Dry hoof nourishment suggestions? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-31-2012, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Oregon
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Question Dry hoof nourishment suggestions?

My(I work to ride and take care of as if it were my own) mare has rediculously dry hooves right now. She seems to get cracks and chips almost every week. As of now she is only being fed whatever grass is in thier pasture.

Do you have any decent products, home remedies or supplement suggestions?

Is is true that in the winter water from the ground soaks up and moisturizes the hooves? What kind of oil/moisturizer exactly is what helps in this way? ex. fish oil, coconut/natural plant oils or something else entirely.

The more information you have to give me the better. I just soak it up like a sponge.

I know I have alot to learn, but I am willing to work as hard as it takes to get there...
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post #2 of 5 Old 09-01-2012, 05:04 AM
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Dry hooves & environments aren't a problem for horses. That is the natural state. However, when hooves look overdry - eg. they're shelly or peeling, the walls have lost their outer coating & are full of 'microcracks' or such, this indicates problems. I believe it's generally due to diet & nutrition, or too wet environments. Can be other reasons, such as chronically unhealthy feet with compromised circulation, infection, laminitis, etc.

Chipping generally means the hooves could do with more frequent trimming &/or keeping a 'mustang roll' or bevel to the outer wall. Vertical cracks can be due to just excess wall length/insufficient trimming, can be from hoof imbalance, infection or abscess or such blowing a hole in the wall.

Yes, hooves do absorb moisture in wet environments & as with our own skin if we soak for too long, this makes them softer & weaker. This also leads to them being compromised enough to be more prone to infection such as seedy toe & thrush. But it's the inner wall & sole that hold & can absorb moisture. The outer(healthy) wall has an impermeable layer over the top.

So... I would start by assessing her diet & ensuring the grass isn't too sugary/rich, or just too much of it if she's overweight. I'd also provide a good nutritional supp or ration balancer to provide her the nutrition she needs. I'd also include some fresh ground flax/linseed or such, for the omega 3s. FeedXL.com is a great program/service IMO for diet/nutrition information & balancing.

I would ensure she has her feet well & frequently enough trimmed and if at all possible keep her in a mostly dry environment. Any hoof wall infections need to be treated, as if the cracks are infected, even with adequate trimming, it can eat away at healthy horn quicker than it can grow.

And I wouldn't be putting any topical goop on the horse's hooves. This is generally at best useless, aside from cosmetic value, but it can also make matters worse. Here's a link to one study done on hoof 'dressings'; The Horse | Hoof Dressings: What Studies Show

If you would like any specific advice or opinions on your horse's hooves, pics(see link in signature) & more info will be helpful.
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post #3 of 5 Old 09-01-2012, 10:14 AM
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Since my horse is a super easy keeper that can live on pasture alone, I give him a ration balancer made for grass kept horses for his nutritional needs and flaxseed.
What is nice about the ration balancer is that they get such a small amount. My boy gets about 1 1/2 cups in the morning with his flaxseed and about 1/2 cup, or just a small handful in the evening..... and only because he is spoiled and asks for it, otherwise he wouldn't get anything in the PM.

He has been transitioning from shoes to barefoot and while Iíve had some farrier and other minor issues through this, his hooves are very healthy. No crack or chips, save for one from being too long in the hoof wall and stomping at flies.

The drought hit pretty hard here and while everything was drying up and dying, his hooves stayed happy and healthy, which I believe was due in part to the healthy fat/omegas from the inside out from feeding flaxseed.
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post #4 of 5 Old 09-01-2012, 12:18 PM
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Ditto the diet and proper/frequent trims.

Three of my four horses get Omega-3 Horseshine. They are all on a quality vitamin/mineral supplement with a pre-probiotic added in.

My area of Southern Middle Tennessee reached "Severe" drought status; we were so drought-stricken that I saw the poison oak literally dieing on the vine and the poke weed was even wilting. I didn't think either of those could be killed by anything.

Then the rains came and, within ten days time, we found ourselves not being able to keep up with mowing and bushogging

Except for the one club hoof that balance is an issue, none of my horses (including the one that doesn't get flax) had any sorts of cracks or chips. Their hooves kept a healthy shine all that time.

The only thing I did notice was they shed their soles and frogs double what they normally do for that time period.

I am now also seeing weather/pasture rings coming down on everyone's hooves because you can't have that drastic of a weather change that it won't show up on the hooves.

When you go from burnt crunching grass to lush green in ten days, it's going to affect metabolism which, in turn, affects what the hooves look like; that doesn't always mean founder, it just means a big change happened.
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post #5 of 5 Old 09-01-2012, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Thank you everybody. I have learned alot. All of these suggestions will be passed to the owner and Im sure they wont object to a supplement as they realize this is becoming a problem. I think that farrier visits are too far apart aswell..... :/

Thanks again.

I know I have alot to learn, but I am willing to work as hard as it takes to get there...
theprincessandtheshire is offline  

dryness , feet , hoof , hooves

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