As the weather starts to turn wetter, fields inevitably become muddy and waterlogged. As horse owners we immediately start to think about making sure our horse is warm and dry, Winter skin conditions are kept at bay and that feed is altered according to Winter workload. Altering your hoof care routine however can often be forgotten.
Horse’s hooves are designed to hold a certain amount of water, around 25%. The hoof is designed to maintain this water content by enabling water to enter and leave the hoof; generally water leaves the hoof in hot, dry conditions; and the hoof absorbs water when it’s in moist conditions. Generally the hoof will maintain this balance very well, however horse’s that spend lots of time stood in wet, muddy fields can often suffer from soft and crumbly hooves.
The hoof is made from keratin, similar to our own nails, this keratin is held together by hydrogen bonds. Initially when water is absorbed by the hoof these hydrogen bonds naturally stretch allowing the hoof to swell slightly, when excessive water is absorbed these bonds can become weakened and lose their elasticity. On the surface the hooves may look healthy and shiny because any small grooves or cracks become invisible due to the hoof swelling, however the over stretched hydrogen bonds weaken the entire hoof structure. Weakened hoof structure may lead to the hoof crumbling particularly on hard or uneven ground, and shoes may not stay on as long. You may also notice small pieces of hoof breaking away when you pick out your horse’s feet.
To help prevent excessive water being absorbed by the hooves we recommend Cornucrescine Hoof Barrier. Cornucrescine Hoof Barrier creates a breathable barrier, enabling the hoof moisture content to be stabilised by allowing the hoof to ‘breathe’ whilst preventing excess water from being absorbed. Cornucrescine Hoof Barrier will also prevent ammonia from damp bedding from entering, and weakening the hoof structure.
Cornucrescine Hoof Barrier should be applied daily, ideally before turn out or exposure to wet conditions, to clean, dry hooves. Simply use the integral brush and apply a layer of Cornucrescine Hoof Barrier to the hoof wall, sole and frog; avoiding the coronet band. Allow the product to dry and then turn your horse out as normal.