Picking with a Purpose- Endless Reasons to Pick your Horse's Feet December 07 2015, 0 Comments
Well the rains (and for some snows!) have finally come, and here in CA we are now enjoying our sloppy mud mucking, getting our faces covered in dust every time we groom the mud off our horses, and last but not least, picking out stinky, black, gooey hooves. So, I thought I’d leave you all a note about thrush- what it is and what you can do about it.
Healthy hoof without thrush.
First and foremost, tis’ the season to pick your horses hooves. Thrush is a bacterial and fungal infection that can really destroy your horse’s hooves and leave him in deep discomfort during all times of year, even when it’s dry. Once the bacteria or fungus has entered his hoof, it will keep eating away at your horse’s hooves until you address the infection. I have seen cases so bad that the horse’s frog was literally eaten away. Needless to say, that poor gelding was in a lot of pain.
There are many, many solutions out there to help you manage thrush in your horse but the number one single most important thing to do is to pick those hooves each and every chance you get. Bacteria and fungus thrive off the moistness that get trapped inside the horses’ hooves from prolonged exposure to wet manure, mud, and urine, so keeping those lovely feet clean will go a long way at keeping the infection at bay. Having a strong, effective hoof pick and brush with very stiff bristles will be your best defense.
Now that’s prevention. If your horse already has it, there is a laundry list of over the counter solutions to stave off the infection. However, proceed with care- many, many of these items actually will encourage further thrush growth in the long run as they are harsh, and can actually chemically peel your horse’s frog- not what you want as that will expose the hooves to further infection. Consider a drying powder- we have No Thrush at the shop, but I have heard Gold Bond even works- to absorb the moisture in the hoof. From there, you can soak the hoof in several homemade soaks- Apple Cider Vinegar, Tea Tree Oil and water, Grapefruit seed exctract and water or coat the hoof in Thrush Off Resin. Try also using an essential oil based spray/gel to both stave off the infection without irritating the hoof sole or your horse’s surrounding skin.
And lastly… don’t be shy, dig into those grooves and frogs and keep that stinky black infection at bay. If you are frustrated with your hoofpick and find it’s not doing the job, our favorite hoofpick is the Ultimate Hoofpick, which is very sturdy, never bends, and always digs out the most stubborn mud.
Cheers, and happy picking!!