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Hoof cracks in a wet/dry year

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  • Hoof cracks in a wet/dry year

    So, for a little background information, my horse is very young (one year and 3 months), and moved here (VA) about a month ago from a very dry climate (KS, going through a drought). His feet were "meh" when he got here, and needed to be trimmed. The farrier came out within 3 days of his arrival (July 22nd), trimmed his hooves and told me he'd be back at the beginning of September.

    Well, it's been one of those years. Wet/dry/wet/dry, and his feet are getting chipped and cracked. There was one big chip on his hoof that had me worried when it came off, but it wasn't too super deep and hasn't cause any problems. He's got a number of chips and cracks on his hooves - more the front than the back - but mostly they're just "not pretty" as opposed to causing him any pain or issues. He lives in pasture 24/7, and has just been moved to a new paddock to start meeting some new horses so we can integrate him with the rest of the herd.

    A gal made a comment about his hooves today (unsolicited of course), and mentioned I should call out the farrier. The farrier is coming back I believe next week, so while I know they don't look pretty my feeling is they're not so bad that they can't wait until then. Of course, now I'm all paranoid that I look like a bad owner (doesn't help that his nose is all covered in desitin from a bad sunburn either...ARGH). I do give him a small amount of grain every day with a hoof supplement, but obviously it's going to take a while for that to help produce sturdier hooves.

    Is there anyone who has a good solution for preventing chipping in this sort of weather? Or anyone with suggestions for soft feet at all? I grew up in CA, so my experience with this particular problem is pretty limited!

  • #2
    In the summer my trims are closer together- when they stamp at flies it exacerbates the chips.

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    • #3
      The horse might just need a trim and be self-trimming. For wet/dry issues, I think Keratex Hoof Gel works best.
      Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

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      • #4
        Get some Keratex hoof hardener and gel (two separate products). Use the hardener on the bottom inch or so of the walls and the gel on the sole and upper part of the walls. The hardener hardens (obviously) and will help with the cracking and chipping. The gel will help with the moisture issue and keep them from getting too dry or too soft. The stuff lasts forever and I have been sooo impressed. I've done the above for the last year, and my mare's hooves are in much better shape than last year.
        Caitlin
        *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
        http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

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        • #5
          Originally posted by RedMare01 View Post
          Get some Keratex hoof hardener and gel (two separate products). Use the hardener on the bottom inch or so of the walls and the gel on the sole and upper part of the walls. The hardener hardens (obviously) and will help with the cracking and chipping. The gel will help with the moisture issue and keep them from getting too dry or too soft. The stuff lasts forever and I have been sooo impressed. I've done the above for the last year, and my mare's hooves are in much better shape than last year.
          Ditto this. Love those two products.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Awesome! Thanks for the suggestion, I will try that! Do you apply daily or once a week or...?

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            • #7
              At this point I only apply them once a week or so.

              Last year when we had significant chipping and cracking, I did it about every other day. But if you see him daily, it probably wouldn't hurt to do it every day for awhile.

              Also, the two products don't really mix. So apply the hardener first to the lower part of the hoof, let dry, and then the gel to the upper part and sole. If you put the gel on first and try to put the hardener over it, the hardener will just bead up, run off, and not soak into the hoof. They both dry very quickly.
              Caitlin
              *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
              http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

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              • #8
                Yes, Keratex helps but truly.... you're best off shortening the trim cycle. I can't get my mares to go more than 3 weeks during the warm months, lest they start self trimming.
                <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

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                • #9
                  You're not supposed to use the hardener/gel at the same time. If wet/dry truly is the problem, your bet bet is the gel--it keeps the optimum moisture level in the hooves. But, really, if the chipping is that bad, the horse probably needs to be trimmed more often. My guy goes 5 weeks in the cooler months & 4 in the summer (plus I swipe a rasp over the hooves once or twice between trims).
                  Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

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                  • #10
                    Why not at the same time?
                    Caitlin
                    *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
                    http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm also in Virginia in this horrible wet/dry summer, and we've been using the Keratox hardener on most of our horses, and it's worked incredibly well even on the horses that naturally have bad hooves.
                      I like mares. They remind me of myself: stubborn know-it-alls who only acknowledge you if you have food.
                      Titania: 50% horse, 50% hippo
                      Unforgetable: torn between jumping and nap time, bad speller

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