Tips to Better Hoof Care

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topspec-hoof“Healthy hooves or no horse.” This is something that you’re likely to hear from a farrier or a fellow equine owner. There’s no denying the truth to such statement especially because these animals are known for their speed and agility. Weak hooves mean weak feet and nobody wants that. This is also the reason why care for their feet is one of the primary aspects to equine care and today we’ve got expert tips straight from the Topspec headquarters.

  1. Maintain sanitary stables and barns.

Many foot ailments and illnesses are a result of unsanitary conditions. Continuous exposure to wet, dirty and muddy ground is risky because it heightens the breeding ground for bacteria all while softening the hooves. To avoid such issues, make sure to invest in a good drainage and regularly clean and disinfect quarters.

  1. Make the animals exercise.

You’d be surprised to find out that there are horses that tend to get lazy especially when the weather gets tough. Too much heat or cold can send them off lazing by their stables. They need regular exercise because this ensures that proper and good blood circulation is maintained which is important as nutrients and oxygen are brought to the frog by means of the circulatory system.

  1. Start nurturing from within.

Supplements and hoof care products would still fail to work if we’re dealing with unhealthy horses. Overall nutrition plays a huge part in ensuring that equines develop and maintain strong hooves. When choosing meal options, remember the six essential nutrients they need namely protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins and minerals. They also require adequate amounts of roughage daily and remember that their meals should be divided into several small portions and given throughout the day.

  1. Pick hooves daily.

Debris eventually gets stuck and this can both be painful and dangerous to horses. This is why picking is a must before and after riding and should be done every day. With the right tools and skills, carefully remove the compacted dirt, pebbles and objects lodged in their foot making sure to be cautious when handling the frog.

  1. Have them re-shoed and re-trimmed.

As a rule of thumb, Topspec experts say that horses must be taken to the farrier every six to eight weeks to have their hooves trimmed. The shoes are to be examined too in order to assess if it needs replacing or if it went loose and need reinforcing.

The Truth Behind Laminitis

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horse-laminitisLaminitis is considered to be a leading cause of lameness among horses. It’s a condition that must be taken very seriously as it aggravates pretty fast. Today, we shall shed some light and get to know more about it with the help of Formula 4 Feet in the hopes of better providing cure, ensuring care and preventing its occurrence.

What is laminitis?

The condition is defined as the inflammation of the sensitive plates of tissue in the hooves called the laminae thus its name. Such tissue is responsible for supporting the pedal bone and the hoof. In other words, it is crucial in terms of holding in the weight and balance of the horse. It affects all equines regardless of age, gender, bread and season.

What causes it?

There are many reported causes of laminitis. This includes but is not limited to the following.

  • Bacterial infection
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Hoof injury or accident
  • Obesity and overfeeding
  • Overindulgence in starch and sugar
  • Stress and/or weight bearing
  • Poor hoof care such as lack of regular and proper picking

How to care for horses suffering from it?

A smaller stable is highly recommended as well as comfortable beddings to avoid further stressing the affected hooves. Be sure to provide them with adequate nutrition and water. Don’t have them walking or running too much as they are likely to cause further pain. Be careful when picking too so as not to irritate the inflamed tissue.

Equines that suffer from the said condition must be given immediate medical attention so be sure to call your vet immediately. They should be able to devise a plan on how to go about treatment depending on the gravity of the situation. In most cases, an x-ray shall be requested to see how deep the inflammation has gone.

How can it be prevented?

As the old adage goes, prevention is always better than cure. To prevent laminitis, here are some of the measures that owners must take.

  • Ensure proper and adequate feeding at all costs.
  • Divide their daily requirements into several small portion meals.
  • See to it that they only take what’s necessary to avoid obesity.
  • Hoof care is important so ensure proper trimming, picking and shoeing.
  • Avoid dangerous and difficult terrain.
  • Never let your horse carry so much weight.
  • Make it a point to monitor their overall health.

Now that Formula 4 Feet has helped us understand laminitis better, we hope that you got enough insights to provide better care for your horses.

How to Clean a Horse’s Hoof

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horse hoof cleaningOne of the vital tasks that any horse owner must be able to master is the cleaning or picking of the hooves. This is important to ensure not only sanitation but also the avoidance of injury, infection and certain ailments like laminitis. Today, we will be discussing a basic tutorial on how to do this.

Cleaning is done using a tool called a hoof pick. The main goal is to remove compacted debris like mud, dirt, stone and similar other items that may have found its way in. These can eventually cause pain and injury which can lead to injury or even lameness. Experts suggest that picking must be done on a daily basis, before and after the horse is taken out for a ride.

#1: Ready the animal. See to it that they are calm, not panicky, anxious or irritable. Bring them to a secluded or quiet area. Tie them up but make sure that it isn’t too tight so in case they panic they won’t get hurt or strangled.

#2: Begin with one side. Carefully approach one side and stroke the neck and shoulders gently. Stand by the shoulder and turn your body to face the tail. Put one leg slightly in front of the other for better balance.

#3: Give warning. Run your hand down its leg and tap the back of it. This will introduce the horse to what you are able to do allowing him time to square up.

#4: Life the leg. You can squeeze above the fetlock if the horse doesn’t automatically do so itself. This will take some getting used to. After which, provide support. With the hand closest to the body, support the hoof allowing the other hand to take hold of the pick.

#5: Start picking. With the hoof on hand, begin by removing any debris from the frog using your fingers or a brush. This part is very sensitive so pay extra caution. Once done, use the pick to loosen up the packed debris, dirt and stones. Continue until the horn becomes visible. When everything has been removed and cleaned, examine the foot for any injury, crack, abnormal heat or sore spots. If any, call the doctor immediately.

Caring for your horse’s hooves is very important.Remember the old adage, no hooves means no horse.