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Is this really true?

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  • Is this really true?

    I've been riding a young OTTB for a friend of mine for about a year. He doesn't have particularly bad feet... just typical TB feet. He's got shoes all the way around, and his feet have recently been looking a little crappy. When the owner of the horse asked the farrier to redo him after 3 weeks because his feet looked like crap, the farrier said his feet are cracking and chipping away because we are hosing him off after riding him, which causes the hoof to expand/contract/expand/contract, and therefore crack.

    So, he said stop hosing him off. Just sponge him off. Have I missed something all these years or does hosing a horse off really screw up their feet? I gotta say, I've never heard of that before...but I'd like to not contribute to the problem. Btw, horse is on hoof supplements and all of that. Does putting some kind of hoof dressing on prior to hosing them off help?
    Heather

  • #2
    I usually paint my horses hooves with rainmaker during the summer since we are hosing them off pretty much everyday. My farrier suggested that we do it for my TB who has crappy feet.
    Happy Hour-TB
    Cowboy Casanova - Brandenburg

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    • #3
      Yes, I do this b/c my horse has the same problem--sponge the horse to avoid getting the feet wet and only bathe before shows. It DOES seem to help. I'm the only NUT I know that does this though! Might be the dew at night followed by fly stomping during the day that also contributes your problem.

      I also paint on "sound" hoof conditioner daily to try to prevent the cracking. If you pm me in about a month, I'll let you know how we fared this summer!

      I also have the farrier out every 4 weeks in the summer for his trim/reset (5 weeks fall-spring).

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      • #4
        My horses feet get wet all the time-they have a creek in the pasture and get hosed after ridden.

        No cracks.

        Cracks are usually nature's way of doing what the farrier does not.

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        • #5
          Lots of people on racetracks hose horses every day, and no foot problems. Those that don't hose, sponge them off. Even with the sponge, you wash the lower legs, heels, etc and drip water on the feet. I would look more to diet - you've had the horse for a year, and likely yanked him off that terribly evil food substance called oats (the base of all racing diets) and put him on some fancy storebought feed and added hoof supplements, maybe. The hoof takes roughly a year to grow out and part of what you are seeing is the difference between feeding oats and replacing it with fancy expenisve supplement - oats contains silica in the hulls, and silica is required to build healthy hair and hooves in livestock and people, well that would be nails, but the structure is still made of keratin. The rest is probably a crappy trim.
          Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

          Member: Incredible Invisbles

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BogyNme View Post
            I've been riding a young OTTB for a friend of mine for about a year. He doesn't have particularly bad feet... just typical TB feet.
            No such thing as 'typical' TB feet. They are all individual.
            He's got shoes all the way around, and his feet have recently been looking a little crappy. When the owner of the horse asked the farrier to redo him after 3 weeks because his feet looked like crap, the farrier said his feet are cracking and chipping away because we are hosing him off after riding him, which causes the hoof to expand/contract/expand/contract, and therefore crack.
            Ummmm, unless I'm missing something here the hoof is SUPPOSED to expand and contract - they do, naturally, on loading and unloading.

            So, he said stop hosing him off. Just sponge him off. Have I missed something all these years or does hosing a horse off really screw up their feet? I gotta say, I've never heard of that before...but I'd like to not contribute to the problem. Btw, horse is on hoof supplements and all of that. Does putting some kind of hoof dressing on prior to hosing them off help?
            First of all the TRIM has to be correct for the individual hoof and horse, SHOD OR NOT. If the trim isn't balanced then the hoof is not going to hold any sort of integrity and will have issues. Secondly, water is GOOD for the hooves - to a point - of course standing in water 24/7 for days on end isn't particularly good for them but in the hot, dry summer months I suggest to my clients that they overflow the water tub daily so the horses have a place to stand and soak their hooves for a bit. Next would be to see what's in the horse's diet. If there is alot of sugar then the hooves will not be as strong as they can be. Cracks, chips, shelly walls, thin walls, thin soles ... all sorts of 'yuckies' when the diet is too high in sugars.

            My suggestion would be to do some self-educating on what healthy hooves *should* feel, smell, look like and then assess your horse's hooves. After that I would think seriously about getting a farrier who knows what he's talking about.
            --Gwen <><
            "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."
            http://www.thepenzancehorse.com

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks guys for all your input! Sounds like, as is true with most things, there is an argument for both sides! The owner is moving to a different barn and also switching farriers in the next couple of weeks, so I'll be interested to see what her new farrier thinks!

              To respond to a few of the comments...first of all, note that he isn't my horse. I've been riding him for a friend. I can't remember what she's currently feeding him... I just know of several supplements he is on. I'll be sure to ask her, because I'd be interested to see how that's had an effect.

              Also, I do think that there are certain generalizations you can make about a particular breed's hoof. While I agree every horse is different, there are certain characteristics that tend to be true about a horse of a certain breed. I'm also very aware of what a healthy hoof should look like! I've had to deal a lot with problem feet, corrective shoeing, finding a good farrier, all the zillions of supplements, etc. But somehow through all that, I missed the memo on whether or not to hose off a horse and how it affects (or doesnt affect) their feet! haha

              I do think a lot of this has to do with the farrier... I haven't been incredibly impressed with him, and I definitely agree that the trim HAS to be good to start with. So hopefully this next farrier can do a better job.
              Heather

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              • #8
                You're in Virginia? In NC we just had a bout of really dry weather for this area in the last few weeks. Plus the pasture is really variable right now without regular rain and the weather swinging. Mine just got a bunch of cracks overnight in the last three weeks.
                "Bold Words was classier than all his competition. Straighter knees and a slim, elegant neck." -Nan Mooney My Racing Heart

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                • #9
                  I'd take Bob there with a grain of salt, all his posts are on Sound Hoof Conditioner.

                  I don't think hosing daily should really be hurting your horse's hooves. It may not be helping if there's another problem (although really, that's not much water in the grand scheme of things) but I've never seen hosing alone cause problem with a horse's hooves.
                  exploring the relationship between horse and human

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                  • #10
                    I think so much of what a horse's hooves are like depends on their genetics. If you pay attention, the horses with the best feet also have really full, strong tails. My TB gelding has a thick, beautiful tail (even had it when I bought him and he was pretty much starving!) He also has the BEST feet I've ever owned, LOL!

                    He has problems with anhidrosis, so he gets hosed several times a day all summer long and his feet are still in tip top shape. So I think genetics are more to blame than the hose in the OP's case. I do however feel that an incredibly talented farrier can work miracles on a non-genetically blessed horse's feet, but finding such a farrier can be a problem in itself.

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                    • #11
                      FWIW, I have 6 horses. 2 of which I have been giving baths to every other day up until recently. I stopped because their hooves started cracking, splitting, and falling apart. These are the ONLY two I bathe. The other four are fine. Never, ever have a problem and all are on the same trim schedule and grow similar rates. So, from my point of view, yes the baths were leading to wrecked feet. I have since gone to sponging them off and avoiding getting any on the hooves.

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                      • #12
                        Hosing them off is not so much of the problem as putting them away wet is. dont ever put your horse away with with feet. We all know about wet legs, but wet hooves are a problem too. Think about your finger nails getting brittle after doing alot of dishes.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hood Rat View Post
                          Hosing them off is not so much of the problem as putting them away wet is. dont ever put your horse away with with feet. We all know about wet legs, but wet hooves are a problem too. Think about your finger nails getting brittle after doing alot of dishes.
                          In my case there is no 'putting a horse away wet'. My horses are on pasture 24/7. They were getting hosed off while I filled their water trough and then they just wandered off and went to go eat. In 100 temps. Add wet feet, dry ground, extreme heat and fly stomping together and I honestly don't know how one would avoid the problems unless you beveled the hooves once weekly (which may very well be necessary in some cases). But I know my other horses, who the only difference in is if they were getting bathed (since my herd is related, brother/sister/sire/dam sort of relations) I am pretty much convinced that the water is the most contributing factor in my case (please note, MY CASE).

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                          • #14
                            Hosing daily is absolutely terrible for their feet. If you have to hose, at least paint the feet first with something that keeps the water out. I like Effol, a lot of people use Rainmaker, even plain old hoof oil is better than nothing. And, while I would hope you're drying the legs carefully anyway, be extra careful so that the water isn't running down the leg onto the feet after the bath.

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                            • #15
                              If hosing daily is so bad for feet, why does every horse at my barn have healthy, great looking feet? These horses are hosed when they are sweaty after a ride, PLUS they are all turned out overnight on dewey grass (and we have a lot of grass!).

                              We have one horse whose feet and hoof quality isn't up to par, but that's because her farrier never quite gets her long toes and flares under control. The other horses have a different farrier, and no issues. I think trim has a lot to do with it.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I agree, hosing can be hard on the feet (especially if they are already not great to start with).

                                One of the smartpak supps has silica, btw. I'm a big fan of biotin + msm. Caused a tremendous change in my OTTBs feet (along with balanced trims and big enough shoes--bringing back the long toe and supporting the heel better when shod).
                                DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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                                • #17
                                  As with lots of things it depends on the horse sometimes. There are horses out there that can't handle the wet/dry cycle very well and others that it does not matter to them. My basic understanding is that the more cracks in the hoof (ie not a great hoof to begin with) allows more water in there and causes more problems. So if you horse has good feet (only holes are the nail holes and they are small and tight) or is barefoot then the water plays less of a roll if that makes sense. So yes if your horse has iffy feet try to limit the water that gets in the cracks and try to protect the holes.
                                  http://community.webshots.com/user/jenn52318

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                                  • #18
                                    I'd have a hard time believing that getting the feet wet, in and of itself, would cause huge issues. Now, as a cumulative effect, wet feet, on a horse that has diet that might not be the best, doesn't get a real good trim, is stomping at bugs all days, and has poor feet to start with (genetically, perhaps?) Then I can see how it could play a roll. But we have racehorses whose feet get wet every day, and don't have great big issues with cracks, etc.
                                    Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch
                                    www.DifferentTimesEquestrianVentures.com

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Timex View Post
                                      I'd have a hard time believing that getting the feet wet, in and of itself, would cause huge issues. Now, as a cumulative effect, wet feet, on a horse that has diet that might not be the best, doesn't get a real good trim, is stomping at bugs all days, and has poor feet to start with (genetically, perhaps?) Then I can see how it could play a roll. But we have racehorses whose feet get wet every day, and don't have great big issues with cracks, etc.
                                      Don't racehorses typically wear shoes??? I don't know about everyone else that is saying that it's a problem but all of mine are barefoot and it has definitely proven a problem for 2 out of 6 (the only 2 that were getting regular baths).

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Haven't read all of the responses, but I would say "Yes"

                                        I used to be a working student at a large eventing barn, horses with problem feet got a coat of hoof conditioner or tough stuff before their daily rinse (as recomended by the farrier), and it helped!

                                        As it was explained to me, it was a combo of working in sand (sand papering the protective coat on the horse's hoof away), followed by bathing (drenching in water) then put into a stall with dry shavings (which dries the feet back out).

                                        That combination is a lot more extreme then a horse out in pasture with access to a stream.

                                        That said, my horse is out 24/7 in a field with access to a pond. Her feet were great all winter, but now that the rest of the pasture is hard and DRY (this is CA) going from the pond to the dry seems to be causing cracking issues that she never had before.
                                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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