huge ergots and chestnuts - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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Question huge ergots and chestnuts

Hi everyone. I tend to be one of those people that leave well enough alone and not fuss over the appearnce of my horses as long as they are relatively clean and healthy looking. BUT my new mare (perch QH cross) has massie chesnuts and ergots. The chesnuts on her front legs stick out probably 1.5 inches, the ones on her back legs dont look as thick-but the grow out towards the rear--these are VERY hard and dry and wont peel off. Her ergots (especially on her back legs) are easily an inch long). Im sure they are not an issue-but they look really REALLY gross, and I am worried that she may tear something off (being with a bunch of new horses and all the shinanigans associated with that). Someone suggested vasiline to soften the chestnuts then peel them off-but will this work even with them being so long? another person suggested cutting them down with shears or hoof nippers. How do you get rid of ergots? my gelding barely has any and they dont grow long and have never bothered with them... Any advice will be appreciated.
Also-is it typical of drat breeds to grow larger/harder chestnust and ergots?
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 02:05 AM
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My anecdotal experience is that drafts do tend to have much bigger, uglier ergots.

Might see about having your farrier nip them off.
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 07:57 AM
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As stated before Drafts have MUCH larger ergots and chestnuts. Not sure why. If I have a horse that has really large ones, I usually cut them off with a knife. If you are uncomfortable with that, then ask the farrier to do it. I agree, they really do look awful!
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 08:00 AM
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Vaseline will help to soften the chestnuts even if they are big. You might also use a very sharp knife to trim some of the cheastnut off first. There is no blood supply or nerves to the chestnuts so trimming them will cause no pain. It is the same thing a farrier could do. Same for the ergots. Use nippers or another sharp cutting tool and just cut them off, but not all the way to the skin of the fetlock feathers.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 10:37 AM
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It truly must be a draft thing. I used to just curry off the chestnuts on my old TWH mare and never knew her to grow an ergot sufficient to need attention. Not so with the percheron boys. Their chestnuts are hard as rocks. Have to use sheep hoof shears to nip those suckers off. Ergots are the same way. Oh, and I agree--they do look awful.
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-13-2011, 12:21 AM
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I was once told by a farrier to soak (overgrown, large) chestnuts overnight in vaseline (basically just goop as much on there as you can), then the next day wipe off, and peel off any chestnut that may have come loose; nip off any that is still protruding (not super close though) with a pair of nippers/a knife.

I'd assume ergots would receive similar treatment, though haven't had direct instructions to do them that way. will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. ... Explore. Dream. Discover.”
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-13-2011, 01:43 AM
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Vaseline really does work, my draft cross mare had HUGE horrible chestnuts, and I was skeptical about it, but I was surprised by the results.

I smothered them in Vaseline, then after a couple of days was able to peel one, It had lifted along a fault line, and the others I trimmed back with a hoof knife.

I then repeated, smother with Vaseline, and a couple of days later just peeled them back. I was totally shocked how easy and affective it was.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-17-2011, 02:13 PM
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I've always peeled the excess chestnut and ergots off after a bath because they are nice and soft then. I would imagine draft horses' are a bit tougher though!

| Kubie, Appaloosa (RIP) | Patches, Pinto Arabian Pony | Scotch, Paint Quarterhorse |
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-18-2011, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I HAD to do the chestnuts today. She partially tore one off (right at the skin) I think with the flies-she was maybe kicking at her belly and tore one. I just used a hoof knife and kind of "sawed". I left about a quarter of an inch and slathered on the vasaline-to keep them soft so I can pick at them later. Left the ergots alone for now-I will try the hoof nippers on them maybe tomorrow.
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