If you feel like summer will never arrive, and yard life is an endless cycle of battling the rain and mud, then spare a thought for your horses’ hooves. Wet conditions can take their toll on your horses’ feet and hoof health as our MD, Han van de Braak BSc LicAc MCSP MBAcC (Retd.) discusses in our latest blog ‘Protecting Horse Hoof Health In Wet Weather’.
Let’s first take a look at the potential problems we have with hooves in prolonged wet conditions:
Wet Wet Wet
Wet ground is both an issue for both barefoot and shod horses and ponies. Prolonged contact with mud and wet means that hooves don’t wear down naturally and deep mud can easily loosen and pull shoes off. Over time this makes your farrier’s job harder both in trying to maintain healthy feet as the hoof becomes compromised and also the added challenge of putting shoes back on in again and again, between the usual 4 – 6 week shoeing cycle.
Loose shoes can also create an issue of their own, from causing self-afflicted injuries in the field, time off work and damage to the hoof and even infection as debris gets in between the shoe and foot. Some breeds, such as Thorougbreds can be more prone to losing shoes given that they may not have had the best feet to shoe in the first instance, adding mud and wet can exasperate compromised feet issues across all breeds, types and ages.
Feet can also become tender as wet conditions can soften the frog which then starts to peel off and also there is an increased risk of the foot developing thrush which is an infection of the central and collateral grooves of the frog. It can cause pain and lameness, and the most obvious sign is a pungent smelling, black discharge from the frog.
So how can you maintain your horses’ hooves during these wet conditions:
Keep In The Dry
The most obvious thing to do is to keep the feet dry or at least allow the feet time to dry out in between further exposure to wet conditions. If your horse is turned out 24/7, give your horse some access to hard standing or turnout in a small area with good drainage. Stalling your horse on clean, dry bedding on wood shavings or sawdust helps wick away wet from your horse’s feet but ensure you pick out your horse’s feet at regular intervals.
Keep Regular Farrier Appointments
It’s tempting to push your farrier appointments further and further apart in the short-term view that it will save you money. However, the long-term consequence could be far more expensive, affecting the horses’ foot balance, putting a strain on tendons and fetlocks and not to mention the increased risk of losing shoes. Work on your farrier’s recommendations and regularly get your horse’s feet trimmed. Farriers often recommend Aloeride to their clients because it supports healthy horn growth, and is also a natural anti-inflammatory.
Check Your Horse’s Hooves Daily
Check your horses’ feet every day and pick them every day. Checking your horses’ hooves means that you will spot any changes, notice any bad smells and spot raised nails or loose shoes before they become a bigger problem.
Some horse owners choose to use foot boots on their horses to protect their feet from the wet if they are suffering from a foot issue. However, make sure the boots fit comfortably and are secure. Always make sure that your horse is happy to wear them confidently and without any risk of them coming off in the mud. The cleverest Wellington boots you can give your horse is feeding the disulfide bridges that make your horse’s hooves water repellent and that is one of the many benefits with Aloeride.
We hope that the tips in Protecting Horse Hoof Health In Wet Weather are of help to your horse. If you have any further questions about the way in which Aloeride drastically promotes healthy hooves then read up on detailed information in https://www.aloeride.com/horses/hoof-health-hoof-strength/. Of course you can also chat to us on +44 (0)1858 464550.