Many of us around the world have been looking forward to spring for quite some time! Now that it’s here, the weather changes can bring some unforeseen problems with your horses’ hooves that you might want to be aware of.
Excessive moisture seems to be most common during springtime in most areas, some locations obviously more than others. Regardless of location, horses’ hooves don’t like all that extra moisture.
The hoof wall and sole’s job title in short is to protect the sensitive structures inside the hoof. Excessive moisture causes the hoof to lose a lot of its rigidity, allowing it to be soft and sponge-like. When the hoof is continually exposed to moisture, it can allow the sole to exfoliate or the hoof wall to wear off easier. Ultimately, this causes a loss of the hoof’s protection, allowing problems to happen.
Some horses are more at risk for problems related to excessive moisture. Horses with lesser hoof quality are affected first, barefoot horses especially! When springtime weather or excessive moisture issues happen, you may need to change your husbandry and hoof care methods.
Issues that can arise are different versions of sore-footed horses, abscesses, thrush, White Line Disease, and of course lost shoes. Being able to recognize hoof care problems and manage them is the key to success in all of these situations.
Where you hang your hat will greatly influence the recommended hoof care treatment. You may have noticed that trimming or shoeing preferences greatly vary by geographic region. If you have ever been to England or Florida, they have clips on nearly every horse. Likewise, if you live in a drier climate such as west Texas or South Dakota, you might not even know what a clip is! Or have the need to shoe the majority of your horses for that matter. A clip is a tab on the side of the shoe that adds stability and prevents shearing or twisting forces. When applied correctly, one clip is a strong as three nails.
The same goes with foot sore horses, thrush and White Line Disease (WLD). Talk to a farrier in a dry climate and they will rarely use any pads (AKA supplemental sole protection), thrush or WLD medication. Likewise, in a wet area they will use lots of pads, medication and treatments.
The good news is that farriers and the hoof care industry have come so far. There are so many options that there is a solution for just about anything that may arise with your horse!
Now more than ever, it’s very important to stay on a short hoof care schedule to prevent all of the situations above. Extra length makes every situation above much worse!