Hardening hooves - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-05-2011, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Hardening hooves

Okay, so this question isn't about Aires, it's about my friend's 16-year-old arab mare, Cassie.

Until last week, my friend was giving Cassie a midday meal of alfalfa pellets (one scoop), Purina Equine Senior (about a 1/2 scoop), and another supplement that I can't remember the name of at the moment. Anyway, she noticed when we were giving Cassie a full bath on Friday that she was able to scrape off part of Cassie's hoof and that it was REALLY soft. After the bath, she went to clean Cassie's feet and found that she could scrape off part of the sole around the frog because it was so soft. She brought the problem to the attention of our BO and he told her to stop the senior feed immediately. One of his dude string horses was on senior feed when he first got him and went lame because his hooves got so soft (said it was similar to foundering). So my friend stopped the senior feed that same day, but she's very concerned. She thinks that Cassie's hooves should be drying out/hardening up more quickly than they are. I told her not to worry, since she just barely stopped the senior feed a few days ago. So, are there any tips I can pass along to her to help harden up Cassie's hooves? She is working her in the (sand) bull pen every day and only doing light riding in the arena (found out that she's trained on barrels...who the heck trains a Polish arab on barrels?! Lol). She's also been putting rubbing alcohol on Cassie's hooves to help dry them out. Our farrier is going to look at her hooves when he's out next Tuesday to trim Aires' hooves, but in the meantime, I'd like some ideas to help ease my friend's mind about Cassie (she's a bit of a worry-wart...I love her to death, though).

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post #2 of 8 Old 07-06-2011, 01:39 AM
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I just read an article online about how to dry out your horse's over-saturated feet. It's an older article, but you (and your friend) might find it useful:

Flying Changes: magazine for northwest sporthorse enthusiasts

The author/farrier recommends equal parts of Turpentine (not the synthetic substitutes), Acetone and Iodine. An alternative is a mix of equal parts sugar and 7% Tincture of Iodine.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-06-2011, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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Sweet! Thanks for the article! I'll definitely show it to my friend. She was also putting Mane'N'Tail Hoofmaker hoof lotion on Cassie's hooves, which couldn't have been helping.

I'm wondering if this is why her 16yo mare who has never had to wear shoes in her entire life (even when used as an endurance/trail horse by a previous owner) suddenly had to have shoes put on a few weeks ago because she was getting rocks so far stuck up in her sole that they were causing her to bleed...

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post #4 of 8 Old 07-06-2011, 06:33 AM
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Our farrier told us Big Al has soft back hooves. So, after much research and our vets recommendation, we bought a product, Equine Motion XB. We initially wanted to give him joint support, but the XB formula has enhanced hoof support also.

We bought it directly from the developer since she is local to us. She did extensive study in developing this. Her study horses improved greatly when on this supplement. She put them on the XB, then took them off. Then on again, and off. Then another product...then off. The ridges in the hoof reflected the XB product and were decidedly harder and more dense when on the XB. The horse was then able to be shoeless from then on.

Al gets his first XB this am. Just thought it might help your friend. You can google this and make your own decisions.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-10-2011, 07:21 PM
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Keratix Hoof Hardener or Hoof Gel on the outside and Horseshoers Secret as a feed supplement work wonders for my horse.

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post #6 of 8 Old 07-11-2011, 12:16 AM
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Um, no one's mentioned exfoliating sole?? It is natural for old, dead sole to become 'chalky' and loose, if for some reason it hasn't exfoliated. This may be what your friend is seeing. Without more info, don't have much to go on.

If the horse is on wet footing & her feet need help in drying out, soaking in a strong saline solution can be helpful, drawing out excess moisture through osmosis. I would not be putting any other topicals on them, aside from if treating infection, and would avoid harsh chemicals such as turps, acetone, keratex, etc. It doesn't generally help soles to become harder anyway - what is needed is for them to *grow* thicker. Therefore, diet & nutrition is one of the important factors.

Regarding the senior feed(and most manufactured horse feeds), if it's grain/starch &/or sugar rich, it's not generally good for horses and founder(not 'like founder') is one potential effect of that sort of diet. Just going on flakey soles is no reason to suspect laminitis tho.

Quote:
suddenly had to have shoes put on a few weeks ago because she was getting rocks so far stuck up in her sole that they were causing her to bleed...
If the horse has got extremely thin &/or soles that it's actually causing bleeding(where were the rocks getting stuck?), then I'd suspect lami &/or other issues & get your friend to find a very good horse vet & good farrier & perhaps get xrays too. Shoes IMO won't help that. As there are differences of opinion wherever you look, among 'experts' & otherwise, I also suggest that one of the most important things your friend can do for her horse is to educate herself as best she can, so she can make some objective choices about how to manage her horse.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-12-2011, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Um, no one's mentioned exfoliating sole?? It is natural for old, dead sole to become 'chalky' and loose, if for some reason it hasn't exfoliated. This may be what your friend is seeing. Without more info, don't have much to go on.

It's not just the sole that is soft and scraping off...it's the whole hoof, both the sole and the wall. And it's not "chalky." The hoof when you scrape it off feels almost spongy.

If the horse is on wet footing & her feet need help in drying out, soaking in a strong saline solution can be helpful, drawing out excess moisture through osmosis. I would not be putting any other topicals on them, aside from if treating infection, and would avoid harsh chemicals such as turps, acetone, keratex, etc. It doesn't generally help soles to become harder anyway - what is needed is for them to *grow* thicker. Therefore, diet & nutrition is one of the important factors.

She is in the second driest stall on the property (next to the stall my Aires is in). The only thing my friend is putting on her mare's hooves is rubbing alcohol to help dry them out.

Regarding the senior feed(and most manufactured horse feeds), if it's grain/starch &/or sugar rich, it's not generally good for horses and founder(not 'like founder') is one potential effect of that sort of diet. Just going on flakey soles is no reason to suspect laminitis tho.

Again, NOT flaky soles, but spongy. Right now, Cassie is getting a flake of alfalfa morning and night, plus a meal of a half scoop of alfalfa pellets with about 3 Tbs of a pysillium supplement (supposed to prevent sand colic...Cassie is notorious for inhaling her feed right down to the dirt and even eating that) mixed in for lunch.

If the horse has got extremely thin &/or soles that it's actually causing bleeding(where were the rocks getting stuck?), then I'd suspect lami &/or other issues & get your friend to find a very good horse vet & good farrier & perhaps get xrays too. Shoes IMO won't help that. As there are differences of opinion wherever you look, among 'experts' & otherwise, I also suggest that one of the most important things your friend can do for her horse is to educate herself as best she can, so she can make some objective choices about how to manage her horse.

The rocks were getting stuck in the grooves around the frog (the bars, I think?).
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-12-2011, 04:50 AM
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Afraid that based on your further explaination, I'm at a bit of a loss, if what I imagine you mean is what's going on. It does sound serious though and I would definitely be calling in the 'big guns' & getting it checked out fully.

Some things I would be concerned about...
I am inclined to think infection may be at least contributing to the issues. Management - if the horse is kept in a stall, rather than out & about - would be contributing to weakened feet - if you don't use it you lose it, tho I've not had experience with that apparent degree of 'loss' of strength.
Not sure how dry 'second driest' is, but if it's at all constantly damp &/or any amount of excrement... again a contributor.
Again, I wouldn't personally be advising putting alcohol or otherwise on them, but soaking in saline may help dry them, as well as help treat any minor infection.
Diet & nutrition; I'm assuming the horse also has free choice(or close) grass hay? If not, this is important(sorry if I missed that bit). Unless the horse is a small pony, 2 biscuits a day is not generally adequate - they should get a min of 1.5% bodyweight per day in roughage. Also while alfalfa is a great feed generally, it will lead to imbalances & deficiencies if fed as the sole/main feed. It should be fed as *part* of a balanced ration. It's also high in energy, so could be contributing to metabolic probs if the horse is a 'good doer' or otherwise at risk of lami. In addition to good roughage, a good quality nutritional supplement - or diet analysis before working out which supps will fill the gaps - is a good idea, because imbalance/deficiency is likely.

Anyway, hope that info helps your friend & her horse somehow. Be interested to see hoof pics, if she's willing & interested if you would keep us posted on progress/outcomes?
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