Summer Hoof Care

We all know that health comes from within and good quality forage is the key to most things, but there is always the exception to the rule, and always that one horse that goes out of its way to make a liar out of you.  Just like our own hair & nails, environment has its part to play all year round.  We love to see the long summer evenings and the warmer weather, full day shows and hopefully more sunshine than rain.  Ever thought how the summer affects your horse’s feet, maybe you’ve a problem horse and know only too well.  If they are in and out of sand, muck, dry bedding, dusty fields, this constant battle of environments is going to take its toll.  So how do we counteract that?  Topical treatments on hooves can protect and create a barrier, but not all barriers are equal, and not all are good for the hooves, do your research.  We use beeswax, as it’s the only natural barrier that’s breathable, as the main base to our hoof balm.  This will still allow the hoof to do everything it should, but it also creates the most wonderful barrier.  This also keeps unwanted moisture and bacteria out and natural moisture locked in.  Like all living things the hoof needs to breathe, expand and contract depending on environment.   The hoof is the horse’s shock absorber, which starts in the frog and spreads out through the tissue above the frog and on into the coffin joint and beyond.  This nicely takes us to the sole & frog of the foot.  We have all encountered thrush at some point, foot rot is another name.   I’ll let that sink in.  Foot Rot.  Google that only in horses.  I was in my late teens when I heard it called this, that hit me how serious thrush can be.  If the integrity of the whole foot is compromised there is no chance of soundness and this bacterial/fungal problem has to be treated in the same way you would any serious condition your horse has.  Depending on the severity you may need to seek veterinary advice but on the minor side, again a good quality topical treatment will tackle the bacteria & fungus.  Our hoof balm contains both Eucalyptus & Tea Tree Essential oils which are both antifungal & antibacterial, it works on all aspects of hoof care.  If your horse is more prone to this in winter months when stabled now is the time to get on top of it.  Even when they are in the field it’s important to pick out their feet and check for stones, thrush or any changes. It’s also just as important to not neglect your regular trims even for your field ornaments as the farrier can detect early changes including Laminitis or joint issues.