Have you noticed the change in your horse’s hooves over the past couple of months?
While we have a range of climatic extremes at present, from the flooded Queensland areas to the drought stricken lower states, geography seems to have very little or no determining influence in what is happening in the bottom of the horse’s hoof right now; the four or six weekly trim is revealing an enormous amount of sole and frog build up, which is not exfoliating naturally.
So in the dry states of Australia the hoof just gets taller and taller depriving the frog of ground pressure all of which results in a proppy action in those horses. (Pic 1) During the summer months the sole and the frog have built up a thick hard crust to protect the sensitive hoof from bruising, so the hoof wall has also maintained a higher profile in relationship with the sole and the frog.
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Horses’ hooves are a natural barometer in tune with nature, and if we as hoof carers can also tune into nature and be vigilant and observant, it will be noticed that the sole and the hoof wall have reacted differently in this current climate to protect itself from the prolonged dry conditions.
Let us consider the sole first, as this is the first part we should address when preparing any hoof. In a normal year the sole will grow thicker as the hoof wall grows down, then it begins to get crumbly and (with a bit of help from the ground surfaces and encouragement from a sole knife) it will exfoliate to give the sole a concave appearance. The hoof wall is then left longer above the sole to bear weight as it is intended to do, and only needs to be trimmed into shape to control any external flaring.
However because of the long dry period we are experiencing now, Mother Nature … Continue Reading ››