This is probably the truest statement ever made about a horse. You could have everything else in your healthcare regime perfect, but having the foundations of the horse consolidated is what it really boils down to, and for me, it all starts with the foot.
If the foot is compromised, everything else becomes compromised.
The circulation in the lower leg is poor enough at the best of times, let alone when box rest is due as a result of foot complications. The frog in the horse’s foot acts as a ‘pump’ which is activated when the horse moves around, helping push the blood up and down the leg each time the horse puts his foot to the floor.
This is why it is so important to look at the structure of the feet - especially when buying a horse. I have come across so many horses who have all the scope and mental ability to potentially become top class horses, but because of their foot confirmation, they just couldn't stand up to the work, and of course, no amount of product is going to change your horse’s skeletal conformation!
'Poor hoof conformation comes naturally to a lot of horses, but a careful management and training plan often keeps lameness at bay with the outside help of hoof supplements and applications.'
It goes without saying that your Farrier/Vets advice will always be the most beneficial, as their diagnosis is based purely on your horses condition, but these are my top three 'go to products' for an easy and effective all-year round hoof care regime:
CDM ‘Daily Hoof Dressing’ – For daily maintenance CDM ‘Daily Hoof Barrier’ - For wet & muddy conditions CDM ‘Daily Hoof Moisturiser’ – For dry conditions
I like them because they are quick, easy and pretty self-explanatory to see you through all the seasons. They all include an integral brush which is attached to the lid for easy application.
The daily hoof dressing does what it says on the tin. It’s suitable for all hoof types and is perfect for daily use. Simply apply liberally to the entire hoof structure and the sole once a day.
The Daily Hoof Barrier is for wet & muddy conditions and is designed to strengthen and protect the hoof, preventing cracks and breakages within the hoof wall and helps reduce shoe loss. It’s a ‘one way’ barrier which still allows the hoof to breathe yet repels excess moisture. It's perfect for the Winter, and this solution is also particularly useful for horses who are very ‘wet’ in the stable and are prolonged to their box. Apply to a clean, dry hoof just below the coronet band, covering the sole, frog and heel to give all round protection.
But as we are now (hopefully!) heading into the nicer weather… This solution may be more beneficial for the season ahead - and FYI, this one smells amazing! I don't think I have ever come across a hoof application and thought it smelt nice, but this one reminds me of Pantene!
The ‘Daily Hoof Moisturiser’ is for dry conditions, formulated to replenish the moisture lost within the hoof to prevent cracks and splitting. It’s a unique water-based formula as prolonged dry periods can cause the hoof horn to dehydrate.
Apply liberally to the hoof structure on a daily basis as seen below:
The texture of these formulas are quite gloopy, so for those who like to double up their hoof care routine with a show ring shine, these products won’t do both!
For this I would suggest the Vanner & Prest hoof oil which provides an immediate show-ring shine. The traditional vegetable and oil compound contains natural anti-bacterial properties, helping to maintain healthy hooves.