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The summer drought is always a busy period for our farriery practice because of the natural changes that occur in horses' hooves during long periods of dry weather...
The summer drought is always a busy period for our farriery practice because of the natural changes that occur in horses hooves during long periods of dry weather.
As hooves dry out and become less moist they shrink meaning some horseshoes become loose and need refitting. In addition to this, the hooves become harder to trim and the sole begins to exfoliate so we have to pull the loose pieces out when we trim the horses feet.
Like human nails, horse hooves are made from keratin and farriers are often inundated with questions about how good hoof products really are. These gels and footbaths aim to prevent hoof damage by moisturising and softening the horses feet.
We are often unconvinced about these summer products because the equine hoof is extremely well designed to accommodate any climatic changes they encounter without human intervention. Farriers believe horse hooves are at their healthiest during these dry months and therefore products that moisten and soften hooves seem to contradict this. After all we are told not to apply oil or greasy substances to our own hair and skin.
However this isnt to say dry periods dont come with their own problems. As the ground dries out it prevents the hooves from sinking into the earth and so the pressure exerted on the hoof is much greater. For unshod horses this is fine as the hooves wear down to adapt to the pressure. For shod and competitive horses however, the hard ground can damage their lower joints and cause lameness.
Whether you believe that hard ground is a friend or foe it is important to inspect your horses feet regularly, no matter what the season.
For further information contact The Farriery Practice on 01403 791 000 or www.totalfootprotection.com