Rehabbing terrible hoofs - what else can I do?
 
 

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Rehabbing terrible hoofs - what else can I do?

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    08-23-2012, 10:48 AM
  #1
Yearling
Rehabbing terrible hoofs - what else can I do?

My daughter's appendix made has terrible feet and this summers weather is not helping. We've had very hot days with thundershowers that produce about an inch of rain at night. The cycle of wet / dry seems to be wreaking havoc on her feet. She is barefoot in a fairly soft field, ridden 2-3 times a week mainly in the field and once a week in lessons in a sand arena. Her walls are thin and her soles are a bit tender. She has never been overtly lame, but is heavy on the forehand and quite flat under saddle. My daughters riding coach suggested front shoes, if they would stay on. We have her trimmed on a regular schedule about every 5-7 weeks and she is on quality grass with some supplement containing Biotin and fit A and D. It seems we are always playing catch up at her trims as her feet begin to crack and break one or two days before the farrier arrives, no matter if it has been 5 weeks or 7 weeks. The farrier was out again yesterday and this is the program we have her on to improve the quality of her hoof walls. Any feedback or further suggestions would be appreciated.

1. More frequent trims (aiming for every 4-5 weeks instead of 5-7). The farrier said he trimmed her and left her soles a little lower to distribute the weight a little better and take some stress off the walls of her feet. Does this male sense?
2. Increase the amount of Biotin she gets, and add some flax to her diet. (her mane and coat are already very healthy and glossy)
3. Paint the coronet band with Cornucrescin ointment daily to encourage hoof growth (recommended by the coach)
4. Paint her hoof wall and soles (not the frog) with Tuff Stuff every other day to help prevent these areas from absorbing excess water.
5. Use hoof boots ( Cavallo's) when she is ridden to give her hooves a little more protection and cushioning.
6. We discussed front shoes, but her walls are so thin and soft that the nails pull out. The farrier said he could. Try finer nails and lighter shoes, but was hesitant to recommend standard showing. He also said he would look into glue-on shoes. He says they work well for stabled horses, but wasn't sure about pastured horses. In the meantime we are going to try the hoof boots and see if we cannot improve the quality of her hooves without shoeing.

We have had this mare for over 5 years and her feet have always been a problem. We have tried various things in the past with varying success. With this summer's weather however, we are trying a more aggressive, mulltifaceted approach. Does this make sense? Is there anything I have described that seems unreasonable, or anything I have overlooked?
     
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    08-23-2012, 03:52 PM
  #2
Weanling
Only thing I can think of is---is your horse fat? I've seen improvement when I've put my riding horse on a diet. She's an easy keeper, also has not-so-good feet.

I also think some walking on a hard -not rocky, smooth-- surface (macadam) seems to develop stronger feet as they grow out.
     
    08-23-2012, 04:37 PM
  #3
Yearling
Beling - no, she is not fat at all. In fact, she is very lean and very fit.

I will consider hand walking her on some harder surfaces, but won't that increase the chances that her hooves will chip?
     
    08-24-2012, 03:31 AM
  #4
Trained
Hi,

Some hoof pics(see link below) & more info on diet & management would help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolio    
My daughter's appendix made has terrible feet and this summers weather is not helping. We've had very hot days with thundershowers that produce about an inch of rain at night. The cycle of wet / dry seems to be wreaking havoc on her feet.
Unfortunately yes, constant or regular wet footing is not great for hooves. But if your weather's that reliable, keeping her in over night might be a good option?

Quote:
Her walls are thin and her soles are a bit tender. She has never been overtly lame, but is heavy on the forehand and quite flat under saddle.
Have you tried her in boots or such to see if added sole protection made a difference? I agree that conventional metal rims aren't a great idea IMO. For one, you're further loading already weak walls and providing no support or protection for the soles, which sound like they need it.

Of your numbered plan... yes, absolutely tighten up the trim cycle. Especially when treating problems, it's important to aim at trimming often enough to *keep* feet well maintained rather than allowing overgrowth before 'correcting'.

Yes, studies have shown that biotin does indeed help hoof growth & strength, even in excess of balanced nutrition. Flax(fresh ground or stabilised) is also a good move, providing essential fatties which may be deficient. But there are a variety of other nutrients - mainly minerals - that are necessary for hoof health & often deficient/imbalanced in the diet. These include copper, zinc, iodine & magnesium. It's important to feed them in balance relating to other nutrients too, so a diet analysis is also important when working out what supps may be necessary. I love feedxl.com as a great resource that takes the confusion out of balancing diets.

I wouldn't bother with cornucrescine or tuff stuff. Healthy growth comes from inside & painting on topicals is only really helpful cosmetically.

Quote:
The farrier said he trimmed her and left her soles a little lower to distribute the weight a little better and take some stress off the walls of her feet. Does this male sense?
Not sure. It depends on many things as to specifics & exceptions, but as a rule, walls shouldn't be allowed to overgrow the sole much at all - should be only a few mm or so longer than sole plane if that. And soles shouldn't *generally* be trimmed/thinned. So if the farrier had been leaving the walls too long &/or paring into the sole, that is likely to be part of the problem IME.
     
    08-24-2012, 10:49 AM
  #5
Yearling
Thanks for your reply loosie. I will look into the nutrition site you suggested. I forgot to add that she also gets Hoffman's minerals every day, but I'm not sure if that is enough.
Unfortunately, we don't have the option of keeping her in at night. This is why the farrier recommended painting her feet with the Tuff Stuff to try to keep out some moisture. She does spend most nights in her run-in which seems to stay pretty dry as it sits on higher ground.

Can you recommend a good biotin product? Right now we are using Leaps and Bounds. It seems to work better than Farrier's formula or Farriers choice. Can you overfeed biotin?
     
    08-24-2012, 11:11 AM
  #6
Weanling
My first thought was the farrier's trim. IMO, you really need to educate yourself about proper barefoot trimming. What it looks like and why it looks like it does. If your farrier is open to tweaking his methods to accommodate your horse, great! If not, ditch him. Your horse's health is more important than manners and loyalties. I ride through a lot of tough terrain and my farrier is not allowed to touch sole on any of our boys. They have GREAT feet. I'd be doubly resolved about this if they did not.

The sole, walls and frog all work together as one cohesive suspension system that pumps blood through the entire hoof and leg below the knee. If one of those three components is off, the whole system fails.

A good calloused sole is more important than concavity. Concavity MUST be achieved naturally to be successful.
     
    08-24-2012, 11:33 AM
  #7
Yearling
Thanks for your thoughts Hemms. I think my farrier is really good. He carefully evaluates the condition of our horses feet and considers diet, work, tenderness, etc. before trimming and making recommendations. Unfortunately, our mare has terrible feet (always has) and this summer's weather has made them unusually bad and the soft, wet ground is preventing her sole from callousing normally. Her already thin walls are even more brittle with the moisture, so any growth at all leads to chipping and cracking.
     
    08-24-2012, 11:48 PM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolio    
Unfortunately, we don't have the option of keeping her in at night. This is why the farrier recommended painting her feet with the Tuff Stuff to try to keep out some moisture.
Maybe putting down 'pea gravel' or such in her hangout area(s) or such is an option? I don't know about 'Tuff Stuff' except what I've seen on their website. I don't generally think 'hoof conditioners' are a good idea, but there are always exceptions. Re 'keeping out moisture', the product info says "more effective than oil-based products that actually block absorption of moisture, TUFF STUFF®, is an acetone-based application that moisturizes the hoof from the inside out." Which sounds like it doesn't at all seal out moisture. Also I think putting acetone on hooves is not a great idea either. Not sure about the 'inside out' commentlol:.

Quote:
Can you overfeed biotin?
Don't know about specific biotin prods. Biotin is a B vitamin & theoretically(I'm not a nutritionist) it's not damaging to overfeed - the horse will just pee out the excess, so the worst effect is just wastage. Many other nutrients can be just as bad for the horse(or more so, selenium for eg) if fed in excess or out of balance with other minerals though, so best to look at nutrition holistically I reckon.
     
    08-24-2012, 11:56 PM
  #9
Trained
Biotin is a water soluble B vitamin. Whatever is not used will be excreted from the body. There are no worries of an overdoes with it.
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    08-25-2012, 03:05 AM
  #10
Started
Essential amino acids are also important for hoof nutrition.
loosie likes this.
     

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