Originally Posted by petitepyromaniac
1. She's barefoot. I'd really like to keep her hooves tough. I've heard of putting Turpentine, Keratex, and Iodine on hooves to harden them. Which would you recommend, and how do you apply it?
If you want to keep her hooves tough, keeping her bare is a great start
I would not put anything on them, least of all Keretex or turps. It is not good for them & they don't need hardening.
2. She tends to chip her hooves in the summer, and get cracks in the lower area of the hoof wall. I always thought it was because it's dry, so I put Rain Maker all over the hooves (including the sole and coronet band) in the summer. How do I keep her hooves from getting too dry, but keeping them strong and hard on the bottom so she can go barefoot?
She will be chipping most likely due to being trimmed incorrectly &/or not frequently enough. It's not because they're dry - that's how they're meant to be. It is the inner hoof wall that has moisture in it - the outer layer is dry & compacted tubules that is relatively impervious to moisture. So how to keep them from getting too dry? Don't let the farrier rasp the outer coating from the walls and ensure she has a good diet & well balanced nutrition.
Strong, tough soles & frogs(& internal structures) come with good diet, management and living & working on the terrain you want the horse to be conditioned to. They need to *grow* strong & thick.
If your horse is not/not yet 'conditioned' or otherwise in a healthy state to go bare comfortably on what you want to ride her on, invest in a set(usually just need fronts) of hoof boots or such, so she can move comfortably & therefore build the strength. Generally that should be the only 'products' you really need on your horse's feet.
Check out Mayfield Barehoof Care Centre Home Page
& Iron Free Hoof
as these are great, among other good ones, and learn all you can about the principles & factors you need to consider to keep her hooves strong & healthy.