How many times have you heard “no hoof, no horse?” Likely more times than you can count or want to remember. There is no substitute for regular visits by the farrier and good nutrition that supports healthy hooves. However, weather conditions might necessitate the use of topicals to clean up a case of thrush or provide moisture to dried-out hooves. Ask your farrier for advice on what has or hasn’t worked in his or her experience. Chances are he or she has tried multiple products and can share some experience and input.
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Pennsylvania horse owner Jennifer Bryant said her go-to product is the Effax Summer Hoof Gel. She emphasized that it’s the gel, not the green ointment, that she prefers. The gel is made from avocado oil and includes other moisturizers.
“It has been a lifesaver this very dry, hot summer,” she said. “It's hard to find in the US but worth the search.”
Farriers’ Fix Hoof Oil is a topical Rachel Wulsin prefers to use on the horses at her Upstate New York barn. This topical includes natural ingredients that provide vitamins A, D & E and includes Venice Turpentine, an antiseptic that treats thrush and some of the bacteria that causes white line disease.
Most stable managers don’t have farrier training and rely on a professional to trim and shoe. For those that have learned the fundamentals and perform their own work, Carla Shoemaker recommends the Cody James Dymondback Rasp that is available in fine, medium and aggressive surfaces.
“It is hands down the best,” she said.
And for those unexpected situations where a horse pulls a shoe, New York horse owner Crista Boldt relies on the Renegade Hoof Boot. She originally purchased it for a horse recovering from an abscess. He was sound but needed protection when ridden. She used it an entire season riding trails and working cattle.
“It only came off once in very thick, tall grass,” she said. “I recently put it in my trailer as a backup because my current horse overreaches sometimes. I was worried it might be too clumsy for reining maneuvers, but my horse adjusted quickly and did fine when I had to use it at a show.”