions that form on the palmar face of their fetlock joints. They are typically visible externally as callosities that vary in size from small to large. Accordingly, the research described here evaluated the macroscopic structure, connectivity, and histology features of the ergot in order to better understand its physiological importance. To document the connections between the distal forelimbs of 18 horses who were euthanized for reasons unrelated to this study, distal forelimbs were dissected and photographed and videotaped to document the findings.

Ergot tissue was discovered to be closely associated with the overlying skin and to have a strong attachment point at its center to the underlying fetlock palmar annular ligament, which was discovered to be intimately associated with the overlying skin.

Nerve fibers and Ruffini endings were found in both the ergot tissue and the ligaments that were produced from it.

Furthermore, the presence of Ruffini endings suggests that the ergot ligament may play a mechanoreceptive role in the positioning of distal limb joints, which is important in the development of the ergot ligament.


Ligamentum ergotum ergotum FetlockMechanoreceptor View the full text of this article 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights are reserved.

Chestnut: Not Just a Coat Color

9.3.2011.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9.2017.9.9. When we look at the chestnuts on the inner surfaces of the horse’s front legs, just above the knees, we can see how the horse came to be as a creature with more than one toe on each foot, which is a reminder of the horse’s prehistoric origins. The insides of the hind legs of horses are similarly covered with chestnuts; they may be found right below the hocks.

Chestnuts are a kind of tree that grows in the United States.

Foot pads are what you’re looking at.

The terms “digital” and “carpal/tarsal” refer to the areas of the wrist and ankle in the front and rear limbs, respectively, while “metacarpal/metatarsal” relate to the areas of the hand and foot in the front and back limbs, respectively.

rudimentary metacarpal and metatarsal pads may be observed in the front and rear feet, respectively, of today’s horses.

A series of little knobs of tough tissue extends from each lower leg and protrudes behind the pastern, where they are concealed by the fetlock’s hairs but are clearly felt.

When a frog sweats, it releases a fluid that may have served as a trail or territorial marking during prehistoric times.

The fundamental contours of the chestnuts are unique to each horse, much like human fingerprints, and are recognized as distinguishing markings by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the governing body of international equestrian competition, and other organizations.

It is possible to soften chestnuts that are really hard and dry by rubbing them with petroleum jelly or baby oil for many days.

You should avoid attempting to twist the chestnuts off since this will cause discomfort to the skin surrounding the chestnuts.

A few domestic breeds, as well as Przewalski’s horses, are devoid of chestnuts on the hind legs, albeit this is not the case for the majority of domestic breeds.

Last but not least, chestnuts are frequently referred to as “night eyes.” The term might be derived from an ancient but incorrect notion that the structures have sight powers that assisted horses in navigating their way about at night.

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