We’ve all heard the old adage, “no hoof, no horse,” and while there are certain breeds that are more prone to sore feet or compromised hoof structure, the concept is universal. Of course, a great farrier is a wonderful way to mitigate issues in the feet, but horses will be horses, and the occasional abscess, plucked shoe, or bout of laminitis does not discriminate.

Many competitive horses have just wrapped up their strenuous winter seasons, and still more are about to embark on the busy spring show circuits, so we think now is a fitting time to discuss the hoof in all its delicate glory. This week, we provide some tried-and-true home remedies to help ensure the health of the hoof (and, subsequently, the horse), as well as some insight into a few newer gadgets that we’ve recently added to our repertoires.

Then, stay tuned next week for Part Two of our Pumped Up Kicks series, when we ask Dr. Mark Baus of Grand Prix Equine to drop a bit of medical knowledge on us. He’ll explain the what, why, and – most importantly – when of hoof balance radiographs as a diagnostic tool when our tender, half-ton snowflakes leave us scratching our heads despite all of the below.

These boots are a bit pricy, but we have two pairs that are going on seven years old. They’re great for shipping, reducing concussion when walking on hard ground (horse shows anyone?), and protecting the feet during episodes of tenderness (laminitis, lost shoe, abscess, etc.). The rubber inserts come in a few different iterations depending on the needs of each horse.

Epsom salt (actually magnesium sulfate) is known to draw infection from surface layers of skin…or, in the case of horses, hooves. This gel poultice is the perfect product for packing hooves when an abscess is suspected, eliminating the need to soak in warm water and powdered salts several times each day. Pro tip: it’s great for human sunburns, contact rashes, and bug bites, too!

Magic Cushion is messy (we recommend gloves!), but it works for reducing inflammation, heat, and general discomfort in the sole and frog of the hoof. It’s a safe, show-legal treatment after strenuous workouts, acute injuries to the feet, or days spent standing/moving around on hard ground.

For those of us who live in wet climates, moisture can be an issue. Damp environments can compromise hoof structure, causing crumbling and general weakness. Keratex is designed to strengthen the hoof by preventing excess absorption of moisture. A sturdy hoof is less prone to bruising and breakage, and there’s even some science behind this one.

Developed by a respected farrier and made from all natural ingredients, Farriers’ Fix Hoof oil was created to fight thrush/bacteria, and alleviate soreness, tender feet, and dry or cracked hooves. We use it daily at OR, because in addition to all of the above, it creates that show-ready (and ‘grammable) shine that we all love.

When one of the OR geldings recently had an acute case of sore feet, the vet recommended these extra tall ice boots, and we were amazed at how well they worked. His legs were kept cold from the ice in the boot, and his feet were also chilled from the near-freezing water dripping down the leg (if you’re not into anecdotes, there’s a study for that). The boots can be worn for an extended period of time in a safe environment, and they are easy to take on and off. All of the OR geldings have been trained to stand patiently with feet placed in buckets of ice water, which is a party trick they’ll no longer need!

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