You may have heard the saying "No Hoof, No Horse". It being the end of summer (boo hoo). I'd like to add a post on some general hoof care.
I'm not a farrier, so the statements here are merely my personal experience and opinion. They are in no way intended to treat or diagnose any hoof problems.
The farrier is a very important person in your horses life. Not all farriers are created equal.
A good rule of thumb for shoeing or trimming, is every six weeks in the warmer weather and every eight weeks in the cooler weather.
Hooves tend to grow faster in warmer weather.
My Mentor, Jim Fritz, happens to be not only one of the most talented horsemen of all time, but the best farriers I've ever witnessed. I'm not saying that because he's my mentor, I'm saying it because it's true.
One of the tricks Jim showed me is to check out the other farriers work by using a tape measure. You measure from the coronet band to the toe. The front hooves should be longer than the back hooves, I'm not going to post the length here because length may differ in different types of horses and disciplines. As I said, I'm no farrier.
I tried to pull a shoe once, and Jim sat back and laughed at me.
What is important is that the two front hooves are the same length and the two back hooves are the same length. You wouldn't want to go around wearing a high heel and a sneaker would you?
Another one of Jims tricks for dry hooves is to put a puddle of water near the horses drinking water.
What I do is close off the drain in my wash bay when I hose down the horses and let them stand in the clean water for about an hour. This adds some much needed moisture to otherwise dry or shelly hooves.
My favorite product for dry hooves is Rainmaker.
Be sure you cover the entire outside of the hoof, sole and frog. The entire hoof needs to be moisturized.
Another pesky problem in horses is Thrush. Thrush occurs when there is too much moisture and bacteria. In my experience, thrush can only be managed and not cured.
In my opinion, Thrush Buster is the best product for thrush. It creates a physical barrier that lasts for days, protecting the hoof from moisture and bacteria.
You'll smell it if your horse has thrush, and when you pick the hoof, the top layer close to the frog crumbles to reveal a smelly hoof. There may even be a smelly line between the bulbs that extends up his pastern. I had a horse like that, I put the thrush buster into that line as far as it went, and it kept him from going lame.
One of the best way to stay on top of hoof health, is to routinely pick the hooves.
Start on the sides of the frog moving toward the toe. Keep those hooves clean and that is the best preventive medicine.
Until next time, talk to the hoof!