Hoof Applications with NAF PROFEET
Words supplied David P Smith AWCF 5 times National Farriery Champion
In a natural environment horses can cope very well without applications. However, in an unnatural environment – i.e. the type of conditions in which we keep them – in a stable or stall stood for hours on bedding that can become warm and damp and harbour bacteria for fungus - and work/ride them – on a hard tarmac road or in an abrasive sand school - your horse’s feet may well benefit from a regular application of a purpose made moisturizing hoof preparation.
More and more I hear about horses showing the ill effects of fungus and bacteria in the hoof. This can cause the soles to become soft and prone to bruising, while the frog can become effected by Thrush. In turn, this can lead to sheared heels and eventually cause lameness.
Worse still, a horse with a propensity towards the above, can develop white line disease – again a condition I’m seeing more frequently than in the past – which I’m convinced is due to the generally warmer and wetter climate we experience. White line disease is difficult to treat and manage. It causes deterioration of varying degrees to the integrity of the hoof wall, which when weakened becomes less able to fulfil its role as the weight bearing surface of the hoof. If it takes hold it can wreak havoc with the structure of the foot.
If you have a horse that is showing any of the above signs I would strongly recommend an antifungal, anti-bacterial hoof hardener.
Dealing with ground conditions and their effects on hoof health…
Sand schools can be very abrasive to the hoof wall and can wear the natural protective varnish – the periople - away, leaving the hoof unprotected and exposed to excessive drying out, which can lead to a propensity towards splitting and cracking. If you regularly ride in a sand school, I would strongly recommend you regularly apply a water based hoof moisturiser.
If your horse has to deal with rough, stoney surfaces he could become prone to bruised the soles. In this case I’d advise he was shod with a good wide web shoe to give protection to the sole and bulbs of the heel. I’d also recommend the regular application of a hoof hardener.
Horses’ feet are much healthier when maintained in a constant state of wet or dry. Unshod horses in the pasture full time (ie brood mares) will cope better than those horses turned out in the morning, after being stood on a dry bed all night. The heavy dew causes the feet to become very wet. Then the sun dries the foot very quickly. In this case the hooves are likely to benefit from an application of a hoof moisturizer in the evening – this will helps to maintain a more constant moisture balance.
Shod horses kept full time at pasture can potentially suffer in the wet, warm conditions of spring and autumn when the fungi and bacteria thrive in the nail holes breaking down the hoof structure. In this case an anti bacterial, anti fungal hoof hardener may help.
During very dry periods, such as a hot dry summer, shod feet tend to dry out and shrink leading to lost shoes and a shortened shoeing period. Throughout these periods I’d recommend the daily or even twice daily application of a hoof moisturizer. Conversely, through a very wet period, the feet will tend towards becoming saturated and very soft leading to the hoof weakening and at risk from spreading out. In this instance I’d recommend the regular application of a hoof hardener.
Stabled horses who are turned out daily could suffer any of the above. So, I feel it’s important to point out the need to be careful to be aware of the conditions and environment in order that you can decide which application you should be regularly applying to best benefit your horses feet.