We all know that mud and constant wet wreaks havoc on our horses’ hooves. We also know that mud and wet weather is a part of life in most stables. So what’s an equestrian to do with all those wet hooves? Here are three easy steps to dry hooves that can maintain a balanced moisture level and make your horse happy.
- Stable your horse on clean bedding. Even a horse who is happy living outside can benefit from some time on your favorite bedding if their hooves are water-laden. Wood products naturally draw moisture from hooves. Just a little bit of these products on a wet hoof can dry the outer walls and soles almost immediately.
- Ease up on baths. Giving a horse a bath can saturate their hooves just as surely as letting them stand in a mud-puddle for a few hours. Water streaming down the horse soaks into the hoof and saturates the walls, which can lead to swelling and significant weakening over time. If you give your horse a bath, take care to have him stand on a draining surface (like the Boyd stable wash stall, https://equinefacilitydesign.com/project-item/boyd-stable) or dry ground afterwards.
- Leave the hoof oils on the shelf. Oil can accumulate in cracks and the horse’s sole, leaving behind a messy sludge that will trap additional moisture and bacteria. Healthy wall growth comes from the inside — all we can do for the outside is maintain the right moisture levels.
It’s very difficult to dry a hoof too much, but wet, saturated hooves are a disaster waiting to happen. Focus on keeping your horse’s hooves dry, while addressing poor growth through feeding nutrients. You’ll be fighting the elements from the inside.