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Hoof black

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  • Hoof black

    Eons ago when I was a wee 4-hr we did showmanship. In that class we painted our horses hooves black (unless you had a striped or white hoof). I know western riders still paint their horses' hooves, but why do drivers?

    I have been in hunters and dressage for the past umpteen years and in hunters we oiled the hooves for a groomed appearance. I liked that because you could use a hoof oil that was beneficial to your horse. But hoof black? I don't plan on doing breed or arena classes, my interest is in CDE's.

    Am I the only one that thinks this looks artificial and does not enhance the show groomed look? I find painted hooves to be distracting rather than attractive. Jmho! If others think it looks good, all well and good. I guess I'm just wondering where the practice originated and why it has stayed.

    Please, no flames, I'm honestly curious as to why this is considered part of the "show look". (Just as pulling manes or braiding for some is considered a must for the show ring)
    Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.

  • #2
    Has someone said it is? For ADS events?? I'd be kind of surprised. I haven't competed in a while but ISTR *not* blacking them for ADS pleasure shows - polished instead. I did black them the time I took HRH to a rated Saddlebred/Morgan show which had a carriage division open to all breeds, only b/c I knew the ASBs and Morgans would all be blacked and the (non-ADS) judge would probably expect it.

    I'll be interested to know what others think, though. Is blacking a coming trend in presentation/turnout at ADS shows??
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

    Comment


    • #3
      We've just oiled Maggie's and Phoenix's hooves. Sure hasn't hurt us in the show ring as out of 11 classes Maggie's brought home 10 first place ribbons and 1 third (a big turnout class). i don't like the blacked look myself and probably would not do it. To me a healthy shine looks SO much better.
      Pat Belskie - ASHEMONT Farm

      PnP Distributors - KUTZMANN Carriages
      Ashemont2@gmail.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gestalt View Post
        I know western riders still paint their horses' hooves, but why do drivers?
        No reason, just cosmetic fashion that has stuck.

        I liked that because you could use a hoof oil that was beneficial to your horse. But hoof black?
        Hoof oil has absolutely no benefit at all unless you have just stood your horse in a bucket of water and then oil it to keep moisture in on a boiling hot day Hoof black is ordinarily made out of the same as hoof oil, but it has colour in it as well.

        Am I the only one that thinks this looks artificial and does not enhance the show groomed look?
        Time will tell as others answer but I personally don't agree with you.

        If others think it looks good, all well and good. I guess I'm just wondering where the practice originated and why it has stayed.
        Its no different to the practice of slapping hoof oil on or the fashion/practice of plaiting a mane or tail.

        I'll tell you something though, it doesn't half make a mess on white shirts when the top gets stuck on and then suddenly pops off!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          WA, I've seen several pics in magazines and in a calendar I just bought. No one at local CDE's had done it.

          Thomas, I'm not a hoof expert, but I think several vets and farriers would disagree about some oils being beneficial to hooves. Oh and what a mess that would be to have a top pop off! I remeber trying to get it off my hands.
          Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.

          Comment


          • #6
            good topic

            I am showing tomorrow ADS pleasure show. My mare has nice feet, but her legs are white, she has one black foot, one striped foot and one half black half white foot, and one white foot. She would look pretty funky not counting the time consumed trying to stripe them.

            Can I just go with a nice clean foot and be OK??? That would be awesome. For minis its all black no matter the color of the foot. For ease of my life I was just going to black all 4 feet, but if I don't have to do that I would be much happier.


            Karen

            Comment


            • #7
              I am a hoof blacker. I will confess to this practice. For us, with Bays, the black legs and hooves look better, more "finished" than oiled or just shiny hooves do. I want the leg color to flow onto the hoof, without distaction of color changes. Shiny hoof is fine, but everything below the knee is black.

              We do have one horse with two hind ankle socks, his light hooves are also blacked. Less light color to distract the eye in motion.

              Blacking or oiling, even the transparent polish, is not required by ADS to compete. I personally don't like oil, stuff sticks to hoof, even if you wipe oil off. Doesn't really do anything for the hoof. A good looking hoof is made from good nutrition and a good farrier.

              If I had other color horses, blacking would depend on the animal's color of leg and hoof. No, I would not be striping the black lines in hoof. Stripes from ermine spots probably would be natural colored with shiny clear paint, or totally blacked. I did black the light hooves on our yellow horses years ago. At that time it was the "fashion" and it covered the colors of natural hooves better. Light hooves always have marks, light and dark lines, show ALL THE DIRT. I liked the look of black, was a nice contrast with 6 high stockings in the yellow Pair. No off color hooves to trick the eye, while in motion.

              Blacking may look artificial, but it seldom ever looks bad.

              Gloves are always worn on carriages, to cover up the black hands of the harness polisher, hoof-black applier! Thomas is right, that stuff NEVER comes off clothing!! There should be some kind of commercial use for it as a glue, lids always stick hard enough to need plier removal.

              Blacking may move in or out of fashion, we will probably continue to use it for CDE Presentation, any Pleasure Driving shows we would attend. Besides, all those commercials where it says the hoof blacked horses "Jump higher, run faster, collect better" really work, don't they............???

              Comment


              • #8
                TIP- when you open a new jar of hoof laquer apply a thin layer of vaseline onto the threads so that it reamins easy to open and close.

                I like black hoof laquer of the horse has black legs, so on blacks and bay. I think it can look good on a grey depending on what else is going on (a grey to a formal turnout I would black and greay to a country turnout i would not). I never use black on a chestnut or other non-black horse's feet, i think it looks silly.

                But te majority of the time I do not use hoof laquer at all. I think it takes too long to dry and is drying to their feet. I usually sand the feet lightly to clean them up and use black Kiwi shoe polish on really dark feet on a black or bay, brown on a chestnut's feet, and neutral on the white feet when a horse has white leg markings. It will buff to a nice glow, won't take forever to dry like laquer and dust and such won't stick to it like oil.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jetiki View Post
                  I am showing tomorrow ADS pleasure show. My mare has nice feet, but her legs are white, she has one black foot, one striped foot and one half black half white foot, and one white foot. She would look pretty funky not counting the time consumed trying to stripe them.

                  Can I just go with a nice clean foot and be OK??? That would be awesome. For minis its all black no matter the color of the foot. For ease of my life I was just going to black all 4 feet, but if I don't have to do that I would be much happier.
                  I'd just polish 'em. Tip: buy a raw onion, cut it in half, and polish with that. It's *very* old school but crikey I won boatloads of massive fitting & showmanship classes with that one! It doesn't look as artificial as other polishes do, just makes 'em shine & look healthy. You don't smell the onion after the juice has dried.
                  "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I'm going to try the onion trick. Not going to a show, but it sounds intriguing. Gosh, if I put garlic on him for flies and oninions for shine, he'll smell like the startings of spaghetti.
                    Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I generally don't black my horses for open or ADS carriage classes. I also keep my horses on a balanced diet so they grow really nice hoof and are shod all around.

                      I do use Bickmore brand Pine Tar when showing. After a bath the hooves are scrubbed clean and rinsed, once the hoooves are dried apply a nice coat from the top of the hoof and the oil will seep down. The next day just buff lightly and the hoofs have a natural glow and shavings and such won't stick to them like a fresh application. Horses with all white hooves be carefull as too much moisture may soften them.

                      Denise

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well

                        I didn't get the hoof black on. And I didn't see one single other horse there with it on either so I wasn't out of place without it and you wouldn't have seen it anyway with the footing. Had a great time and a great day. Thanks everyone.


                        Karen

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I didn't see any either. I have never done it and won some hoof oil at something and have carried it in my trailer and never used it either. No one has ever said, oh no, her feet aren't polished. I have used the onion trick on a white pony. Works.
                          We did have a great time. Big turnout, lots of entires, very very hot. Thank goodness for the trees and shade to stand in between classes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Renae View Post
                            TIP- when you open a new jar of hoof laquer apply a thin layer of vaseline onto the threads so that it reamins easy to open and close.
                            Theoretically a great tip......

                            Note to grooms: Remember to take vaseline as well as hoof black and REMEMBER to put vaseline onto the threads and if you don't, REMEMBER to tell boss NOT to force the top off when dressed in full livery and white hunt shirt!

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