Spring is upon us! Birds chirping, grass growing… freezing rain and twenty mph winds… Well, spring will get here at some point. Whenever spring does decide to arrive, I’m sure we will all be raring to get on some horses! While spring is a time to get our horses fit, it’s also a time to pay close attention to our horses’ hoof health. With new grass, ever changing ground quality, and more active horses, the hooves can take quite a pounding. I would love to get some input on Hoof Health Care from all the horse owners reading this post!
- What do you have to worry about come spring time- abscesses, laminitis, and fungus? Oh my!
- What management practices, products, and tricks do you use to keep your horse’s hooves happy?
Come spring time at my farm, my princess mare struggles with a bit of fungus in her feet. When I had her shod this was not a major concern from a management perspective, as she didn’t seem bothered by it. The past few years though, I’ve pulled her shoes to give her a more natural wear and break-over. She is bio-mechanically sounder with better movement, but come spring time, we fight the fungus!
It was frustrating for a while, as I couldn’t pinpoint why her feet were sore. Her walls were strong, she had great sole depth, and her angles matched her joint surfaces, so why was she sore???
Shout out to my wonderful farrier Chip Crumbly for clearing it up for me! Dazzle’s soles were coated with fungus, it wasn’t quite visible and it didn’t smell, but if I scraped a hoof pick along the her sole, I could draw a white flaky line. This fungus weakened the soles and caused irritation. Once I knew what the problem was, treatment was easy!
Iodine! Spray it on the soles everyday until the irritation is gone, then keep up with applying it as needed to toughen the soles and keep the fungus away. Just make sure that the iodine is not sprayed on any sensitive structures (frog, heel bulbs, coronary), as Iodine kills tissue. This is great to harden feet, but not so wonderful for anything living. I spray Dazzle’s soles with iodine everyday of muddy or wet footing, and she has tougher feet than every before!