Equine hoof care and problem prevention
If you want to spark a heated discussion among horse people, a surefire way is to raise the issue of hoof care and infection. Should horses be barefoot or shod? And what about glued-on horseshoes and what are the effects? How often should they be serviced? What is the ideal hoof? And so on. Do you know the saying: the luck of the earth is on the back of a horse? Let's find different categories that confirm this.
Each horse is a unique individual living in a specific environment and has its own genetic characteristics. Also, every person who owns a horse has certain expectations of it. In our experience, there are no right or wrong answers to the questions above. Beware of anyone who uses words like "only" (as in "horses should only be barefoot") and "always" (as in "horses should always wear shoes") when talking about horses' feet. Because so many factors affect a horse's feet, there can be no "one size fits all" answer. Below we will discuss some of these factors.
Each Hottehü is born with the hooves that its parents gave it, whether they are good or bad. Are both parents healthy or have they suffered from hoof problems? Unfortunately, people don't always consider the hoof genetics that horse parents pass down to their foals. Genetics aren't the only factor, of course, but they set the tone for the rest of life.
development as a foal
In the wild, a foal will be on its feet within hours of birth and moving with the herd, sometimes for miles. It's not in a small stall with a thick bed of shavings. Movement and exercise are essential for the hooves and legs to develop optimally.
In most domestic situations, it is also important that the foal's hooves be trimmed regularly, sometimes every three weeks, to maximize hoof and leg development. It is ideal to examine a foal's hooves as early as two weeks of age (perhaps even earlier if there are noticeable leg abnormalities that need to be addressed). Waiting too long to trim a foal's hooves can have a major impact on the animal's future health.
A pet's hooves and horn adapt to the environment in which it lives. Some things we cannot control, such as how humid or dry the climate in which we live is.
- But how aware are you of the ground your pet spends most of its time on?
- Does the terrain help the hoof quality of your horse's hooves or does it contribute to hoof problems?
- Is it similar to the environment you ride in?
- Are there things you can do to improve them and improve your horse's hooves and horn?
exercise and exercise
How much exercise your horse gets can affect its hooves in a number of ways. More movement leads to better blood circulation and stimulates hoof growth. Being in shape and having the muscle tone, flexibility and posture that comes with good exercise can have some very positive influences on a horse's hooves (and vice versa: healthy feet promote better overall health, muscle tone, flexibility and posture).
For horses that tend to be a little chubby, exercise is important to maintain a healthy weight. Devastating hoof problems, such as laminitis, can in some cases be attributed to obesity.
Your horse's diet directly affects its hoof health. A balanced diet with all the important nutrients, vitamins and minerals ensures much healthier hooves.
Obesity, excessive consumption of sugary concentrates, far too many biscuits and other treats (e.g. apples and carrots) and a lack of understanding of how nutrition affects a horse's health have caused a lot of suffering in horses, in many cases even death as a result of laminitis.
injury or illness
Even in the safest of environments, horses seem to find a way to injure themselves. And these injuries can sometimes affect a horse's health. For example, wire cuts through the coronary ligament can cause permanent damage to the hoof itself. Some injuries can be healed and therefore do not cause long-term problems, but others can be far more problematic. Therefore, it is important that your horse sees a veterinarian and farrier early on to have the best chance of healing and restoring health.
The work of the horse
Different horse activities have different requirements. These activities can take place in a variety of settings and require a specific approach to hoof care for these jobs.
No matter what a horse's job is, we need to make sure we prepare our horses for this job by keeping them species-appropriate regardless of the surface, providing them with the best possible biomechanics for healthy movement, and being aware of how they move and respond to what we ask of them. It is not fair to the horse to expect him to complete a task when his feet are sore or he cannot move properly.
Frustration can arise when our expectations don't match reality. For example, I may want my horse to transition from wearing shoes to going barefoot, but he may not be able to make that transition comfortably overnight. Is it okay if I don't ride for a few months while his feet adjust to being barefoot? If I'm not willing to give the animal time to adjust or invest in a good pair of hoof boots, then barefoot might not be the right choice for our darling.
Competence and knowledge of the blacksmith
As with any other professional, your hoof trimmer should be well trained and up to date with the latest research and information. When looking for a hoof helper, don't be afraid to ask for references from other customers and your veterinarian. And ask questions about the provider's philosophy and approach to hoof care. Do his ideas and techniques match yours? Is he/she able to answer your questions? Are you actively looking for further training opportunities and are open to discussing new information and ideas?
Commitment to supporting the hoof carer and veterinarian
The best results for a horse's hooves and horn are achieved when everyone involved works together as a team. You as a horse owner are an important part of this team. For example, do you feed your horse a balanced diet and keep it at an optimal weight? As previously mentioned, proper diet and physical condition are critical to treating conditions such as laminitis. Do you stick to a hoof care schedule or go too long between appointments? If the farrier asks you to scrape the hoof and apply a hoof treatment between appointments, do you do this consistently as recommended? Your active support and participation in hoof care makes all the difference.
Behavior and handling of the horse
Another factor in hoof care is how well your horse tolerates hoof work. It's unrealistic to expect your farrier to do the best job possible if the horse doesn't happily cooperate and stand still. Training a horse to accept the trimming of its hooves is its human's responsibility and is essential to the health and well-being of its hooves.
Some of these factors we can control and some we cannot. We cannot control a horse's genetics after it is born and we may only be able to make limited adjustments to its living environment, but we can certainly control our expectations and our commitment to doing what we can to meet the farrier and veterinarian to support. And we can ensure our horses are safe and calm to handle so their hooves can be easily trimmed.
Ask your horse for help with these issues
The most important opinion about what is right for your horse's feet should come from your horse. How does your horse react to what is happening to its feet? How does it move before and after trimming or shoeing? (It is not normal for a horse to be sore every time their feet are worked.) Is it more comfortable or less comfortable? Does it lift its feet for you but not for your farrier? Do his feet seem to be getting healthier or unhealthier? Your horse can tell you a lot if you just listen.
Seven horse care hoof care tips to help keep your horse's hooves healthy and strong.
1. Scratch your horse's feet.
This might sound pretty simple, but it's the most important thing you can do for his hooves - and there's a surprising number of owners who think that picking hooves is the farrier's job. Your horse gets a grooming session and you have the chance to take early action on many common hoof problems by scraping his hooves. This is best done with a scraper and a hoof brush
Before each ride you should remove stones or small objects that are in his feet before bringing your weight to the horse. Do this even after you have unbridled him in case something caught his feet during the ride.
Each time you clean your horse's hooves, take a few extra minutes after scraping out any debris to gently clean the frog gap and scrape any remaining debris from the sole with the tip of the scraper. Finish with a stiff brush. Some hoof picks come with a brush, or you can purchase a brush separately and inexpensively.
2. Determine what is normal.
As you pick your horse's hooves, pay attention to his temperature; if everything is fine, they feel very slightly warm.
Check the jet, which is about the texture and firmness of a new eraser if it's healthy. However, don't worry if everything else is fine but the frog seems to be peeling off - most horses lose frogs at least twice a year, sometimes more often. Your regular frog trimming may have kept you from noticing this natural process.
3. As you scrape the hooves with the hoof brush, look for signs of...
The first indication of this bacterial disease (usually caused by prolonged standing in manure, mud, or other wet, dirty conditions, or even prolonged footpad use) is a foul odor and dark mucus from the crevice of the frog. Later, the stream gets a cheesy consistency. Although thrush can eventually lead to lameness and significant hoof damage, the early stages are easy to treat. Use an over-the-counter remedy recommended by your farrier or vet - follow the directions carefully - and make sure your horse's stall is clean and dry. If you normally straw bedding, consider switching to much more absorbent straw shavings. Some horses—particularly those with upright, narrow feet with deep crevices that tend to store more dirt, debris, and droppings—are predisposed to thrush even when well cared for by the horse owner.
If a nail or other object pierces your horse's sole and then falls out, the entry wound will likely be invisible and you won't notice it until it causes an abscess. In some cases, however, the object stays in place and is only discovered when you brush the last bits of dirt off the sole. DO NOT PULL IT OUT. Put your horse in the box and call your vet. An X-ray of the foot can show how far the object has penetrated and what structures are affected. (If you scrape your horse's hooves regularly, you'll find the problem within hours of occurring.) Your veterinarian can then remove the object and recommend treatment.
Some cracks are superficial, others can worsen without proper shoeing and affect sensitive hoof structures. If you notice a crack in your horse's hoof, call your farrier and describe the location and size so they can decide if the crack needs to be treated now or can wait until the next regular shoeing session.
If your horse's pulse feels stronger than usual and/or the hoof feels warmer than normal, the cause could be an abscess inside the hoof resulting from a poorly placed horseshoe nail, a bruise, or an overlooked sole injury. Your routine check-up as a horse owner can alert you to the problem and get your vet or farrier involved before your horse - who is likely already slightly lame and throbbing from the pressure of increased blood flow to the infected area - is in even greater pain. (If you notice an elevated temperature and a stronger than usual pulse in both front hooves, and if it's moving uncomfortably from one foot to the other, call your vet. These are signs of laminitis, an inflammatory condition that can cause serious hoof damage -- and can even be fatal if not treated promptly).
4. Schedule regular farrier visits based on your horse's individual needs.
Although six to eight weeks is the average, there are no standard trimming and shoeing intervals. If your farrier is correcting a problem, such as a flat heel, a clubfoot, or a bulge in the hoof wall, your horse may benefit from a shorter interval. If everything looks fine, but you find that in the last few days before the next shoeing, your horse is beginning to kick - by slapping the toe of the hind hoof on the back of the front hoof (you will hear a metallic noise) - ask your farrier whether a shorter schedule could avoid the problem - maybe four to five weeks in the summer, a little longer in the winter.
5. If your horse is shod, check his shoe every time you scrape his feet.
Pay attention to:
- Risen parentheses. The ends of the nails that your farrier trimmed and bent flush with the outer hoof wall at his last shoe are now sticking out of the hoof. This is an indication that the horseshoe is loosening, probably because it has been in place for a few weeks; it can injure itself when the sprained cramps on one foot brush the inside of the other leg.
- A spring-loaded or displaced horseshoe. If, instead of sitting flat on the hoof, the horseshoe is pulled away and maybe even bent, it is spring-loaded. If it's shifted to one side or the other, it's slipped. In both cases, the nails in the horseshoe can press on sensitive hoof structures when it puts weight on the foot.
6. Help your horse develop the best possible hooves.
Some horses naturally have better hooves than others. Your horse may already be producing the best hoof it is capable of, or the following steps may allow it to get better.
- fine-tuning the diet. Ask your veterinarian if your feeding regimen is appropriate for their nutritional needs.
- Add a biotin supplement to his ration (ask your farrier for a recommendation). Some hooves benefit from these supplements, others show little change. Plan to take biotin for six months to a year; that's how long it takes for the benefits to show in new hoof growth.
- Give him consistent exercise in the riding arena. Working on good ground, especially at the walk and trot, increases blood flow to the hooves and promotes growth.
- Do not leave it unnecessarily in the water, pay attention to misalignments of the horse's hoof and (small tip) always wear a layer of hoof oil or Hufbalsam onto the hooves of your favorite (with a brush, cloth or simply by hand). The penetration of bacteria can be prevented in this way.
7. Avoid the "summer cycle" of alternating soaking and drying of the hooves.
Hooves can adapt well over time to conditions that are consistently dry or consistently wet, but hooves suffer when the environment oscillates between wet and dry. Unfortunately, that's often the case in the months when you want to use it the most: late spring, summer, and early fall. Evening grazing - a strategy to avoid biting insects - puts the hooves and soles in prolonged contact with dewy grass and water; they swell and there's a chance they'll soften from the moisture, just like your fingernails become soft after hours in water. Back in a dry, hot environment during the day, the hooves dry and contract. As this cycle repeats (often lasting more than 8 weeks), the horseshoe nails loosen as their holes through the hoof wall enlarge slightly. Such summer activities as work, stomping, or walking the fence hasten relaxation; pretty soon you're asking your farrier, "Why can't my darling keep his shoe on?" The horn capsule, horn wall and Co. of hooves - all this is monitored by the blacksmith.
There are a few things you can do:
- Reduce grazing time in summer. Try cutting the time your horse spends in a dewy paddock at night or trudging outside during the day by a few hours. As a horse owner, you are responsible all day long.
- Avoid unnecessary baths, this also prevents bacteria from entering. Swabbing your pet with a sponge after training works just as well without standing in a puddle for half an hour or more. Save the full bath of horses for just before the tournament.
- Shorten his summer stud schedule. A lost shoe often means hoof damage that worsens the cycle of summer shoeing problems. By cutting back on your farrier's regular visits by a week or so, you can avoid emergencies.
- Harden his hooves with a regular application of Hoof Balm Exclusive von Annimally.
Proper hoof care
Firm hooves are healthy hooves - to protect against moisture, hoof fat or hoof oil is more than recommended and is the No. 1 care tip. We recommend hoof fat Base of laurel oil by Animally. This oil was gently cold-pressed and gives the hoof fat its special green color and is definitely preferable to animal hoof oil or hoof fat. It has been used as a natural helper for centuries. It is said to have an antiseptic and antibacterial effect. In addition, the laurel oil has a revitalizing, caring effect and promotes blood circulation in the hoof. Take a brush or a cloth and apply it regularly to the hooves - this protects against moisture and nothing stands in the way of a relaxed ride.
What ingredients are used in hoof care?
Organic compounds are used in 99% of hoof fats, hoof balms, balms and oils. Most of these organic compounds are actually fats with fancy names. The fats come from many different sources. Animal fats are classified as lanolin, emu oil, fish oil, foot oil and beeswax; and fats from plants are actually vegetable oil. These include tea tree oil, aloe vera, bay oil, castor oil, flaxseed oil, cottonseed oil, wheat germ oil, peppermint oil, and jojoba oil.
Benefits of hoof care, hoof fat, hoof oil etc.
The function of hoof fat or hoof oil is to provide a cosmetic shine and to keep the hoof supple or flexible. The function of the fat is to temporarily lock in the internal moisture of the hoof. They prevent the internal moisture from evaporating from the inside of the hoof. In this way, the keratin is supplied with moisture. The hoof, hair and skin are all made of keratin. For this reason, hoof fat has been used as a humectant for centuries - and old opinions are often the best, especially when it comes to this particular animal. Because without a hoof it's really stupid.
Annimally Hufsalbe Exclusive can be used as both hoof fat and hoof oil. Due to its creamy consistency, it does not run off as quickly as conventional hoof oil and can be easily applied with a brush or cloth. Best support for your four-legged friend.