During the winter months taking care of horse’s feet in cold and wet conditions is crucial to maintaining hoof health and preventing issues like thrush and softening of the hooves.
Here are some tips for caring for horse’s feet in wet weather:
Regular Trimming and Regular Farrier Care
Ensure your horse’s hooves are properly trimmed and balanced by a professional farrier. Regular trimming helps maintain the optimal shape and balance of the hooves, promoting good overall hoof health. By maintaining regular visits from a farrier, they can assess and address any hoof issues.
Heller has a range of rasps that are suitable for wet conditions, including the Black Master and Black Legend. The addition of the extra coating ensures the material is released from the rasp more easily and makes it more wear resistant. It is suitable for many horses and particularly those that spend a lot of time outside where the hooves accumulate sand and mud that can have a negative impact on the wear process of rasps.
Click below to see more information on the Heller Black Legend
Click below to see more information on the Heller Black Master.
- Early Detection and Treatment of Hoof Conditions
Common hoof conditions such as Thrush thrives in wet and damp environments. Thrush typically occurs in the grooves and crevices of the frog (the triangular-shaped structure in the center of the hoof). Early detection and prompt treatment are essential in managing thrush effectively.
At Mustad Australia we currently stock two types of Thrush Treatment:
- Hoof Hygiene Liquid – this is a natural based treatment with the main ingredients of chelated minerals along with Aloe Vera and Isopropanol.
- Thrushbuster – is a stronger solution that contains Gentian Violet and formalin. When using Thrushbuster, gloves must be worn as well as protective clothing and eye protection as users should avoid contact with skin, eyes and clothing.
The difference between the two products is Thrushbuster requires less liquid to be used and the feedback we receive is that Thrushbuster sticks to the hoof more than Hoof Hygiene. We also receive feedback that Hoof Hygiene is as effective as Thrushbuster if the user consistently applies the liquid in the affected area and is patient. Each bottle of Thrustbuster is more expensive than Hoof Hygiene, however, users report back that Hoof Hygiene requires more liquid to be used, so the overall costs works out to be similar.
The conclusion is that both treatments of Thrush are very effective, and the choice of which treatment to use is really a personal preference. Hoof Hygiene requires less Personal Protective Equipment to be used and is as effective as Thrushbuster if users are diligent in applying the required amount of liquid to the affected area.
Click to learn more about Hoof Hygiene Liquid.
- Nutritional Considerations during Winter Months:
Ensure your horse receives a balanced diet with proper nutrition. A healthy diet promotes strong hooves and overall hoof health.
Introducing a hoof supplement, such as Right Balance into your horses diet has many benefits. Right Balance not only offers Biotin to promote healthier hooves, but it also contains Zinpro (Zinc) that assists in quicker absorption of the Biotin into the blood stream. You will need to be patient as results often take 6-8 weeks to be seen after feeding the recommended dose to your horse each day. The feedback we get from users is that you will notice dapples on your horses coat at around weeks 4-6 and followed by a better quality hoof growth that your horse and your farrier will appreciate.
We at Mustad Australia believe that Right Balance Hoof Supplements is one of the best hoof supplements on the market today. Give it a try and see for yourself.
- Applying Hoof Protection
In wet conditions, it can be beneficial to provide additional protection for the hooves. Applying hoof oil or other hoof dressings can create a barrier that helps repel moisture and prevent excessive softening of the hooves. You could also use hoof boots, such as Delta Hoof Boots or specialised hoof pads to protect the hooves.
- Regular Cleaning and Hoof Maintenance
Clean your horse’s hooves daily to remove mud, debris, and moisture. Use a hoof pick to gently remove any dirt or stones lodged in the hooves. Pay close attention to the frog (the triangular structure in the center of the hoof) and the hoof wall.
- Providing Dry Shelter and Adequate Bedding
Offer your horse access to dry shelter or a well-drained area during wet weather. This allows them to rest and avoid prolonged exposure to wet and muddy conditions, reducing the risk of hoof issues.
If your horse is stabled, ensure the stall has adequate bedding. Using materials like straw, shavings, or specialized hoof-friendly bedding helps absorb moisture and provides a drier environment for the hooves.
- Regular Exercise
Exercise promotes blood circulation in the hooves, which helps maintain their health. Regular turnout or exercise on dry ground can be beneficial, as movement helps dry out the hooves and prevents them from becoming excessively soft.
Finally, monitor for issues:
Keep a close eye on your horse’s hooves for any signs of problems. Look for changes in hoof texture, foul odour, discharge, or lameness. If you notice any abnormalities, contact your veterinarian or farrier for a thorough evaluation.
Remember, every horse is unique, and their hoof care needs may vary. It’s essential to work closely with a knowledgeable farrier and veterinarian to develop a hoof care routine that suits your horse’s specific requirements and addresses any individual concerns.
Mustad Australia has a wide range of hoof care products to maintain hoof health during the winter months. Visit your nearest Mustad dealer or www.mustad.com.au to learn more.