Hoof Growth Help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-18-2009, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gallant, Alabama
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Hoof Growth Help?

I just got off the phone with my farrier (scheduling a Wednesday appointment to get my gelding’s front shoes reset) and he said something that left me wondering...

We were talking about my horses and he asked if my mare’s hooves had grown out/did she need her shoes to be reset too. I was like ‘her hooves haven’t grown a bit since you put the shoes on, they’re still tight as can be and barely any wear’ (he was out here on the sixteenth of August). My farrier was like ‘yeah, her hooves barely grow...’.

And they don’t... literally. Her hooves rarely seem to grow out... they’re always the same. I trim them myself after I pull her shoes, but I don’t trim a lot and usually just trim the edges away so she doesn’t cut herself on a jagged edge of her hoof and make sure there’s no ‘major’ flaring (though we don’t have many problems with flaring) and make sure she’s level. When the farrier comes out, he sometimes has problems with shoeing her because she has so little hoof... and it’s natural! It kinda worries me, but at the same time I’m glad that her hooves don’t really grow because she can hold a shoe for about two to three weeks longer than normal without a problem... but like I said, now that he’s actually mentioned it, and I’m actually thinking about it, it’s a bit... interesting and worrying to me.

What would make her hooves not grow like ‘normal’... they’ve always been like this, and would there be any way for me to encourage hoof growth? I’ve used a hoof conditioner and hoof stuff before, and all it really did was strengthen her hooves so much that my farrier actually told me to stop using it because he claimed to have trouble driving the nail through easily.

Any ideas? My gelding’s hooves grow normally and he’s my mare’s son...

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding), Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding) & Harlow (9 y/o APHA mare)
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-18-2009, 09:09 PM
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cutters grow at practically lightning speed, the farrier comes every 4.5- 5 weeks and its so expensive. ive heard that omega fatty acids are good for hooves but thats all i know
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post #3 of 16 Old 10-18-2009, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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I don't really think that it could be her died, because she and my gelding get the exact same feed and are on the same pastue/hay and his hooves grow very well... all our other horses hooves grow fast except for my girls...

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding), Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding) & Harlow (9 y/o APHA mare)
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post #4 of 16 Old 10-18-2009, 10:04 PM
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Location: Ontario
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All horses hooves grow at different rates. There is only so much that you can do. Heycutter is right to suggest the diet. You can look at adding biotin as well. Just because the diet work well for the other horse doesn't mean it is the right diet for her. Sure, often several horses can all eat the same thing and all be fine, but maybe your girl just needs a little bit extra.

You can try to stimulate growth by massaging a hoof care cream into her coronet, but don't put anything on the rest of her hoof. It needs to breath and growth is, after all, from the top down. Diet and exercise and proper farrier care. Compare people -- my fingernails are soft (not brittle) and my friend's are as hard as rock and my mom's were dry and brittle. Everyone's a little bit different.
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post #5 of 16 Old 10-18-2009, 10:08 PM
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Hoof supplements will help speed growth...Sandie's on them just because she's barefoot and I like to have a little "extra" for the farrier to trim off to avoid her feet from wearing too quickly in between trims...Farrier's Formula works great for her

"The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you..."
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post #6 of 16 Old 10-18-2009, 10:31 PM
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the more protein you give a horse the more the hoof should grow, thats the theory anyways. i used a farrier who would come out more in the summer and less in the winter, the horses had less protein, because all the grass dies in the winter. i give paprika with feed, about a teaspoon or two. some horses may not eat it. its the main ingredient in most coat enhancing supplements (ie black as night... ect) i believe it also helps hoof growth as well.
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post #7 of 16 Old 10-19-2009, 12:19 AM
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The most influential factor in a horse's hooves is exercise, the more there is, the more growth they should experience. Nutrition provides the building blocks, so lacking in certain key elements can ****** or slow growth, can't build a bridge out of thin air, right? However, shoes DO inhibit growth of the hoof.

The shoes compromise circulation in the hoof, NO MATTER HOW WELL APPLIED to a certain degree in every horse, it's proven. Leaving shoes on longer, even when it seems there is little growth, takes the hoof further away from natural mechanics (each milimeter of growth distances the hoof from the ground (and stimulation to grow) and can actually constrict blood flow even more. Natural hooves usually grow faster than shod ones, regardless of activity. However, it's true that each horse is an idividual in growth rates and hoof type/quality.

Removing the shoes, even for the winter should help speed up growth, provide exercise (even if it's just in the mode of pasture grazing over stalled) and the growth should increase, regardless of what supplements you are feeding.

Topicals really don't speed hoof growth, and hoof supplements only work if the horse was lacking those nutrients in the exact proportion they come in the supplement.

Give and take stimulation of the frog and heel area (landing heel first on firm terrain or on a softer surface) will help speed circulation, constant pressure (bar shoes, plastic pads) can inhibit it.
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post #8 of 16 Old 10-19-2009, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info... really intresting.

With the exercise, even when I was riding my girl a lot (5/6 times weekly for 3+ hours a day) there was little growth... about the same that there is now... I ride my gelding more than my mare right now, but I'm working back up to balancing their riding time with each other.

Back in 06, before and after my gelding was born, her hooves were a bit long, because we hadn't had a farrier out in a few months... but even then, her hooves were the shortish longer hooves of all our horses (all the horses hooves were long) and they weren't really all that long.

Removing her shoes for winter is out of the question as I do most of my riding during the fall/winter months (I do most of my riding from August through May)... I would gladly remove her shoes if she could handle it, but she can't... her soles are too close to the ground and cause her pain (vet's assessment three years ago when I was really wanting to let her go barefoot) and she gets extremely tender extremely easily when barefoot unless she's constantly on a soft, grassy surface.

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding), Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding) & Harlow (9 y/o APHA mare)
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post #9 of 16 Old 10-19-2009, 12:51 AM
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So get hoof boots for the riding.=) In my experience, the very hooves say can't go barefoot, do so the quickest and most dramatically. The soles being too close to the ground is a relative term, he probably meant her coffin bone is too close to the ground, beacuse there is some lack of sole callous, or good hoof wall connection, which only gets worse when suspended by a metal rim of a shoe, over time. In fact, the shoeing can permanantly damage the circulation in the hoof, which will ****** hoof growth ability, esp. in the sole, over time.

I just don't see why boots aren't an option, unless you just can't take the time to put them on and off for each ride. The foam inserts inside hoof boots can offer good support, build that sole up, and protect those senstive soles at the same time. Of course, you have to have a good trim to complement that, and I realize not everyone can readily find a good trimmer in their area, unfortunately, and you have to work with what's available.
I'll get off my soap box for now, but really her short hooves you mention, I can picture as the type with thin-ish walls, they wear away pretty quick, if not wearing away naturally, they probably flare at the quarters and split and chip easily. Those hooves just don't take to shoeing very well, either, and leave very little to work with, regardless of the oils, conditioners and supplements.
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-19-2009, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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I am planning on investing in a pair of hoof boots in the future. I don't have the money right now, but I'm looking for a job and hoof boots have been on my list for a while now.

When we tried to get her barefoot, we kept her bare for over a year and kept her trimmed and all... I barely got to ride unless I rode another horse because she was so tender and just a few minutes of riding in any area that wasn't extremely soft and grassy caused her to limp and get even more tender. Since then, I've been too scared of hurting her to do that again... I do ride her occassionally barefoot in between shoeings, but if I get her on the road or on gravel, she gets so tender that she's out of commission until the farrier comes and puts new shoes on her.

Actually, we don't have much of a problem with her hooves flaring and chipping... She hasn't had cracks or anything in her hooves in a long time... the last crack she had in her hoof was a few years ago... my farrier said that he really can't see why we can't transition her to barefoot because according to him, she has really good hooves. We also don't have any problems with flaring, though my farrier rarely has a lot to 'work with' when it comes to her hooves, he always mentions that she has 'mustang hooves'... hard, compact, and don't crack or chip easily... but she just gets to tender that it makes me feel like a horrid horse-owner when we go bare (even for a few weeks) and she's in pain/discomfort.

The only hoof problem that my girl has is a twisted front hoof, though that's not even an actual 'hoof problem'... vet looked at it and examined her leg a few years ago... said that her fetlock bone is twisted and something in her leg causes her hoof to grow out like that... or something like that, I don't remember word-for-word, but he end result was that her hoof grows crooked because of something in her leg and it could be fixed with corrective shoeing and stuff, but it would cause my girl to go through pain and be out of commission for a while, nd he said that as long as she was sound, he wouldn't worry about it because it's not giving her any problems. With my farrier (I've been using him for two years... before that we used a guy who I really didn't like... I fired him after he hauled off and kicked my girl in the stomach when she was almost eleven months pregnant... my old farrier really made her hoof much worse...) but with my current farrier, he's been over the last two years slowly trimming her hoof back correctly and it's straightened out a lot, though it'll always be twisted to some degree...

I've even looked up the 'mustang roll', but my farrier doesn't do that and the only person I know of who will do that... you have to trailer the horse to him and he charges a hefty price that I can't afford... and I don't own a trailer... so that's impossible... I even called him back when I did have the money and was willing to pay him to see if there was any way he could come out and the guy point blank said 'no'.

Thanks a lot for the help and information, though. Anyway, I've about written a novel, so...

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding), Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding) & Harlow (9 y/o APHA mare)
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