Originally Posted by loosie
Hard ground is actually good for horses generally. The problem is, they're usually too used to living on soft stuff, so their feet don't get conditioned to it.
Basic answer is no, I don't think a sole 'toughener' is the answer. They are not generally effective, as the horse's soles/frogs don't need to be harder, more brittle, and this doesn't protect them from stone bruises or such any more. They need to *grow* thicker soles/frogs. I would advise using hoof boots or vettec sole guard or such when working him on hard ground.
It is also probable that there are other issues that cause the *symptom* of added sensitivity on hard ground. Eg. His soles may be flat, his heels may be weak, thrushy, his walls may be overlong.... You can send some hoof pics & info on management, feeding, terrain, etc, if you would like more specific advice.
Okay so no hoof toughener. Would conditioning his hooves to go on tougher ground (walking him on the rougher stonier ground for short periods) help the issue?
I don't have any hoof pics available right now, I can get some today when I go out but info on the other things I can give you. We are in ohio, as it's summer he's spending nights outside (over the past week it's been cooler and he has been out 24/7); he's a little fat so he's wearing a grazing muzzle and gets less than a quarter cup of grain to mix with his grand-vite supplement. His grain is the pellet kind not sweet feed, last time he had any sweet feed he turned into a crazed monster :S
Oh, he's barefoot (i think I mentioned this before) and he's trimmed by a local barefoot trimmer. He's prone to be thrushy and i've been managing it best I can. The trimmer always says he has nice feet.