Horse care tips by Helmet Brims: Hoof care in wet weather:
No matter where you live in the world, you're always going to have to deal with wet weather, soggy ground, and what that means for your horses wellbeing.
During wet weather the hooves take up excessive moisture through the hoof wall edge, resulting in reduced weight-bearing capacity, "sore feet". and lameness, particularly in unshod horses.
How to best care for your horses hooves in wet weather:
- Dry off the hooves after work with a towel
- Apply liberal coatings of hoof oil (such as Old Timer's Blended Hoof Oil) to the undersurface of the hoof and the hoof wall around the edge of the shoe.
- This will provide a protective oil barrier against excessive moisture.
- Ensure your horse is not left in a muddy area and they can get to a grassy patch
Horses can get abscesses of the hoof, starting at the top of the hoof to out the sides, and even at the back, which are problematic to treat, especially in the wet. Unless the horse has medical conditions, don't do any treatment - leave them alone to recover itself. It takes time.
When caring for your horse/s, there are so many things to know, and seasonally it's important that you change your care routine. When it's wet you need to know about the mould and fungus issues.
if your horse is left in wet conditions, the mud compacts in their hoof, keeping it moist. Hence the hoof ends up with mould and fungus, which then turns into thrush and eats the frog of the hoof.
To detect if your horse has thrush in their hoof when cleaned out, the odour that permeates is strong and very distinctive. The frog will easily come away. If the case is very severe, ensure you seek veterinary care.
Better Hoof Care:
- Avoid prolonged exposure to muddy areas.
- Thrush organisms look for dark, moist conditions, so keep your horse's feet dry and clean.
- A hoof sealant can prevent hoof mould and fungus, thrush and abscesses.
Trim the feet regularly if possible, if you keep the frog trimmed and not overlaying the sides of the foot this will allow the mud to be able to remove itself more easily, as it flicks out when the horse is galloping around.
Pick out your horse's feet every day, paying particular attention to the frog crevices for any sign of the pungent smell that's a characteristic of thrush. Thrush can be detected easily, when you use the hoof knife to remove the excess frog, then you'll notice the frog will be powdery.
Try to ensure that your horse/s has an area away from the mud, where they can get out of the wet conditions for part of the day so the feet have a chance to dry out.
NOTE: Wet ground conditions alone won't cause thrush. Thrush is usually caused by an anaerobic bacterium that thrives in dark, moist, low-oxygen conditions.
If your horse does get thrush, the first step in treating is to use a hoof knife and remove the excess frog from the edges and the crevices of the hoof.
Thrush is highly sensitive to air and drying. Trimming and cleaning will cure most early cases. If the infection penetrates deeper into the cracks of the hoof tissue, you could treat with diluted bleach (about 50:50 bleach and water) or hydrogen peroxide, which can work as well as store-bought thrush treatments. Always seek veterinarian advice if you are uncertain or concerned.
More horse care tips coming soon. Click here to read about DRY conditions and how to care for hooves.