Note: Links with green underlines are shopping links and will open in a new window
What Are Horse Chestnuts And Ergots?
Horse chestnuts and ergots are normal, healthy growths found on most horse's legs. In the scientific community chestnuts and ergots are generally accepted to be the vestigial "toes" of Eohippus, an early ancestor of the modern horse that lived roughly 50 million years ago. (By the way, "vestigial" means something that has lost most or all of its original function through evolution.)
Horse Chestnuts And Ergots
Chestnuts appear on the front legs of a horse above the knee, or on the back legs of a horse below the hock. They can be large or very small. Some people call horse chestnuts "night eyes." Ergots are found on the back of a horse's fetlock on all four legs, but they are usually covered with hair and can't be seen unless the hair is parted.
A horse chestnut. This chestnut is about the size of a woman's thumb. Chestnuts can range from the size of a small fingernail to a couple of inches long or longer.
This is a close-up of the same chestnut that is in photo 1. Chestnut patterns are unique to each horse.
A different chestnut. This chestnut is not flat and fairly smooth like the one in the previous photos.
A horse chestnut seen from the front. Chestnuts can be trimmed down to minimize their rough appearance. See the bottom of this page for more information.
In the photo In the photo below the yellow circles indicate where ergots are on a horse's legs. Ergots can be found on both the front and back legs. Ergots are small growths on the back of the fetlock, and are usually covered by hair like on this horse. When you feel them, they feel a lot like an eraser on the end of a wooden pencil.
Chestnuts And Ergot Grooming
Both chestnuts and ergots can be trimmed without pain. While there's no real reason to trim them, some people choose to trim them as a part of a regular grooming routine. Do NOT try to remove either chestnuts or ergots entirely, and if you trim them don't go any deeper than skin level or above.
Chestnuts can often be peeled off layer by layer with your hands or fingernails. If they are too hard, you can trim them, carefully, with a knife or other sharp tool. Ergots can often be pinched off with fingernails above the skin. Resist the temptation to twist the ergot as you pinch it, as this might be uncomfortable for the horse and you could get kicked or stomped. Ergots can also be clipped (hoof nippers are handy for this) or trimmed with a knife.
Fun Stuff To Know
Eo means "dawn" and hippus means "horse," so Eohippus is "dawn horse."
Do you groom your horse's chestnuts and/or ergots? If so, tell us how you do it in the comments below!
You might also like...
- Attach A Leather Rope Strap
- Bridle A Horse
- Buy Cowboy Stuff On eBay
- Care For A Silk Wild Rag
- Care For Your Felt Cowboy Hat
- Care For Your Saddle Pad Or Blanket
- Close A Gate With A Chain Latch
- Estimate Cattle Age By Their Teeth
- Estimate A Horse's Weight
- Estimate Western Cinch Size
- Fishtail Braid Your Horse's Tail
- Flatten Cow Horn
- Hydro Dip A Cow Skull
- Make A Collapsible Wood Saddle Rack
- Make A Flag Boot Out Of A Horn
- Make Homemade Hoof Conditioner
- Make Homemade Horse Fly Spray
- Measure A Horse's Girth
- Measure A Horse's Height
- Measure A Western Saddle Seat
- Put A Horn Knot On Your Rope
- Put A Speed Burner On A Honda
- Recognize Common Horse Colors
- Recognize Common Horse Face Markings
- Saddle A Horse
- Stop A Saddle From Squeaking
- Take Horse Pictures
- Tell A Boy Cow From A Girl Cow
- Tie A Honda
- Tie A Horse
- Tie A Quick Release Knot
- Tie A Stopper Knot
Tie a stopper knot for the end of a rope,
or a metal, rawhide, or plastic honda
- Tie A Stopper Knot For A Honda
Tie a stopper knot for a tied honda
- Tie A Wild Rag Knot
- Trim A Bridle Path
- Turn Blevins Buckles Over
- Turn Western Stirrups
- Understand Leather / Hide Thickness
- Whiten Bone
- Wrap A Saddle Horn With Rubber
What Is / Are...
- What Are 5 Reasons Horse Trailer Lighting Matters?
- What Are Chestnuts and Ergots?
- What Are Cowboy Chinks?
- What Are Horns?
- What Are Horse Blood Marks?
- What Are Horse Vaccines and How Do They Work?
- What Are Leads?
- What Are Saddle Rigging Positions?
- What Are Some Interesting Horse Facts?
- What Are Some Interesting Charts and Graphs With Horse Information?
- What Are Some Options For Temporary Horse Fencing?
- What Are Slobber Straps?
- What Are Synthetic Saddles Made Of?
- What Is The Angle System For Branding?
- What Is A Bosal?
- What Is A Bull Riding Vest Made Of?
- What Is A Domain Name?
Why would I need one for my farm or ranch even if I don't have or want a website?
- What Is A Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch?
- What Is Flag and National Anthem Etiquette At A Rodeo?
- What Is Floating A Horse's Teeth?
- What Is Freeze Branding?
- What Is Freeze Branding......What Do Horse Freeze Brands Look Like?
- What Is A Galvayne's Groove?
- What Is A Gooseneck Trailer Hitch?
- What Is A Headstall?
- What Is Hermann Oak Leather?
- What Is Larvicidal De-Worming?
- What Is The Mark Out Rule?
- What Is A Nord Fork?
- What Is The Rodeo Return Gate?
- What Is Rotational Grazing?
Link To This Page
If you found this page useful or interesing and would like to link to it from your own website or blog, you can use the small code snippet below to make a link. Thanks!
Use ctrl+C in Windows or command+C on a Mac to copy the link.
Below: Like and share this page on Facebook!
Search For Items
More Pages On CowboyWay.com and Other Websites
CowboyWay.com is not responsible in any manner for the content found within the CowboyWay website. If you choose to use any of the information on CowboyWay you are doing so at your own risk. It is your responsibility to verify any information found on CowboyWay. Further, CowboyWay is not responsible for the content of any website that can be reached through a link found on CowboyWay. Period.