View Full Version : Hoof care in the current ground conditions.

danni (Guest)
04-12-02, 07:20 AM
Bit of a dispute has arisen between my son and I over our mare's hoof care. She has really good feet and is not shod, is regularly attended to by the farrier.
I've been applying hoof grease every time my son rides because the ground, like everywhere at the moment, is rock hard and I've been told that careful maintainance of horses hooves is paramount in these conditions and that's what I've been advised to do for her.
My son is complaining LOUDLY because he says its making her hooves too soft and not to do it anymore.
I have tried to tell him that this is what I have advised to do for the current ground conditions but he won't have it.

She is currently being ridden on an arena that has a softer surface than her paddock and he isn't riding her outside of it at the moment because the ground's so hard. She isn't usually a 'hooner' in her paddock.

We both obviously want to do the right thing by our horse,
so... hoof grease yes or no and if yes, how often?

Any thoughts would be most appreciated.

danni :).

lucero (Guest)
04-12-02, 07:47 AM
Hhhmmm !!

Last Year I would have said - hoof grease, almost daily.

Now I'm not so sure.

Been looking into this natural hoof care etc and have seen on this forum recently, that water should be used instead of hoof grease. Apparently the grease dries out the hoof and prevents water penetration of the hoof.

But I still firmly believe that a balanced diet makes for good hooves in the first place. A good starting point.

Sorry not more helpful

sore feet (Guest)
04-12-02, 08:01 AM
Yep, above poster is right about the hoof grease 'sealing' the hoof. This is why it is SO important to water (hose) the hooves then put the grease on top of the wet hoof. This will add moisture and then the grease will 'seal in' the moisture. This should only need to be done once or twice per week (depends what the paddock is like that she walks around in and the condition of her hooves). Also you don't put the grease on the sole of the hoof - this will make it too soft and prone to stone bruises.

not sure (Guest)
04-12-02, 08:01 AM
suggest you and your son learn more about the natural hoof care stuff - I too have a barefoot horse, and have been wondering whether to start using hoof oil of some kind. My horse has lovely hard feet normally, but in this weather, the feet get chipped very quickly.

I've just gotten a bottle of the Kohnke hoof stuff. You only need to apply it a couple of times a week, as it lasts. Am skeptical - but will see how it goes.

Would love to soak her feet in water to test that theory - but where on earth will I find some in this weather? <grin>

has anyone tried soaking their horses feet in a bucket for 5 minutes per foot? Would that do any good, instead of hoof oils?

kylie27 (Guest)
04-12-02, 08:25 AM
Hmmm, very interesting topic.

I have had 4 horses in my life. None of them are shod, but do have their feet trimmed regularly. I have only ever shod them IF I was going on a trail ride for the weekend in particularly rocky, hard ground. My horses all have wonderful feet, strong, rarely chip and they keep their shape quite well, although they do look a bit ragged. I suppose the supplements I add to their feed help a bit too and the fact that apart from cleaning out their feet and keeping them unshod, helps keep their feet tough and in great shape.

However, I have seen some horses that really do much better with shoes on and I think it all depends on the horse in question. I do hose down my horses legs and feet each weekend if the weather is nice so I suppose that will help too.

I must say though - a few years ago I agisted at a large property and all the girls there were heavily into pony club and showing. Quite a few of them had horses that were constantly lame and most of them were lame due to hoof problems such as cracks, chips etc. Now these horses had absolutely terrible hooves. They seemed to me to be so weak and soft. I also noticed that they were painting their horses hooves every night with hoof oil and it occurred to me that perhaps if done too often it actually has a reverse effect. Their horses were ALWAYS shod, never even allowed to go barefoot. The girls in question used to get quite annoyed at me as I never touched my 2 horses hooves and they had the best hooves in the whole place.

I am not sure if it comes down to the fact I am just lucky and have horses with good hooves or perhaps it is far better to use stuff like hoof oil in moderation?

Sorry, not much help I know. But at least you can see other peoples experiences and make your decision based on what you think is best. Perhaps you could do what one of the above posters has said, wet the hooves down and THEN put oil over the top? Sounds like a great solution. Or if that does not work you may want to try doing nothing but using water on the horses hooves for a while to see if that helps at all?

kd (Guest)
04-12-02, 08:30 AM
We haved recently decided to go down the 'barefoot' path. Have a look at the website www.thenakedhoof.com.au, it will give you plenty of information on keeping the barefoot healty. They say not to grease, use water, as others have already said. In the wild, horses drink out of rivers or creeks and hence get their feet wet every day. If your horse drinks from a trough his feet don't get their 'drink'. Water helps the foot retain its elasticity, without it they can dry and crack. Anyway, have a look at the website, it's very interesting.

Lily (Guest)
04-12-02, 08:54 AM
I have a mare with not really good feet and she either has to be shod or be fed bio bloom. It's a great product, all our horses are now on it.

If it can achieve no shoes on a bad footed horse it must fantastic on a horse with good feet !

bare foot too (Guest)
04-12-02, 08:58 AM
I have barefoot horses too, I usually let my trough run over a little bit every time I fill it, so there is always a bit of a wet spot in the paddock which they stand in every time they have a drink, this works well, but if you have limited water a bucket works well too. Just a bit more work!
I never grease my horses feet but the other day I was thinking about it and thought maybe with the dry I should, so I put the grease on wall and sole for 3 days in a row, by the 3rd day the sole was so soft it was starting to peel away, so I decided it was not on, now I just put a little bit around the coronet to 'feed' the hoof growth, but really do agree water is best and good feeding.

thoughts (Guest)
04-12-02, 02:51 PM
Keep an open mind when consulting "the naked hoof" site. I recently happened across this site and excitedly mentioned it to my farrier on his last visit. I particularly mentioned the image of the thermograph(?) of the horse who had one shoe on - three feet with apparently good blood supply and one foot which was cold. The farrier explained that this image could have come from a horse with 4 shoes, 3 shoes, 2 shoes, 1 shoe or none and was not representative of of affected circulation issues from shoeing and was more likely to be coincidental at the moment that the thermograph was taken. From my description of the "after" shots he was a little concerned re the lack of apparent sole callous for the horse to walk on.

watchman (Guest)
04-12-02, 05:06 PM
For anyone interested in barefooted horses there are several alternative websites to the naked hoof. Take a good look at http://www.barefoothorse.com Good balanced trimming and plenty of movement seems to be better than any hoof supplement, oil, or grease on the market regardless of breed or "genetic' tendencies.

05-12-02, 02:29 AM
Hey danni!! How are you??

Hoof Grease - depends on the horse.... (gee.. that helped! *laughs*)

But how about a comprise between you and your son... every 2nd/3rd day you get to oil the feet... :-)

I used to oil my hack's feet daily - did so for 4 years running.. and his shoes regularly fell off every 4 weeks... and brittle feet...

This last year - rarely oiled his feet (as I've sorta retired him)... His feet are strong, shoes stay on for at least 8 to 12 weeks before they need to be redone (e.g. shoe moving out of place, and hooves getting too long etc)...

Go figure?

I tend to only oil nowdays, the day after a horse show, after using black-it which I find really dries their feet out horribly....

Hope this helps?

danni (Guest)
05-12-02, 07:15 AM
I never cease to admire the willingness of so many posters on this forum to help other posters with their horse queries or problems.
Thankyou everyone for giving me your thoughts.

I was interested to read, I think it was from Jomac, and Flocky and maybe some others, who wrote that they used to oil or grease and when they no longer did that, their horses hooves seem to be much better for it, so I have decided to not do it either and see how that goes. I'll just ensure she has water over her hooves with her wash after she's been worked.

Thanks to the two posters who listed those two sites. I will read each of them when I get a bit of time in the next few days.

Flocky!!!! hi! we're well - just melting in the heat. How are you - staying away from your bad boy's back feet I hope.
(any bats been chasing you lately??? }>)

Thanks again everyone.

danni :).

danni (Guest)
05-12-02, 07:21 AM
WHOOPS!!!! apologies to Lucerno.... the heat has affected my brain somewhat :(. It was you I was referring too ( I called you Jomac... sorry...).


lucero (Guest)
05-12-02, 08:10 AM

I've been called a lot worse before, and no doubt will get called worse in the future. (just don't call me late for dinner !!) No disrespect to Jomac intended.


Jomac (Guest)
05-12-02, 10:04 AM
And no disrespect taken lucero ! :-)

Actually, I'm a huge fan of Plus Vital and always have a supply of it stocked in my shed. I certainly agree that any sort of hoof dressing will form a barricade and stop moisture getting into the hoof, but it also stops moisture getting out as well. Any form of hoof dressing needs to be used consistently and regularly to be of any value. So if used regularly, a good hoof dressing will start to penetrate the hoof wall and re-applying it regularly helps to keep the hoof moist. No offence, but putting it on once a week or once a fortnight is a waste of time in the dry weather. This time of year, my broodies and youngsters get Plus Vital put on 3 times a week both on the wall and on the sole. The guys in work get it every second day, after they have been worked and hosed down. (Farriers opinion - all their feet are great in regards to moisture content.)

However, like everything else with the horse, it all starts from the inside, so check the diet to make sure your horse is getting the essential minerals & vitamins to help his feet. I have used BioBloom in the past (combined with the Plus Vital) and can thoroughly recommend that also to assist in really attacking a bad hoof problem.

p.s. Flocky, I hope my information re your post on weighing feeds was of some help to you?

05-12-02, 11:29 AM
Hey Jomac...

Just got the chance to read it properly and reply! :-)

look out for it! :-)

05-12-02, 11:47 AM
Hey Danni!!!

Now now... don't curse me!!! *laughs* Haven't seen any of those scary looking flappy bats.... thank god! :-)

I have been a good girl and staying away from back feet! Actually I tend to flinch if a leg comes up! But lately I have come up really well, starting to relax again around them... and not doing the 'run for the fence' everytime I see a hoof lift! *laughs*

It looks like my bad boy may be coming back into work in a month or 2 time.. which is VERY good news! Very excited! :-)

Keep in touch!