It Happens Every Spring
I heard a colleague say today that spring was about 30 days away! My inner child immediately surfaced as I remembered this passage of time to bring all things green and blooming, AND continuing in that state of mind a thought bubble appeared of me riding my pony again for hours on end without freezing!
Oh, sorry, back to reality. Indeed spring means warm temperatures, longer days and the joy of being outside with our horses in much more conducive weather. Horse shows, racing, fox hunting, trail riding and all our horse activities will be in full swing before we know it. The older I get the faster the seasons change. I think that’s a good thing?
Spring also brings the need to evaluate our horses’ health including hoof care, teeth floating, deworming and vaccinations. Hoof care and the mud that comes along with spring can be a concern. Through the winter months you may have your horse on a longer trimming schedule to allow the frog to grow cushion and protect the hoof from the uneven dry frozen ground conditions. Going into spring hooves begin to grow more quickly so be sure to get back to a regular trimming schedule with your farrier and be sure to schedule a spring wellness check-up with your veterinarian.
Thrush can rear its head this time of year and mud can be a culprit. Symptoms of this bacterial and sometimes fungal infection are black ooze at the frog and a distinct rotting odor that gives a whole new meaning to stinky feet! Wet stabling conditions or muddy low lying pastures can be breeding grounds for the bacteria that cause thrush.
Mud alone does not cause thrush but if the organism that does get packed in the hoof under mud an infection could begin. Daily inspection is a must on the road to healthy hooves. Trimming the frog, making sure to clear out the clefts or crannies beside the frog will help relieve the condition. There are many remedies available over the counter specifically developed to treat thrush. Keeping hooves dry and clean is a key component in alleviating the infection. Try to give your horse a dry area to get out of the mud through the day.
No Hoof, No Horse
As a horsewoman I heard the saying “no hoof, no horse” many, many times. This common sense phase rings true and is proven over time. Our horses’ hooves are the foundation of restoring soundness. Abscesses, thrush, white line disease and side wall separation are all costly side effects of un-healthy hooves. A balanced diet that includes a hoof supplement and a dry mud-free turnout can go a long way to preventing spring hoof aliments. Topical hoof dressing can also be used to bolster hoof integrity.
This article was written by Kathy Kilbane – Big Dee’s Web Products Specialist