Mud & Hooves - Good & Bad
 
 

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Mud & Hooves - Good & Bad

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  • Protecting horses feet from mud
  • Is mud bad for a horses feet

 
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    11-02-2009, 02:28 AM
  #1
Weanling
Mud & Hooves - Good & Bad

So, the rain has begun! We're in the Seattle, WA area, so that means lots of rain (and mud) for the next 4 months! I'm a little confused on whether mud is good or bad for my horse's hooves. Are there any products/methods I can use to ensure my horse's good hoof health?

My horse is barefoot. He is stalled at night, turned out daily for 10-12 hours. Paddock has hoof-deep mud near the gate. My horse stands/grazes on higher ground, but does have to walk through the deep stuff.

He is on Biotin supplements (10mg/day), feet are picked about every-other day, regular trims (7-8 weeks), and has thrush treatment applied after each trim (farrier recommended).

The previous "muddy" barn we were at had a very cushy sand arena, so my horse went well with his water-logged feet. My farrier said the sand probably kept his feet clean of bacteria. Next, we were at a different barn with small (dry) gravel paddocks. My horse's feet got very hard and chipped a LOT! So, we're back to a barn with mud in its pastures, but now have a very hard, dirt arena.

Will he be okay? Should I apply some sort of hardening/sealing product to his hooves? How can I tell if he's developing thrush?
     
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    11-02-2009, 03:12 AM
  #2
Trained
Hi,

Horses evolved for pretty dry, hard conditions, and I do believe those are the conditions that are best suited to them. But mud *in moderation* is not harmful. It's when they're stuck in nothing but mud or a waterlogged paddock all the time that's the big prob. If he only walks thru the mud a couple of times a day but is otherwise on firm, dry(ish) ground, that's likely fine.

BUT even if his feet are healthy, they will be softer & weaker for living on soft, damp ground, so will likely need some protection when made to go on hard ground they're not 'conditioned' for. Bit like, if you're used to going barefoot only on the carpet at home, on the occasions you tried to go bare on the gravel outside, you'd likely feel the need of some protection! The more exercise on firm, dry ground the better(so long as he's able to be made comfortable doing it).

Soft, muddy ground can also encourage contraction through lack of good stimulation to the back of the foot, lack of good hoof function. It can also be a great encouragement for infections such as thrush to take hold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Equina    
Are there any products/methods I can use to ensure my horse's good hoof health?
I disagree with the use of topical hoof goop *generally*. The only products that will really help this particular issue is treating the hooves regularly to avoid/treat infection, and boots or some such to protect the feet when you need the horse to cope on hard footing.

Quote:
He is on Biotin supplements (10mg/day), feet are picked about every-other day, regular trims (7-8 weeks), and has thrush treatment applied after each trim (farrier recommended). ....
Next, we were at a different barn with small (dry) gravel paddocks. My horse's feet got very hard and chipped a LOT!
Good that he's on biotin, if he's not getting enough green pick. If he is, then he may be getting enough in his diet so supping it is unnecessary. Excess biotin is not harmful, just a waste tho. Most domestic horses(depending on grazing/hay etc) are deficient or imbalanced in a heap of different nutrients tho, so IMO a *good* complete supp is a good idea, as is at least a basic diet/feed analysis to work out what exactly they need. Nutrition-wise, the hooves & hair are the extremities that reflect the whole body, so I don't tend to go for specific 'hoof supps'.

7-8 weekly trims are generally too long for most horses, altho it depends on many factors & some can healthily be left that long. 4-5 weeks seems to be a generally healthy schedule for the majority of horses. If a horse's feet are to be made/kept sound & strong, then they need to be trimmed frequently enough to *keep* them in shape, rather than waiting for them to become overgrown & then fix it. Being left too long &/or not being trimmed well is the general reason for chipping, altho other factors, such as diet, infection, soft feet, separation, etc will come into it too.

Regarding thrush treatments, if the horse has thrush, once a week treatment is unlikely to help much, let alone once every 7-8 weeks. It needs doing at least daily. If the horse doesn't have thrush, then there is no point in treating it, altho spraying the hooves daily with ACV or such will help it being kept at bay, as it doesn't like acid environments. If a horse is receiving well balanced nutrition, it will be less susceptible to infections such as thrush. Also it seems that it is strongly related to hoof function, and the more exercise & better used the back of the hoof, the less likely it is to develop thrush, even in environments that the bacteria thrive in. Therefore it's possible that it's not the mud itself that is the cause of thrush, but the lack of hoof function & subsequent contraction & weakening of the heels that leads to it.

Quote:
So, we're back to a barn with mud in its pastures, but now have a very hard, dirt arena.
Personally I'd jump at a dry, gravelly environment, to strengthen, condition & support my horse's hooves. I had very little difficulty rehabbing & 'transitioning' horses to barefoot when we were in that environment, but ATM, I'm in your situation - soft, reasonably soggy pasture, but only hard, gravelly tracks & roads to ride on. So I'm finding these days, my horses generally need hoof boots when going out. Come on summer!
     
    11-02-2009, 10:03 AM
  #3
Foal
I have seen an old piece of carpet laid down across a muddy gateway before now to keep the mud under control. It seemed to work as a quick fix, but not a permanent solution. It is difficult when you rent to do any permanent work on drainage in a problem gateway.
     
    11-02-2009, 06:56 PM
  #4
Trained
Regarding the gateway, you may be able to put down a load of screenings & then pea gravel on top, which will keep the mud at bay, area well drained & depending how much the horse has to walk on it each day, will also help support & condition his hooves.
     
    11-02-2009, 11:40 PM
  #5
Weanling
Mostly I ditto Loosie, however,

I would recommend a hoof sealer when you know it's going to be a wetter than usual period. Not polish, not moisturizer. Clean the hooves thoroughly, maybe use some ACV on the hoof wall, (below the hairline) and let dry. Then stand your horse on a board or concrete, etc and use the sealant from about 3/4 inch down from the hairline, on down to the ground level and let dry. Then do the same around the hard sole and ground surface of the hoof wall. Do NOT apply to the frog, though. This will give a temporary barrier against moisture, but can block the foot from breathing as well, so that's why you have to clean the foot first. You don't want to seal the softer tissues like the frog, heel bulbs or hairline, either.

This can be usefull to prevent the hooves from becoming waterlogged during a wet period, or when having to walk through mud frequently. It's usually better to leave a foot altogether naked, but this stuff wears away pretty quick and I see better results than horses just allowed to be soggy footed.

For the thrush, the ACV IS a great preventer, but more importantly is to simply pick the feet out frequently to expose the frogs to air.
     
    11-03-2009, 06:17 PM
  #6
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by barefoothooves    
Mostly I ditto Loosie, however,

I would recommend a hoof sealer when you know it's going to be a wetter than usual period. Not polish, not moisturizer. Clean the hooves thoroughly, maybe use some ACV on the hoof wall, (below the hairline) and let dry. Then stand your horse on a board or concrete, etc and use the sealant from about 3/4 inch down from the hairline, on down to the ground level and let dry. Then do the same around the hard sole and ground surface of the hoof wall. Do NOT apply to the frog, though. This will give a temporary barrier against moisture, but can block the foot from breathing as well, so that's why you have to clean the foot first. You don't want to seal the softer tissues like the frog, heel bulbs or hairline, either.

This can be usefull to prevent the hooves from becoming waterlogged during a wet period, or when having to walk through mud frequently. It's usually better to leave a foot altogether naked, but this stuff wears away pretty quick and I see better results than horses just allowed to be soggy footed.

For the thrush, the ACV IS a great preventer, but more importantly is to simply pick the feet out frequently to expose the frogs to air.
What kind of sealer would you recommend? I am in the same boat with soggy pens. I use the apply cidar vinegar to keep infection at bay but need something else to help them from getting waterlogged...
     
    11-03-2009, 10:38 PM
  #7
Weanling
I don't really have a favorite brand, just as long as it's only a sealer (not labled as a "hardener" ) Horseshoer's Secret by Farnam, is the first one that comes to mind, but really, I just buy what's on sale.
     
    11-04-2009, 01:48 PM
  #8
Weanling
Ok thanks barefoothooves!
     
    11-04-2009, 07:10 PM
  #9
Foal
Gina I was just wondering the same thing! Thank you so much for this post!
     

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