Q: What can I do to keep my horse’s hooves hydrated and healthy in hot, dry weather?
Cavallo President Carole Herder shares her advice….
A: Your horse’s hooves consist of living tissue and need extra care in the summer months. Just as with our own hair, nails and other cellular structures, nourishment is important. Cellular strength, wholeness and integrity are affected by environmental factors. Extreme weather patterns can indeed affect the hoof. Things happen in nature and live tissue can usually adapt. In your horse’s domestic environment, adaptation to stressors may require a little assistance from you.
Thundering Downpours & Dry Scorching Heat
Land that was once sodden but is suddenly transformed by being parched in extreme heat can wreak havoc on horses’ hoofs, seemingly overnight. More moderate weather patterns would allow the ground to slowly become dryer, allowing the hoof to gradually adapt to changing moisture levels. When it happens very quickly, abscesses (which are toxins releasing) can burst forth and cracks seem to appear out of nowhere. This can cause your horse to become lame and uncomfortable. A once water-logged, moldy, bacterial environment can turn into danger of a loss of proper hoof function because of the draw on the moisture of the hoof.
When the hoof becomes dehydrated, it loses the elastic flexibility required to absorb shock and concussion. Essential nutrients in the blood no longer freely flow. This results in a whole host of potential issues. I have heard people say that their horses have great feet because they are hard and tough. In reality, what’s desired is flexibility, expansion, pliability and some suppleness.
We All Need a Drink
In a natural environment when your horse gets hot and looks for more internal hydration. He will find watering holes and in so doing will stand in water for longer periods. Horses in nature stand and soak their hooves for longer periods than our domesticated horses have access to or need to do. Nature has a way of taking care of external factors. While hydrating internally, he naturally hydrates his feet.
Take Over Nature’s Job
In these hot summer months, it’s up to us give nature a helping hand. I have yet to see a hoof dressing that can adequately re-establish moisture in the hoof. In fact, most of them contain oil based, tarry, turpentine, lactates, stearates, acetone, alcohol and other drying agents that are contraindicated. The hooves may appear wet on the outside, but these dressings do not permeate internally. Some other options are to create a soaking area and encourage your horse to stand in it, or you could ride out to water and stand with him there. Maybe you could even have a dip yourself!
The Fast and Simple Solution
The simple and easy way to hydrate your horse’s hooves is to use your Cavallo Hoof Boots. Change your go-anywhere boots into a soaking solution by simply covering the drainage holes and filling them with water. Allow your horse to stand in the soaking boots for an hour at a time. He’ll get moisture to his hooves just like he would if standing at a watering hole.
Watch the how-to video here:
Cavallo Hoof Boots
Cavallo Hoof Boots. Simple on. Stay on over any terrain at any speed.
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