To clean out hooves or not??? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 03-02-2014, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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To clean out hooves or not???

So, is it best to constantly keep feet picked out and clean? Or, better to let the dirt pack in there and put pressure on structures? But if you let dirt pack stay in, how do you prevent thrush from manure and things that get in there?

I've heard people talk about both routes. I'm wondering what to do?
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post #2 of 36 Old 03-02-2014, 09:24 PM
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I would definitely opt for keeping the feet clean rather than letting dirt/manure pack in there and become a breeding ground for disease..

HOWEVER, I did spend 6 very hot and dry months in Wyoming where no one ever cleaned their horses feet. I cleaned out mine anyways but thrush was literally unheard of there, and all the horses were very healthy.

So I suppose it depends on your climate, if your horse is susceptible to thrush, and how comfortable you are letting his feet stay dirty.

I would recommend talking to your farrier about trimming. Let him know that you're concerned about foot health, and he may be willing to talk to you about it, and perhaps let your horse's frog grow longer. Mine does, but he's a believer in 'natural feet'.

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post #3 of 36 Old 03-02-2014, 09:25 PM
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Subscribing, I've wondered the same thing myself! I settle for picking them out as the 'mud' around here has lots of manure and grossness, rather than being 'clean' and just dirt.
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post #4 of 36 Old 03-02-2014, 09:26 PM
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I think it depends. I have been trying to clean hoofs a little more lately because it's so muddy but in the summer... I'm really bad about it...

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post #5 of 36 Old 03-02-2014, 09:33 PM
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Maybe we're just weird, and I would take this with a huge grain of salt because the same person that told me alfalfa made horses sick in the summer told me this...but my old BO actually didn't want us picking out the horse's hooves when it was muddy because she said that constantly removing it caused more wet mud to take its place, keeping the hoof wet- rather than just letting one layer pack in and dry to make a protective layer against wetness. Whether or not thats true, I don't know, but we never had thrush problems even in muddy, humid seasons and had over 40 head of horses.
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post #6 of 36 Old 03-02-2014, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Endiku View Post
Maybe we're just weird, and I would take this with a huge grain of salt because the same person that told me alfalfa made horses sick in the summer told me this...but my old BO actually didn't want us picking out the horse's hooves when it was muddy because she said that constantly removing it caused more wet mud to take its place, keeping the hoof wet- rather than just letting one layer pack in and dry to make a protective layer against wetness. Whether or not thats true, I don't know, but we never had thrush problems even in muddy, humid seasons and had over 40 head of horses.
That actually makes sense. I've been squirting the thrush stuff in it between cleanings but who knows if it's really working since he's going right back out in it...
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post #7 of 36 Old 03-02-2014, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sure climate plays a factor, well, I think.....

In summer here, it is very dry.....but that is when I spend probably more time picking only manure out, since the dirt is dry and doesn't get lodged up in the hoof.

When it rains here, which just happend.....obviously the dirt is packing very well up in there. But if it's wet, wouldn't it cause thrush?

Either way, I guess it's only the wet stuff....manure or dirt, which would stick up there anyway, because the dry dirt would just fall out to begin with.
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post #8 of 36 Old 03-03-2014, 05:05 AM
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Yep, I'm 100% positive I'm not sure & think it depends on situation.

Studies by Dr Bowker & others have shown the benefits of having 'packed' lateral sulcii & I know Dr Bowker has the attitude it should all be left regardless. But depending on climate, state of frogs, what's in there... it can possibly just form a better breeding ground for bugs. BUT then we also have to consider how even if we do clean hooves daily, the horse is still likely to get 'packed' soles soon after & for the majority of each 24 hrs, so what effective difference does the daily clean really make anyway.

I personally don't see my horses every day & don't clean their feet every time either & they either get thrush(gen in winter-early summer) or they don't. Doesn't appear related to how often they're picked.
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post #9 of 36 Old 03-03-2014, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Yep, I'm 100% positive I'm not sure & think it depends on situation.

Studies by Dr Bowker & others have shown the benefits of having 'packed' lateral sulcii & I know Dr Bowker has the attitude it should all be left regardless. But depending on climate, state of frogs, what's in there... it can possibly just form a better breeding ground for bugs. BUT then we also have to consider how even if we do clean hooves daily, the horse is still likely to get 'packed' soles soon after & for the majority of each 24 hrs, so what effective difference does the daily clean really make anyway.

I personally don't see my horses every day & don't clean their feet every time either & they either get thrush(gen in winter-early summer) or they don't. Doesn't appear related to how often they're picked.
This has been my experience, too. Unless a horse appears sore, or checking for rocks after a ride, I pick out just once a week to look for problems (e.g. thrush) and see who needs to be trimmed.
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post #10 of 36 Old 03-03-2014, 05:51 AM
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I really only clean my boys feet before I ride, or if it's been wet and muddy for more than a week.

The school that used to own him always claimed that he was SUPER prone to thrush, you have to keep his feet perfectly clean.

Nope. Had him for almost a year now (OMG it's actually a year in 6 days!), not a single case of thrush even when he's living in muck. As everyone else has said, it all depends on the horse and the conditions.
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