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RnR
Mar. 8, 2009, 12:23 AM
I have been wondering this for a while and wish I had patience to do a long term experiment, but I don't. I always wonder, are hoof oils etc a waste of time? I know products to harden/dry/or de-thrush a hoof work, but is smearing on that thin layer of oil doing anything other than wasting money?

I have been told that the hoof oils really only benefit a horse if you put it on the coronet band where new hoof may absorb it and be healthy. There are plenty of people at my barn I see slathering it anywhere there is hoof (heal, frog, sole, outside, around the nail holes, coronet band... Everything). Some say it will keep dry feet from cracking, but isn't hoof kind of like a leather saddle? Once it has already cracked, no amount of moisturizing is going to repair that crack, but maybe it will prevent it from growing larger...or does it even do that?

Thoughts/experiences/opinions?

Rhyadawn
Mar. 8, 2009, 12:33 AM
I'm a minimalist (see other thread), but I like hoof oil. It makes me feel good, and I like the beasts' feet all shiny.

Does it actually make a difference... I've never noticed enough of one that I rave about it, but its cheap, and it makes me feel better.

Tom Bloomer
Mar. 8, 2009, 06:55 AM
I have been wondering this for a while and wish I had patience to do a long term experiment, but I don't. I always wonder, are hoof oils etc a waste of time? Thoughts/experiences/opinions?No need to do an experiment. If you want your horse to have an oily hoof, then you MUST put oil on it.

Read the label and then do some CRITICAL THINKING. Usually hoof oils talk about making the hoof soft and supple. A horse stands on its hoof. Why you would want to make a hoof soft and supple . . . or oily?

You can check out the results of a scientific experiment if you want a scientific answer: READ THIS (http://www.thehorse.com/viewarticle.aspx?ID=3840&_ctl1%3AImage1.x=20&_ctl1%3AImage1.y=11)

If you don't want to login to the site and read the article, here is a short summary: The research in the article concluded that oils make a bad foot worse and have no measureable effect on the properties of a good foot.

I'm sure there will be some folks who dispute that study with personal testimony and ancidote. However, I haven't met an experienced, educated hoofcare professional that disputes it.

curiousgirl
Mar. 8, 2009, 09:08 AM
Tom--do you recommend anything for heels that are dry?

Tom Bloomer
Mar. 8, 2009, 09:32 AM
Tom--do you recommend anything for heels that are dry?
Yes. Dry heels are good. I always reccomend dry feet over wet feet. The wetter the foot, the weaker the foot.

JB
Mar. 8, 2009, 10:53 AM
Tom--do you recommend anything for heels that are dry?


Define dry in your case? Healthy heels will still have some little bit of "cuticle" peeling, if that's what you're seeing.

BornToRide
Mar. 8, 2009, 11:38 AM
Pete Ramey is not a fan of those because they can help seal in pathogens into the hoof wall potentially causing problems down the road.

Cherry
Mar. 8, 2009, 11:51 AM
Many, many years ago when I adopted a pony I asked my vet (an old timer) what the best thing is for hooves and he told me "anhydrous lanolin". I ended up buying a small quantity of it from the local pharmacy--it was expensive and the consistency was very hard. After wrestling with it for a few days I went back to using Corona ointment!

I, too, consider myself a minimalist. I get crazy when I hear people who want to seal moisture into or out of horses' feet. Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she made the horse but people think they know more than she does, and that's when horses start to suffer for it.

Once in a while I would use Corona, only after the pony had been bathed or the hooves had been wet (by early morning dew). I'd pat the excess water off and rub the Corona into the coronary band every day for a couple of weeks. The new hoof coming in was nice and smooth, looked healthy and moisturized. Hey, worked for me and didn't interfere excessively with what Mother Nature intended.... ;)

For the most part I "let it be!".

Lilykoi
Mar. 8, 2009, 11:55 AM
All the years of having horses I've never had a farrier that liked hoof oils. They all seemed to agree with Tom, drier hoof over oily hoof.
I personally never use a thing on my horses feet except Keratex. I use that on the soles a few times after pulling shoes for the winter. I also keep towels handy to dry their feet off after baths or coming in from wet grass. Needless to say, all my horses feet are in excellent condition. Thanks to a good diet and primo farriers!

Tom Bloomer
Mar. 8, 2009, 12:17 PM
Pete Ramey is not a fan of those because they can help seal in pathogens into the hoof wall potentially causing problems down the road.
Wow! The theologians agree with the sicientists.

Thou shalt not anoint thy horses feet with oil, thus sayeth the lord! :lol:

Patty Stiller
Mar. 8, 2009, 12:27 PM
I have been wondering this for a while and wish I had patience to do a long term experiment, but I don't. I always wonder, are hoof oils etc a waste of time? Not if they make *you* feel good about making your hoses feet look shiny. Otherwise, yes.
I know products to harden/dry/or de-thrush a hoof work, but is smearing on that thin layer of oil doing anything other than wasting money?It's making money for the hoof oil company.:lol: If you want to oil up hooves for the sake of oiling them, buy a cheap jug of cooking oil at the grocery.
............
Some say it will keep dry feet from cracking, but isn't hoof kind of like a leather saddle? Once it has already cracked, no amount of moisturizing is going to repair that crack, but maybe it will prevent it from growing larger...or does it even do that? Most hoof cracking is from WEAK, overly WET or poorly maintained feet. Not from being dry.
Oil, IF it can soak in, only weakens the very outer layer of hoof more.

Thoughts/experiences/opinions? Proper nutrition and proper trimming/shoeing is the primary way to prevent hoof cracking.
As well as a hoof SEALER like Tuff stuff or Keratex if the environment is on either end of extreme dry or wet, or fluctuates a lot.

BornToRide
Mar. 8, 2009, 12:32 PM
In addition, in some cases excessive cracking has been linked to a fungal infection of the hoofwall and treating it with something like White Lightning took care of it

Staish14
Mar. 8, 2009, 12:49 PM
I remember reading on the forums that arena footing treated with magnesium chloride/calcium chloride to help prevent freezing in the winter would dry out horse's feet. People recommended a GOOD hoof oil 1x/week in these cases.

Now what ye say? :winkgrin: I'm curious.

Auventera Two
Mar. 8, 2009, 12:57 PM
Thou shalt not anoint thy horses feet with oil, thus sayeth the lord! :lol:

If you do, it must only be oil from an alabaster box, then you must wash the feet with your hair.

Tom Bloomer
Mar. 8, 2009, 01:04 PM
I remember reading on the forums that arena footing treated with magnesium chloride/calcium chloride to help prevent freezing in the winter would dry out horse's feet. People recommended a GOOD hoof oil 1x/week in these cases.

Now what ye say? :winkgrin: I'm curious.
Who are the "people" making the recommendation? What makes you think they know what they are talking about? I know "people" who recommend putting used motor oil on horses feet because that's what other "people" did.

Tom Bloomer
Mar. 8, 2009, 01:10 PM
If you do, it must only be oil from an alabaster box, then you must wash the feet with your hair.
That wouldn't work for me. I haven't gone as far as KC La Pierre with my hair style, but I'm cutting it real close. :lol:

RnR
Mar. 8, 2009, 02:15 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for all the replies! I will think twice next time I whip out my Perry's Hoof Oil (at $20 a bottle mind you) and smear some grease on his feet. I've always had a suspicion they do nothing.

After all, healthy hoof comes from the inside out, rather than outside in. (Sounds like some sort of proverb or something, haha!). I guess just a good diet and healthy trim should maintain nice hooves. Or if necessary, possibly a supplement so you are at least healing from the inside.

So... My question now is, I am in FL, which as many know MOST of the time is wet, so I don't deal with dryness. However, right now we are experiencing a mild drought, I ride down sandy roads, and his feet are becoming rather hard and dry. Do I just let nature run its course and leave them completely alone aside from obviously picking them out?

Staish14
Mar. 8, 2009, 05:02 PM
Who are the "people" making the recommendation? What makes you think they know what they are talking about? I know "people" who recommend putting used motor oil on horses feet because that's what other "people" did.

I was hoping to get a thoughtful answer as I am genuinely curious - not a rude remark like that. Thanks anyway.

Tom Bloomer
Mar. 8, 2009, 05:13 PM
Do I just let nature run its course and leave them completely alone aside from obviously picking them out?
Keep them trimmed and the edges radiused. That's it.

Tom Bloomer
Mar. 8, 2009, 08:41 PM
I was hoping to get a thoughtful answer as I am genuinely curious - not a rude remark like that. Thanks anyway.
What you got was an answer designed to make you think. You're offended by that prospect? I also suggested in an earlier post that folks should read the label on the can of hoof oil and think about what the product is claiming to do.

Tilly
Mar. 8, 2009, 10:21 PM
I'm not sure exactly what hoof oil does. I use Absorbine Hooflex myself. All I know is, my horses' feet are nicer when I'm putting oil on them [2-3 times a week] than they are when I'm not. They're stronger and don't crack/chip as much. I also have my girls on a good hoof supplement, which does way more than any topical treatments :yes:

Tom Bloomer
Mar. 9, 2009, 09:15 AM
I'm not sure exactly what hoof oil does. I use Absorbine Hooflex myself. All I know is, my horses' feet are nicer when I'm putting oil on them [2-3 times a week] than they are when I'm not. They're stronger and don't crack/chip as much. I also have my girls on a good hoof supplement, which does way more than any topical treatments :yes:Interesting that you say they don't crack or chip as much.

With none of my clients using any topical oil (at my express request), none of the bare feet in my care crack or chip at all. I am exactly sure why this is the case. I has to do with keeping the feet trimmed on a 4 to 5 week cycle. On horses that are kept on a 6 to 8 week cycle, I see a lot of cracking and chipping regardless of what kind of oil is applied, how often it is applied, or what kind of suppliment is fed to the horse.

A short, well maintained hoof is a strong hoof. When the foot gets too long, it begins to flare, seperate, chip and break off because it is too long. The only way a bare foot is going to chip or crack is if there is an edge sticking out to catch on something. When the foot is kept short and edges are radiused or beveled, then nothing is sticking out, no place for anything to grab an edge (no leverage) and cause a chip or a crack.

You can try a little experiment with the hoof oil. Put it on your horse's feet every day, and then skip you next trim appointment. See what happens to your horse's feet after allowing them to go twice as long between appointments. I suggest that you do this experiment in July or August when the biting flys are in abundance. That ought to put the hoof oil to a real test of whether or not your horse's feet are stronger.