Horse in the snow

Hoof Care Doesn't Stop in the Winter

Winter is on it's way and Jack Frost will be blanketing many of our pastures with snow, freezing rain, and ice. Many of us are now concentrated on keeping our horses healthy, while maintaining body condition through this cold spell. We all have different routines we practice to keep our beloved horses as comfortable as possible during these months. We can debate all day between blankets VS a horse’s natural coat, or even more barn time VS more pasture time – but the one thing we cannot argue about is that proper hoof care doesn’t stop in the winter. Providing a balanced diet, staying on top of any hoof problems caused by the environment, and routine farrier work is a year-round effort.

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Hoof with Thrush

Thrush and Hoof Management

Thrush is often associated with wet and muddy conditions. When conditions are wet and muddy it can be difficult to properly clean out debris around the frog on a regular basis. The rapidly accumulating debris blocks oxygen to the hoof. Thrush results from the invasion of anaerobic microbes that thrive in environments absent of oxygen. If the hoof is not routinely picked and cleaned, oxygen is sealed away from the tissues around the frog thereby providing the anaerobic bacteria with the perfect environment to thrive.

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Soft hooves on horse

Soft Hooves: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Soft hooves are one of the more common problems associated with wet and muddy conditions. When discussing the topic of soft hooves, it’s important to understand that the hooves’ main purpose is to support the horse. The hooves are designed to provide balance and stability while carrying the full weight of the horse. When a horse develops soft hooves, other hoof problems that can lead to lameness are likely to follow.

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Farrier with Thrush

What Creates the Foul Odor of Thrush?

A strong rotting smell is a well-known indicator of Thrush. If you’re a farrier or horse owner, you probably know the smell well. For those unaccustomed to the smell, it is like that of a rotten egg. The odor radiates from the hoof, making regular hoof cleanings and farrier work more foul-smelling than usual. So, what causes Thrush to smell? In this article, we will sniff out the answer to this question.

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Farrier Trimming

The Importance of Maintaining a Regular Farrier Schedule

Regardless if your horse wears shoes or goes barefoot, hoof care is an important part of keeping your horse sound and comfortable. A major part of this maintenance includes trimming, resetting the shoes, and regular hoof care provided by the service of a farrier. But how often should your farrier visit and why is it important to maintain a regular schedule?

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Horse being bathed

Wet/Dry Hooves

Summertime is when horses are most likely to be bathed and hosed off frequently. It is possible to keep your horse cool without damaging the hooves through the wet-dry cycle. Most importantly, do not use products on your horse’s hooves you would not use on your hands.

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Recommended Hoof Topical

Topical Hoof Dressings

Many horse owners tend to overlook the fact that as tough as equine hoof horn may appear, it is 95% protein (similar to your own skin). One should avoid use of any product that will denature protein and affect the normal function of the hoof tissue or that seals oxygen away from the hoof. Besides bleach, iodine and copper, one should also avoid remedies containing grease, motor oil, pine tar, formaldehyde, acetone, and turpentine.

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Summer Hoof Care

Protecting Hooves During Summer

It’s during the hot and dry days of summer that we typically see a rise in dry hooves. Dry and brittle hoof walls will often crack and chip, especially on solid surfaces. Then a thunderstorm arises and forces the horse to stand in mud for a prolonged time, making the hoof wall soft, with a loss of strength and increased wear. Then the weather gets hot and dry again, and so do hooves. It’s also very common for horses to be frequently bathed and hosed off during summertime.

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Hooves in mud

Hooves and Muddy Conditions

The mud and muck that comes along with the rainy season can wreak havoc on horse’s hooves. The resulting softening of the hoof capsule not only leads to increased wear and tear, but also creates an ideal environment for the invasion of “hoof eating” microbes that cause thrush and crumbling hoof horn.

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Summer Hooves

Summer V.S. Hooves

The hot and dry days of summer typically bring a rise in dry hooves. Dry and brittle hoof walls will often crack and chip, especially with horses that work on hard surfaces. Horses that have long toes, underrun heels and thin hoof walls (like the thoroughbred) are even more prone to develop cracked and chipped hooves during the summer. 

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