Hoof products/supplements - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-21-2019, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Hoof products/supplements

Hi all.
Oliver's hooves have started showing cracks. Some from the bottom up and some from the top down.
Our winter weather here in Colorado goes back and forth from very wet when it snows to extremely dry (very low humidity).
My question has two parts.
1. What is a good product to apply to the hooves to seal in good moisture? It seems there are so many available options.
2. Are supplements like "Equinety" or "Horseshoer's Secret" worth it to promote strong hooves?

Thanks.

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post #2 of 11 Old 12-22-2019, 12:43 AM
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I'm in northern Arizona, so probably have a similar climate and have never had a problem with hooves cracking. I wonder if it could be nutritional?

I feed a good bit of alfalfa (1/3rd to 1/2 my horse's diet) and I suspect that gives her good feet. (I only have one horse at the moment but have owned many others and never had cracking problems with any of them).

So I don't have experience with hoof supplements per say but I am curious if you feed any alfalfa at all?

I don't apply topicals at all either except in the frog creases to prevent thrush. My corrals get awful nasty in the winter. But they also go back and forth between wet/dry. I always considered dry conditions to be good for their hooves.


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post #3 of 11 Old 12-22-2019, 08:47 AM
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Heavy draft types IME have a harder time with their hooves r/t the weight. Cracking hooves does not necessarily mean dry hooves, even if it may seem that way. Dry hooves are generally more supportive than wet ones, so keeping horses out of extreme muddy conditions is very beneficial.

I have found BioFlax 20 to be the best supplement to encourage hoof growth, but of course it takes several months to see results. Independent studies had shown this product to work best, and you can buy it straight from the producers. My horses all have this every day.

You might want to start with a vet exam and xrays of the hooves so the vet can see what is going on inside. Oliver may need shoes or something for a while for support while the hoof grows out.

There is likely a fungal and/or bacterial infection, so products to fight that should help. Personally, I prefer the Absorbine Hoof flex (after every trim - clean hooves) and Absorbine Thrush remedy products. Have also used Tea Tree oil with success. Listerine works too, especially if you soak the hoof in it.
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-22-2019, 08:47 AM
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Some say strong hooves can only be formed from the inside out.


Cracks at the bottom are almost certainly infected.



Sealing cracked hooves from the outside will likely be sealing in the anaerobic infection that caused them which will help the infection thrive and spread.


Yep, pictures, top and bottom, would go miles toward meaningful suggestions and opinions.

Last edited by Hondo; 12-22-2019 at 08:54 AM.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-22-2019, 05:06 PM
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I'm in Arizona...

We feed high quality Teff hay with a ration balancer and a little rice bran. All four of ours have great coats and hooves!

Hooves (the outer part) are similar to human hair or fingernails... the outer cells are dead, so proper nutrition is key. Hoof growth can be somewhat maintained with topical products, but hoof health starts with overall health and proper nutrition to create healthy cells in the first place.

I think a ration balancer is important, because every crop of hay varies nutritionally, so a balancer fills the nutrients that may be missing in a particular load or crip.
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-22-2019, 09:03 PM
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Teff hay is known to have a much wider range of NSC than bermuda. Teff can be really high in NSC, or really low. I had to quit feeding it to my post foundered horse. Several times when he was sound I tried it and he went gimpy each time. I have three bales left and will feed them to goats when I get some.



Now I may have just got a load that was the extra extra rich. I've been intending to have it tested just to see. I have seen posts that it is best not to feed Teff at all unless it is in fact tested first. Haven't seen any .edu studies on that.



Actual hoof growth is entirely controlled by the nutrients required for growth which is carried by the vascular system within the hoof. Abrasion and wear are thought by some to signal something within the foot to accelerate growth, but I've never come across a study that indicated that is true.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-22-2019, 09:45 PM
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I've never seen or fed Teff. That's interesting fellow Arizonians have experience with it.

I used to feed straight alfalfa. Then I fed alfalfa/bermuda. Currently I am feeding alfalfa, bermuda and rye. When I run out of rye, I am not going to buy more......the horse loves it but feeding 3 different hays is more trouble than feeding two different hays.

I've never seen a horse fed alfalfa with bad feet. Well, 20 years ago I had a friend with an off the track Thoroughbred and he had crummy feet. But he was also half starved when she got him. So I really have no scientific evidence, but I've always had the strong feeling that alfalfa is good for strong hooves.

I don't feed a ration balancer but I do feed flax and about a pound of senior feed a day just as a treat. The flax I've only been feeding since last spring and I've tried a few different kinds. I think I've settled on Omega Horseshine. It does have some biotin in it as well. But I fed horses for 20 years without any kind of special supplements and I can honestly say I've never had cracking issues. I've also been riding them barefoot for close to that long. (My whole reason for feeding flax is because I really wanted her coat to shine......and it does!)

Sometimes horses will get superficial cracks that really don't go deep, they are just on the outer layer of horn. I wonder if that is what is going on? Those I would suppose are caused by wet/dry cycles.


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post #8 of 11 Old 12-29-2019, 12:00 AM
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Hi,

Horses hooves are meant to be dry. 'Very dry' is the environment they do best in & it is rare for them to truly be 'too dry'.

Yes, nutrition is often the answer for them *looking* 'to dry' and whether 'horseshoer's secret' or otherwise, nutritional supps can be the answer. Hooves being just an external part of the whole horse, do not take separate, different nutrition - feed the whole horse correctly and the hooves will also get the nutrition they need. Balance is important, and not knowing what is already in the diet, one cannot know what supps may be appropriate/best. So I suggest starting with a diet analysis, then you can work out what product(s) will appropriately 'fill the gaps'.

There are few exceptions, but using paint on 'hoof conditioners' & such are generally pointless at best(a great marketing scam), and if they're something oilbased, that seals in moisture, can actually do further harm, if there are cracks with any infection in them for eg. will just make for a cushier environment for the bugs to thrive!
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-29-2019, 07:00 AM
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Growing up in the 50ís & 60ís, on the OH/PA border, there was no such thing as hoof cracks unless the horse was so neglected, it should have been removed from its tiny property.

My horses ran on nearly 100 acres back then. They ate home grown hay, oats and corn <GASP!> in the winter. Granddad taught me how to trim their hooves when I was 12 so I had a ways to go before I got my trimming capabilities honed.

None of my horses, nor my grandfatherís ever had hoof cracks.. They didnít have thrush or white line either.

In the 70ís, we bought a few trail horses that had been brought back from the desert states - they all had great hooves.

Meaning all of our soils have deteriorated horribly, in terms of vitamins/minerals. The last 20 years, I have put more care into my horses hooves than I ever had to before that.

***
I said all that to say:
1. Start with diet. Find out whatís missing in your soil and what there is too much of. Have your hay tested.

2. Regardless of whether you do your farrier work or itís someone else - itís not being done correctly - Iím sorry but chronic never ending hoof cracks are also a result of unknowledgeable farrier work for that horse, I donít care how ďgreatĒ the farrier is. A lifetime of experience with farriers has taught me how great farriers are and are not.

3. I suspect the toe cracks are now a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria or fungus. You can address that by brushing the toe cracks as clean as possible and applying some sort of medicated product made for thrush or WLD (whiteline disease).

3.1 IMO Coppertox is worthless but it may work in your sandy environment.

In my moist very humid environment, Thrush Buster works well. What works best for my foundered horse is the White Lightening Gel. A 2 oz bottle costs $19 but you get what you pay for and a little goes a long way.

4. ^^^all of that means donít paint the hooves with any moisture-type topicals. as loose alluded to, you could do more harm than good, even if a farrier suggests to do that. Knowing what I know now, I would ditch that farrier as that is strike two; the first being the farrier canít trim to keep the toe cracks at bay:)

4.1. If you say your horse self trims, it needs help, starting with the diet and someone guiding the hooves with a hoof rasp:)
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-29-2019, 07:20 AM
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^Agree with above, except that there are 'cracks' & 'cracks' and it also depends on what OP may or may not have allowed the farrier to do as to whether I'd hold them responsible. Significant cracks are indeed likely to be at least partly due to trimming/hoof balance, but hairline or shallow 'cracks' & 'brittle' or 'peeling' hooves can be solely diet/environmental. And a farrier may be knowledgeable & assertive about recommending, but he can't make an owner feed a balanced diet, or manage optimally. And then if seedy toe is a factor, I believe in being 'assertive' in it's treatment myself, but I've had many clients who would not allow me to open up infections, clean it out, or they won't treat in between visits, and that allows it to persist but I don't believe it's my fault as a farrier that that is so.
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