Healthy hooves are not an accident. Good horse-care-manship skills are important to have an overall healthy horse. The hooves are a mirror to the health and care of the horse. Don’t fall for fads or instant hoof cures, basic good old fashioned horse sense is the solution. Here are some tops that may help you provide good care for your horse’s hooves:
Schedule regular farrier visits.
Pick and inspect your horses feet at least once a day.
Horses that are stalled constantly need to have the wet waste picked out daily. Make changes to the horses routine and diet gradually and progressively.
Avoid feeding in excess, keep your horse at a reasonable weight.
Overweight horses are more prone to hoof disease.
Give horses unlimited access to fresh, clean water.
Don’t shoe your horse unless necessary.
Investigate natural alternatives to shoeing.
Use shipping boots or wraps with bell boots to protect your horses hooves.
Breeding Better Feet : Good feet usually don’t just happen. Good breeding makes good feet. Breeding is chance to improve the horse with the next generation. Don’t buy a horse with bad feet. I know that sounds simple because it really is. Don’t buy a problem. Be careful of genetic or preexisting diseases or injuries.
Supplements for Healthy Hooves: Be extremely prudent with supplements for your horse. Supplements are expensive and must be used for long periods of time before results may be seen.
Equine nutrition is very simple, yet it can become very complex when you start adding numerous supplements. Good basic horse-care-manship is the best place to start. Get the facts, consult your vet or farrier. Some major feed companies have representatives that can also assist you in proper nutritional planning. Again I hate to beat a dead, well you know, but the best strategy is good basics in nutrition and management. Supplements and the other similar sundry assortment of items can be a false panacea. Often these supplements have minor impact on the hoof and a major impact on your wallet. It is better overall in the long run to invest in good feed/forage/hay, rather than buy poor feed/forage/hay and purchase expensive supplements.
Hoof Care Products: There are three types of hoof care products that are applied directly to the hoof under the description of hoof dressing. One type of hoof dressing is a hoof moisturizer, hoof sealant and hoof harder. The moisturizer helps the waxy/fatty substance know as periople help maintain the natural moisture in the hoof. Direct intense sunlight and footing such as clay and sand can dry out the hoof faster than it can replace the moisture.
The moisturizer hoof dressing helps that situation. The sealant hoof dressing forms a seal over the outer hoof to set up an additional barrier to keep moisture from escaping the hoof. The harder type of hoof dressing is more like a an industrial strength nail polish. The harder bonds with the hoof to help strengthen the hoof to some degree.
Alternatives to shoeing are available:
Hoof Boots: The hoof boots have several uses and they have evolved into two different types of, medical and temporary shoe. They are made from heavy duty rubber and have an assortment of hoof attachment devices. They also come in various sizes to help ensure as an exact as fit as possible.
Medicine Boot: The “medicine” boot allows the hoof to be protected from further injury and/or to treat the hoof with a soaking solution. Medicine boots usually fit loosely so as not to cause additional pain or reduce circulation in cases of swelling. Many times a medicine should be slightly larger so as to accommodate any wrapping/bandaging.
Hoof Shoe Boot: Hoof shoe boots can either be used to cover a bared trimmed hoof or over a shod hoof.
The hoof shoe boots is designed to add protection and comfort to the horse in severe and rough terrain. The hoof shoe boot can also be used to protect the hooves in shipping. These types of boots usually fit snuggly. Prior to purchase make sure you measure the intended hooves.
Educate yourself to the way of the hoof. Two publications worth merit The Horse Journal and The Horse. They are worth the investment.