Noble Life

Summer Hoof Care: Keeping Hooves Moist

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Summertime spells dry hooves in most of the country. Many horse owners try to combat this problem with a variety of remedies, and it seems many people choose prepared products that do the trick.

A few products that are mentioned often include Birdsalls’ Farrier Barrier and Farnam’s Rainmaker. Rainmaker gets the thumbs-up from farriers, as it allows a horse’s hoof to absorb and retain moisture. Once a horse’s hoof gets too dry they become brittle and are susceptible to cracks, injury, and disease, or unable to regenerate quickly because of slowed growth. Rainmaker has humectants in glycerin which attracts moisture to hoof; fatty acid esters absorb and carry moisture deep within the hoof; rosins and petrolatum help retain hoof moisture; aloe vera oil penetrates deep to help keep hooves healthy looking; lanolin provides emollient action and pine tar enhances color, texture, and sheen. Some people even use it for hoof polish, which is wise as it can help the hoof while making it look good.

Farrier Barrier is slightly different in that it’s not a moisturizer per se but can help restore and condition damaged hooves. Keeping hooves healthy is the key to preventing them from drying out. Other folks name products such as Hoof Alive; again, a product that keeps the horse’s hooves healthy and prevents cracking.

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Some people swear by pine tar, others by any good hoof care product with lanolin. One inexpensive idea is to stand your horse in mud. If your horse loiters around the water trough make sure some runs over. Obviously you don’t want to do this so much that your horse gets thrush or other hoof problems by standing in wet conditions all time, but letting a horse hang out for a while each day in some mud by the water trough will help soften feet. This is a good fix should your farrier like a softer hoof before trimming.

Of course, good nutrition and proper mineral supplement goes a long way to keeping a hoof in good shape despite the weather.

What are some ways you keep your horses hooves healthy? Tell us in the comments below!

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With more than 35 years of riding experience, Rebecca Colnar has been involved with horse publications for more than 25 years including Equus, Horseplay, Women and Horses, The Mane Points (Southern States’ horse publication for horse owners), BLAZE and the Certified Horsemanship Association. She has her own public relations/publications business based in Sheridan, Wyoming. Although she grew up on the east coast, where she enjoyed foxhunting, polo and pleasure riding, she currently plays polo in Sheridan, Wyoming with the Big Horn Polo Club and works cattle horseback on her ranch in Custer, Montana. She also enjoys riding sidesaddle.

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