Everybody who has a horse knows that they should pick out the horse’s feet and have them trimmed regularly. As a Natural Hoof Care Practitioner I actually see a lot of just the opposite. There’s a saying that is very true, “no hoof, no horse!” Here are some common sense approaches and tips to keep your horse’s hooves and overall health well!
Pick out your horses feet daily and more then once if you can. By doing this you rid your horse of mud or manure that packs up in the hoof that can eat away or deteriorate their hooves. It also allows for better air flow to the hoof which helps prevent against an environment for bacteria or fungus. Although mud while wet is not bad for a short period of time because it does add moisture to the hoof it can be worse for the horse then beneficial. When that mud dries out and hardens it takes away from the hooves moisture and when packed with wet mud for extended period of times it makes a perfect breeding ground for thrush. Also when using thrush treatments try to avoid bleach water, turpentine, Coppertox and other caustic or harsh chemical treatments because they not only take away from the hooves moisture and not only kill the thrush but they kill live tissue as well which leaves food for the next case of thrush. Instead try apple cider vinegar mixed with water. A 50/50 ratio should do well daily until the thrush is gone. The apple cider vinegar makes the hoof more acidic and since thrush is a yeast/fungi infection we know that yeast and fungi have a lot harder time surviving in an acidic environment thus, the thrush dies without harming live tissue or drying out their hooves.
Have your horses trimmed instead of shod! The hoof isn’t able to function properly when it is nailed to a shoe. Not only do you cut off 50% of blood circulation to the shod hooves but you allow more shock to the upper extremities, tendons and ligaments. Also nailing a shoe on displaces hoof wall. With a shoe on for six weeks or longer the horse’s breakover moves forward and forward as the hoof grows putting more strain on the tendons and ligaments and also jeopardizing breakover. There are also more punture wounds due to the amount of sole removed in the shoeing process that it thins the sole and makes it more prone to bruising or puncture. The only thing a shoe actually protects is the hoof wall and I wouldn’t even say it does that because hooves still chip with shoes. The hoof wasn’t meant to be peripherally loaded. It was meant to share weight by landing heel first and being able to expand and snap back which it can’t do with a shoe. Just take an old shoe even if its only been six weeks and look at the heels. There is a groove in every shoe where the heels tried to expand but could not and the pressure dug grooves into steel.
If your horse needs some kind of hoof protection there are so many riding hoof boots out there now that are easy to apply that protect the whole hoof, allow the hoof mechanism to work properly, will out last shoes, have better traction, allows for even more shock reduction, and can be taken off after a ride.
Trim your horse every 4 to 5 weeks instead of every 6 to 8 or 6 to 12 weeks. This way the hoof stays in a healthier condition and doesn’t chip up or have time to grow the length to have seperational forces upon the hoof wall and laminae. Add up the costs. 2 hoof boots that will last years and a trim every 4 to 5 weeks averaging 40 dollars a trim vs. shoes every 6 weeks and see which makes more economical sense in a years time.
Studies by vets have shown that a barefoot horse will live longer and that their heart rate after a workout slows down sooner then one that is shod. The heart of a horse that is shod has to work harder because of lack of circulation in the hooves. Check out YouTube swedish hoof school for peripheral loading and hoof function along with equine foot studies on YouTube and do some research for yourself on the benefits. The more you know about hoof care the better farrier and hoof care you can get for your horse which will extend your horse’s health, life and reduce the stress from lamenesses and vet bills.
As well as hoof care if you have an arthritic horse or a performance horse you could use a good, well-educated equine bodyworker. They can loosen muscles, reduce soreness, adjust imbalances, etc.
Make sure you have properly fitting tack. This can cause a horse to move in a way that makes him/her tense or strains tendons/ligaments by the horse trying to avoid a pinching saddle or pressure points, etc.
If you do these things listed above as a minimum with a good diet, and regular vet check ups, you will have less problems, lower vet bills, a healthier and happier horse, and your horse will thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by Lisa Carter’s website and reading this. Feel free to stop by my website as well listed at https://www.thehorseshoof.com/trimmers_OW.html#Texas
or find a natural hoof care specialist in your state https://www.thehorseshoof.com/trimmers_OW.html
Thank you again,
Natural Hoof Care Practitioner