Our mare has started to develop a crack in the front of her front hoof. She is barefoot, and in a pasture 24/7. It has been very dry here this summer, then lately we've had a few wet very few days/then back to dry. I'm not sure if this is why she's having this problem now (her feet have always been great in the past), but I thought I'd mention it just in case, since I don't think anything else has really changed.
The farrier is coming saturday, but I'd love to hear any advice as to what can be done to help keep cracks from getting worse and to prevent any others from starting.... I've never had this problem before.
Would you put her in shoes for a while in front, so that it doesn't get worse?
Would you start using a hoof oil/conditioner (could it be that her feet are too dry)?
Or could it be an infection - and if so, how could I tell, and what should be done to treat?
I think I will also start her on a hoof supplement soon, is there anything else that can be done?
I have a mare who has been happily barefoot for three years. She has very crack-prone hoof exterior - 99% of the cracks are just surface cracks, so cosmetic, but once in a while she starts getting one up from the bottom, especially if the weather is very wet. This summer was terrible because of the sopping wet weather - we developed a more strict hoof maintenance system for her, because this was the worst year in terms of her hoof cracks. I was also using a different trimmer the past year+, as I had moved barns, but ended up finding another one (a farrier I'd known from years ago).
The (new, improved) farrier trims the bottom of the crack to keep pressure off it, and we use Rainmaker hoof ointment on the outside of the hoof and iodine on the bottom every day to keep everything in good shape. Her current big crack is growing out really well now. It never affected her going, but we were worried about it getting deeper.
The first couple weeks with the new system we used the ointment twice a day. It made a difference in just a few days.