We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine July 2016 - Page 23

So you think you've done everything right. You've got your horse at a great facility, beautiful pastures and plenty of grass. Perfect shelter and even state of art watering systems that refill concrete troughs on demand supplying a never ending flow of fresh water.

Then disaster strikes. The region falls into a drought phase, temperatures are sizzling, just walking across the lawn stirs up dust clouds like you see in the cartoons. Can we say Parched?!

Before you know it, your horse's hooves appear dry, brittle, flaking and chipping away. Panic sets in, you call the farrier and ask for help to treat, prevent progression, envisioning your beloved horse's hooves chipping away until they're gone (you know, in that dramatic area of your brain that reacts so powerfully, your instincts talking - listen to those voices, they are generally right!).

I had a great farrier. He always offered insiteful suggestions and knowledge and was as patient as a grandmother. He advised me to supplement with Biotin and apply a daily hoof dressing. I also applied hoof boots for the first few days for extra protection allowing the dressing to penetrate deep into the hoof wall. It took about a month to get those feet back to where they ought to be. But here's where the interesting tips came in from my farrier that I'll never forget, and hadn't considered before.

The pristine water trough and lack of natural water source in the pasture, combined with the draught and heat, were the perfect storm waiting to ravage my horse's hooves. My farrier recommended a daily mud bath for his feet, not only in the case of disaster, but any time it gets dry. Hose down an area where your horse must stand, such as in front of a hay rack, or that pristine water trough. Hose it down until you have a nice soft mud for your horse to stand in for a few minutes each day.

Then, as often as you can, ride down to the creek or pond and enjoy a good long pause. Let your horse play and give those feet a

good, long soak. It'll do you both