Even the healthiest horse hooves are at risk of contracting diseases and getting damaged when spring weather brings along swift changes from wet, boggy ground to dry and hard. Here’s how you can help your horse be comfortable through the changing weather conditions and help prevent diseases and foot soreness.
As we know, your horse’s hooves change constantly throughout the year to adjust to the change in temperature and amounts of rainfall. However, what we are less aware of, is how much it affects the horse when these changes in weather conditions happen swiftly and sometimes dramatically especially during springtime.
Horse’s hooves are like sponges, that expand and swell up if they are soaked continuously for days in rain puddles or mud. When the ground dries up and even the moisture from the
grass disappears in windy, hot weather, the hooves contract and harden up. Although your horse is naturally equipped to adapt his hooves according to the conditions, they can’t adapt as quickly as the weather sometimes changes. And that causes problems.
Wet, Swollen Feet can make your Horse Sensitive and Sore
When your horse’s feet are usually dry and hard, they shield effectively from hard surfaces. Even after a whole day of heavy rain the hooves will quickly dry up again. However, when otherwise dry, hardened hooves are subjected to several days of consistent soaking during a wet spell, the hooves begin to absorb the water and soften up.
The softening of the horse’s feet means that he will suddenly become sore from stepping on rocks and uneven surfaces – things that have never bothered him before. Footsoreness, even when it is only temporarily caused by softened feet, should never be ignored, as it can make your horse change his gait and lead to lameness.
When your horse is worried about putting his feet on the ground, he will start to tip-toe and shorten his stride. This creates tension all through your horse’s body such as his shoulders, neck and back. This is, nonetheless, very easy to avoid by providing your horse with the protection from a pair of hoof boots as soon as you notice his hooves are starting to soften up.
A flexible, shock absorbing hoof boot such as Scoot Boots, will protect the softened, swollen hoof from any ground surface that could be making your horse’s feet tender.
Scoot Boots have excellent drainage, so water won’t get trapped inside the boot and cause further soaking of the hoof.
Protect your Horse’s Wet Feet from Abscesses and Bruising
Softened, wet horse feet do not only become more sensitive than usual. The softening of the tissue also makes the horse’s hooves more prone to bruising and opens up the doors to bacterial infections such as thrush, white line disease, seedy toe and abscesses. In these cases, your hoof boots are yet again invaluable to help treat the infections and protect against bruising.
Treating hoof infections such as thrush in a wet, muddy environment seems almost impossible, as you will need to keep the infected area clean and treat with anti-bacterial remedies such as hoof clay. Putting on a hoof boot after treatment will help keep the hoof clean and help prevent the anti-bacterial clay or ointment from being washed off in the rain and mud too quickly.
Hoof abscesses usually occur as a result of bruising or when bacteria get stuck in a crack in the hoof. Bacteria build up is most likely to happen after the hoof has been wet and swollen and then been dried too quickly, trapping the bacteria inside the hoof as it contracts and hardens up. Some horse owners prefer to wait for the hoof abscess to burst by itself and in this case, you can help ease the pain in your horse’s foot by letting him wear hoof boots.
Drawing out the pus from the hoof abscess with a poultice likewise becomes much easier when you can keep the poultice in place with a hoof boot, which also assists in keeping the poultice clean – and adds shock absorption under the sore horse hoof.
Be Careful Not to Dry out your Horse’s Wet Feet too quickly
As mentioned, hoof abscesses most often occur when bacteria get access to the tissue in a wet and swollen hoof, which gets trapped there when the hoof dries out and contracts. As such, it is important to be cautious of not drying out the wet hoof too quickly. Quick drying of horse hooves also increases the risk of cracks in all areas of the hoof; Frog, sole and hoof wall.
Instead of stabling your horse till his hooves have dried and then letting him back out to soak again, it is much better to provide your horse with a well-drained higher-level area outside, for instance where you feed his hay, and let his hooves dry out more gradually.
Researchers have found that some flood affected horse’s hooves have sloughed so badlyfrom being immersed in water and mud that all protective tissue has gone. Also in this case, it is essential not to let flood affected horse’s hooves dry out too quickly and provide them with protection from a padded, well ventilated hoof boot.
In conclusion, hoof boots are an invaluable aid to keep in your tack room. Shock absorbing and well-ventilated hoof boots such as Scoot Boots can prevent your horse’s feet from getting bruised and sore from soaking during wet spells and if infections have already occurred, hoof boots can help in the treatment and keep your horse more comfortable as he recovers.
To discover more head over to the Scoot Boots Website