Healthy Hooves Hop Higher

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? 

*Dazzle’s Toes*

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!

About Madison Maavere

Hello, I am a young professional in the equine industry with a passion for improving horses' physical health and emotional wellness. I grew up riding horses in north Georgia and by the time I was 10, I decided I wanted to ride professionally. This dream grew into the mountain that I climbed every day, striving to reach the top. Until I was 16, I did not have my own horses, so I began diving whole-heartedly into any barn that would allow me to work off rides, training, and showing. While this path may not have gotten me the most blues in the show ring, it opened my eyes and my heart to the vastness of the horse world and how perception based it can be. When I was 16, my family moved out on 6 acres so I could have my horses at home (IE, so my family could see me on a daily basis), and for this, I am truly grateful. Running my own farm, albeit small, was liberating and humbling, and it revealed to me that my passion was not so much for riding sport, but for the love of the horse. Fast forward 6 years, and I am well into my final year as an undergraduate Equine Science/Management major at the University of Kentucky. I have been so fortunate in the opportunities I've received here and the relationships I've been able to build. The cutting edge research, quality horsemanship, and innovative businesses located around Lexington, KY have given me a strong sense of reality, and inspired me to really look at where I can make an impact in today's horse world. What I've realized is that while I like equestrian sports, I love the horse. Moreover, I love to help the horse. I want it to be happy and relaxed, to be sound and comfortable, to eat well and be healthy. I want the horse to have every defense against pathalogical disease, and I want it to have skill sets that people value so it can live a long, loved life. In this love, I feel called to advocate for the horse. I want to learn everything I can about how to improve horses' sustainable wellness, and I want to share what I learn so that horsemen of all experience, backgrounds, and goals can feel inspired and enabled to improve their horses' lives. It is my true desire to initiate and spread a dynamic in which horses are not for the industry, but the industry is for the horses.

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