Friday, July 20, 2012

Midwest Drought and Hoof Conditions

This is Sassy's special shoe, it has clips on
the side and a bar across the back.
Most of the nation is dealing with severe drought this year.  High temps and little or no rain is wrecking havoc across most of the midwest this summer.  Half the country is on fire, there is not much hay to go around this year (we will discuss that more in another blog), pastures are dry and whithered.  Cattle ranchers are selling off their cattle early to avoid having to starve them this winter.  It is not a pretty state of affairs for sure. 

I don't have cows, just my horses so the lack of hay is effecting me some but the biggest issue I am having this year with the lack of moisture is hoof conditions on my horses.  My horses all for the most part have pretty darn good feet and I am almost anal about keeping them trimmed regularly.  I don't shoe my horses except Sassy on the front due to her injury.  I am learning that I don't know squat about hoof care for horses with shoes!

I wish I had taken some pictures yesterday of the boys' hooves when I was treating them.  I swear it looks like I haven't trimmed them in months when in fact it wasn't but maybe a month ago.  They are chipped up and just dry and cracking everywhere.  Its kind of frustrating actually!  I usually make a point of running the water tank over some everyday.  It gives them an area of mud and moisture to navagate through once in a while.  Part of the problem too, for anyone in my area is the ground.  My neighborhood is aptly named Sandy Lake Estates, because the ground really is all sand.  Which is nice in the winter because it never gets really soupy or muddy.  Thrush is rarely a problem where we life. Of course it kind of sucks when the wind blows (which is alot in Casper) because all our real estate ends up down the road!  I actually imported dirt for my little corral, just to keep it from blowing away.

So here is my conundrum for the week.  I treat my horses with Horseshoers secret, the stuff you apply directly to the hoof.  I usually concentrate mostly on the coronet band and the outer hoof wall. Yesterday I went ahead and applied it to the soles and frogs as well.  When I picked up Sassy's hoof with the special barred shoe I found it packed with mud and of course manure. I picked it out and I'll be damned if she doesn't have a little bit of thrush going on under that shoe.  So now I am wondering, do I need to move her to a different location away from the mud to keep her dry? I do have another smaller pen which stays dry all the time, even in the rain. How do you keep one hoof dry and the others moister? Will it be sufficient to just pick it out every morning and night so it gets some air?  What to do what to do?

I would love to hear from others on suggestions, and also how are you guys dealing with this awful dryness?


  1. I stick my fingers in my ears and say "La-La-La. I can't hear you!" *LOL*

    I live in a very sandy area, too. Dryness is just a way of life for us. I do feed rice bran and flax, which helps with coats and hooves. I don't use any topical treatments, but I do remember a few farriers telling me that human hand cream works better than most of the stuff that's marketed for horse's hooves.

    Bar shoes are tough, they do seem to encourage thrush. I doubt that little bit of mud is causing it. Keeping it picked will help, and perhaps also a daily thrush treatment for that hoof?

  2. Oh yeah! I like the La la la!!! LOL

    I will keep with the picking for now, twice a day, and see if it helps. If not then off to the tack store! :)
    Thanks Shannon