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Jennifer Bradshaw

Overly Dry Feet

17 posts in this topic

I live in Missouri and typically we get some rain in the summer. This summer my horse's hooves are very very dry and starting to crumble. I have tried creating a puddle in front of the waterer, but it so hot it dries up within the hour. I have always believed that true hoof health comes from the inside out and topicals are a waste of time and money. However, I am willing to try anything! They are fed a high quality brome hay supplemented with a pelleted feed that has always served them well. All three are currently barefoot as it was just too hot to ride. I have started feeding them flax seed too, even though they are shiny and slick.

Anybody have any success with lotions or oils applied topically?

By the way this is my first post! Can't wait to meet new horse people!

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Dry is good. I'm in southeast OK and if it gets any more dry here we will blow away. All my horses are barefoot (I do my own trimming) and have smooth, shiny hooves with no cracking or crumbling. Can you post pics of their hooves? The trim could be the culprit. Also, what kind of minerals are you feeding? What is the pelleted feed they are getting?

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Sorry, pics are out of my technological capabilities right now. (I'm at the library) Their feet are trimmed every 8 weeks religiously, but he left them a little long this last time. I have been sorely tempted to attempt my own trims to save money, but never felt confident enough. I hope he isn't doing me wrong, it is a pain to find a decent farrier.

There are no vertical cracks at the moment, but on one geldings back feet a big chunk has come out of the hoof wall on the inside on both back feet! This is a horse that has been ridden for 7 years on rocky Ozark trails and never needed a shoe. The feed is Safe Choice, I don't have the bag in front of me but what mineral concentrates should I look for?

Thanks and nice to "meet" you!

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Nice to meet you too! To be honest, 8 weeks is probably way too long between trims and can be the reason their feet are falling apart. I would never go longer than 6 weeks and all of my horses are on either a 2 or 4 week schedule. The chunking on your gelding's hind feet is just his way of trying to trim himself :winking: You say there are no vertical cracks at the moment. Has this been a problem in the past with your current farrier and the 8 week cycle?

I don't know the ingredients of Safe Choice but if I were you I would offer them free choice loose minerals if you have a covered area where you can put them. If not, you can always pour out a couple ounces per horse per day. I only just started doing loose minerals myself, about 3 weeks ago (I was feeding Nutrena Empower Balance) and I'm using Moorman's GroStrong. For the first few days, all the horses ate their ration and then some...so that tells me they really were missing something in their diet that the Empower wasn't providing. They all look better already too...they don't look bloated now. Really excited to see how it affects their hooves over the next few months as new growth comes in.

When you say you can't do pics, do you mean you can't right now, or you can't ever? Any way you could take them with your cell phone and then email them to yourself, then go to the library and get them out of your email? Or text them to someone who would be able to upload them for you (I could)?

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Yup, 8 weeks is way too long in the warm months to go between trims. I can't let mine go more than 4 weeks ever.

Stick with what you know: no goops, no oils, no salves. All that = an unhealthy hoof environment.

Shorten the trim cycle, overflow the water tub once a day.

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I'm in north Arkansas, about 2 hrs south of Springfield and we are cooking. Not only is it dry in our area. But we are in a particularly dry pocket. I have three horses of my own and I also trim other peoples horses. No real problems with cracking or crumbling hooves on those who have been getting regular trims for a while. I agree it's the trim schedule and possibly the trim itself. In this weather this year, the feet have gotten so hard that I am having to trim soles. They are just caking and setting up as a block in the hoof because they have become so hard and resistant to abrasion. If this isn't trimmed out, on a lot of horses you will be tricked into leaving the foot too long. Couple that with a long trim cycle and leaving them a little extra long their last trim and chopping and cracking would be expected. I keep horses on a 4-6 week schedule.

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Thank you guys so much for the advice! I called my farrier last night and he is coming out next week. I will discuss with him what was said here, specifically leaving them long. I also checked the mineral content of my feed and it has good percentages of biotin, almost the same level as a hoof specific supplement. I took my own advice and resisted the topicals.

About pics (sigh). My phone does take pictures but I am not connected to the internet with it. I know, my children say I am a sad throwback to little house on the prairie times. I just recently learned to text!

Have a great day!

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I live in Wyoming and near triple digits if not triple digits this whole summer. My horses feet started cracking and breaking as well. At first I used plain old bacon grease old formula that I grew up on, then I invested in a tropical ointment called Hoof Alive. This stuff smells wonderful, I use it on my dry skin, chapped lips, sunburns, cuts just about everything. Works great on finger nails & cuticles to. One of my horses tore his large extensor tendon as a 2 month old and we have special trimmings every 4 weeks, for the longest time we could not get any expansion from this hoof until I started using Hoof Alive.

I have also used my tractor and made a 6 to 8 inch deep by 6 foot wide all the way around my water troughs, so the horses have no choice BUT to go into the water for a drink. 2 were stubborn enough, that I resulted into filling water buckets for them. Now they walk into the water. Granted may not completely help with cracking, breaking but does reduce the damage by close to 90% & makes hoofs soft and pliable so your farrier does not tire himself out, trying to trim.

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Thank you guys so much for the advice! I called my farrier last night and he is coming out next week. I will discuss with him what was said here, specifically leaving them long. I also checked the mineral content of my feed and it has good percentages of biotin, almost the same level as a hoof specific supplement. I took my own advice and resisted the topicals.

About pics (sigh). My phone does take pictures but I am not connected to the internet with it. I know, my children say I am a sad throwback to little house on the prairie times. I just recently learned to text!

Have a great day!

Does your cell phone plan not allow multimedia text messages? If it does, you can send a pic through a text without being connected to an internet source.

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Shorten the trim cycle, overflow the water tub once a day.

Overflowing the trough doesn't alway work. It depends on the ground conditions. About two weeks ago, I accidentally left the trough hose running full bore (about 8-10gallons a minute per my well inspection two years ago) for 24 hours, all I got was a 20' long, 1 1/2' wide rivulet as a result. The water just DRAINED through my sandy soil and even the wettest parts were just about dry within a couple of hours. If I can't get decent puddles after 24 hours, a minor 'overflow' won't do it! I have to cross tie him in depression in my concrete drive to soak his feet.

Last trim, I soaked his feet for two hours twice a day for three days and an hour (until the trimmer arrived) on the day of the trim and she almost couldn't do anything with his feet!

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Check out this stuff for hard hooves prior to trimming, I've been wanting to order a bottle but haven't yet. Looks interesting and helpful!

"Like Butter" its the second box down http://thehorseshoof.com/trimsupplies.html

Hoof Conditioner Support Concentrate for Pre-Trim Hoof Softening.

Made for The Horse's Hoof by Herbs of the World

"Like Butter" Hoof Conditioner Concentrate

16 oz. bottle $15.95

SALE price! Now $13.55

Water based herbal support for softening the hooves prior to trimming. Also a topical for minor cuts, scratches and rashes, sunburn and thrush.

This innovative hoof softening liquid was developed by an herbalist from safe and all natural herbal ingredients. This stuff really works! It helps water soaks work BETTER, when you're in a hurry and the hoof is too hard...or you can spray it on anytime you need just a little extra help. Like Butter Hoof Conditioner Support can help make your trimming chores a little bit easier. Also a great general conditioner for the hoof.

Ingredients: Distilled Water, Aloe Vera, Comfrey, Lavender Oil, Echinacea, Vegetable Glycerin.

Suggested Use: Dilute 1/2 part hoof concentrate with 1/2 part distilled water, then apply to hoof prior to trimming, or pour into soaking boots or a hoof bath for 15-20 min. prior to trim. Dilute only as much as needed, to avoid spoilage. May also be sprayed on.

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Hi Blonde, I am in MO too, near St. Louis! Welcome :)

Storey, I have been tempted to order that stuff. But a new decent hoof rasp might help in my case!!

The overflowing water idea just isn't working with the triple digits here. Even soaking in boots for 1/2 hour to an hour didn't make a difference.

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I have found that it helps to get the hooves as clean as possible, then soak for about 10 minutes, then exfoliate the soles with a wire brush, then finish the soak.

Edited by FJCowgirl83

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Where I live it is dry all year - in fact there has been no rain for almost 2 years! I use a hammer and a chisel to trim the frogs, a dremmel for the bars and an angle grinder for the hoof walls. I never use a hoof knife as it is just impossible. My horses hooves never crack as I keep them to the level of the sole. If they grow any longer then they start to chip.

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I have my nippers sharpened like Ramey shows in his tools of the trade video, which not only makes them great for nipping walls, but also with horses with excessive bars and even sole, I can get them in there and cut material easier than my hoof knife.

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Just saw this post....as for your question on topical applications on hooves, just had my vet/chiro out for my horse. Her husband accompanied her this trip. He is a trainer on the racetrack. And, according to Dr. Deb, he knows a lot about hooves. Suggested using olive oil on the whole hoof. He says it really works well and is "natural". Have to try it! :duh:

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I'm pretty sure all that olive oil is gonna do is make the hooves tasty if you're intending to cook them lol.

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