So, I currently have my horses on about 2 acres of drylot with lots of rocks and hard ground, because of this, they have awesome hard feet and no tenderness... The only thing that sucks is feeding hay all year because there is no grass. I have the opportunity to move them to about 5 acres of grass pasture (I only have 2 horses, so it should be ok)... I'm just concerned that being on the soft grass will soften their feet and create tenderness problems... Any ideas on what I can do in the pasture to help keep their hooves hard? I've been thinking about getting a load of stones and having stones on the ground at the gates and around the water tub... Any other ideas?
I've never heard that rougher or harder ground improves a horses hooves. I always thought hard rocky ground increases the chances of cracks, bruises and abscesses.
I have found feed quality has the greatest impact on my horses feet. My summer pasture supplies a better mix of nutrients and minerals than feeding hay does in the winter (they are on a healthy mixed pasture). In winter, I supplement their hay with concentrates and minerals. If it is very rainy, standing in mud seems to have a negative impact on their hooves, but I can't see how the hardness of the ground toughens up their feet. Their feet also grow much faster in the summer, requiring more frequent trimming, but they don't seem to soften.
It sounds like you are lucky that your horses have good feet. Moving them to grass shouldn't change that, so long that they don't founder or anything.
Maybe I am I'll informed and missing something?
Cinny has nice strong hooves and no foot tenderness on gravel, etc. He has been kept in a variety of situations including in a barn stall, pasture, dry lot, etc. His hooves have never had any changes or added tenderness depending on where he was.
I wouldn't worry about it and just continue what you are doing. If anything the grass is healthier for the hooves than the dry lot because it won't suck the moisture out of the hooves so bad.
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