Whole Horse Hoof Care

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March 2020 Continued - Nutrition & Environment - Day 3-4

This morning I got to retake my Stage 1 exam and am pleased to say I've now passed.

We continued today by looking at environmental impact on horses health and how this is reflected in the condition of their hooves.
There are so many factors which will affect the feet - such as exercise, feed, turnout regime, medications and the ground they are walking on, but have you ever considered that even your saddle fit can affect your horses hooves and all round health (poor fit = unbalanced or restricted movement = incorrect wear) and a good hoof care professional will be fully trained in helping you identify which of those factors may be relevant to you and how to go about removing or reducing the impact caused by it, including working with other professionals such as body workers, vets, saddlers and dentists.

As we've learnt before, it really is not just about the trim at all, in fact the trim is a practical element which addresses and balances the changes which occur as a result of the environment and nutritional impacts and it is a focus in those areas which is so important.

We discussed infections in the hoof, how to identify these and treatments to consider (plus the importance of consulting with the clients vet when needed).

We also discussed conditioning surfaces and the effects that varying stone sizes can help or hinder the transition period and ongoing health, depending on the current condition of the hoof.
For example a horse with a good thick sole will benefit from larger sized gravel as the increased surface pressure will stimulate growth, yet a thin sole will bruise from this increased pressure as the bearing area is greatly reduced. The thinner sole will benefit far more from fine gravel, as the bearing area is greater across the whole sole.

On our last day we finished up discussing some of Richard's past case studies, from Bridie, who was severely laminitic and made a full recovery following an intensive 12mth period of diligent care from the owner who followed every recommendation made, to Molly, the Irish Sports horse who went from good at the start of their barefoot journey (mild thrush and WLD), through great to amazing - covering 30+ miles per week on all terrain.




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