Team Easyboot 2013 Members Announced

Thank you to everyone who applied for Team Easyboot 2013. The panel of EasyCare staff members selected this year's team based on diversity of representation in geography, discipline, age and skill set. Our goal for TE13 is to have engaging members who are enthusiastic and communicative both online and in person. Team Easyboot 2013 members are listed below.

Kim Abbott
Amy Allen
Sharon Ballard
Ashlee Bennett
Daisy Bicking
Laurie Birch
Karen Bumgarner
Mikayla Copenhaver
TJ Corgill
Angela Corner
Karen Corr
Carol Crisp
Q DeHart
Kandace French
Susan Gill
Natalie Herman
Nonee High
Leanna High
Kim Hudson
Brigit Huwyler
Christina Kramlich Bowie
Mary Lambert, DVM
Gene Limlaw
Sabrina Liska
Tennessee Mahoney
Stacey Maloney
Elaine McPherson
Lisa Morris
Martha Nicholas
Rachael Parks
Raina Paucar
Grace Pelous
Amanda Petersen
Buck Petersen

Heather Reynolds
Jeremy Reynolds
Carla Richardson
Vanessa Richardson
Renee Robinson
Tami Rougeau
Christoph Schork
Leslie Spitzer
Susan Summers
Steph Teeter
Lucy Trumbull
Mari Ural
Jennifer Waitte
Carol Warren
Amanda Washington
Kevin Waters
Kicki Westman

Congratulations! Team member photos and biographies will be posted on the Team Easyboot page. Team members are available to inform others about EasyCare products and assist in boot fitting. Keep an eye out for TE13 members at your next event.

Returning applicants were asked: "What do you feel was your greatest contribution to the team?" Tennessee Mahoney's humorous and inspirational response is below.

I feel like I help gal's like myself realize that "they can do it." I encounter a lot of people who have an, "it must be nice!" attitude. I guess they they think I have a Fabio, live-in, professional natural hoof care practitioner and booter. Spoiler alert - I trim, boot, and glue-on by myself. This industry is filled with women who love horses but their horse's hooves are akin to their truck's engines, a "black-box" area. Sure, every now and then you come across a gal who can change her own oil...or at least check the oil. Your horse's hooves and his hoof care and protection should not be a "black box" area. Yes, I do in fact have a wonderful husband (Sean) who helps me immeasurably but he has never trimmed a hoof. With some basic education and some experience, the women of this industry can take their horses' hooves into their own hands. Let's just say, you can get as involved as you want and do a good job.

Tennesse Mahoney returns to Team Easyboot for 2013!

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, EasyCare CSR

Marketing and Sales

I assist the marketing and sales departments at EasyCare with a special interest in hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts. My horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.

 

Abundance!

Whoever has the most knowledge is always a step ahead.

An exciting spring season is upon us. There are abundant opportunities to learn about hoof trimming, breaking research, hoof protection possibilities, and fitting hoof boots of all kinds. There are many clinics available this spring being held with the support of EasyCare, Vettec, Global Endurance Training Center, Remuda Run, Endurancenet, and The Bootmeister. All are working together to provide educational clinics for you. Some of them are basic, while others go deeper and explore subjects including: factors that influence a horse's movement, cause and effect of pathologies, the connection between conformation and hoof development, and how to perfect the gluing procedure for Easyboot Glue-Ons.

Conformation and hoof development, where is the connection?

The first clinic will be held by myself, aka the Bootmeister and GETC. This is a short free clinic at the Antelope Island 25/50/100 ride that will take place on the afternoon before the race on the 12th of April. We will offer a demo on fitting various Easyboot hoof boots.

Next, at the Mt Carmel XP Ride from May 1st through May 5th, I will be available every afternoon for a free one hour session for trimming advice. Please RSVP by emailing at info@globalendurance, time will be limited as I will be riding every day as well. On the afternoon of the 30th of April, I can assist with hoof boot gluing.

At the Owyhee Fandango Pioneer Ride on the 24th of May, I will conduct a free 3 hour clinic with gluing demos. This clinic is sponsored by Vettec, who is inviting the attendees to a wine and cheese party after the clinic. Free giveaway prizes are also being handed out, donated by EasyCare, GETC, and Vettec.

Clinic participants enjoying culinary delights.

Checking for lateral cartilage development.

A more advanced weekend clinic is being organized by Tennessee Mahoney from Remuda Run on May 11th and 12th. The Performance of the Barefoot Hoof clinic will give insights into topics including: the four main hoof trimming theories, how shoeing and booting are influencing hoof development, caudal foot problems, and exploring the connection between dental pathologies and hoof development. I'm really happy to work with Remuda Run on these topics and share them participants. Sign-ups for this clinic can be done by either contacting GETC at info@globalendurance.com or Tennessee Mahoney at ten@remudarun.com.

For the pros among you, we will discuss problem hooves such as those shown in the image below.

What is the plan of action when encountering these hooves?

On a more pleasant note below: SBD (the horse) is happy that his rider Carla Laken (here seen tailing), attended a hoof care clinic at GETC.

Easyboot Glue-Ons protecting hooves from the sharp rocks in Mill Creek Canyon near Moab, UT.

Looking forward towards the summer, the big event in the west is going to be the National Championships at the City of the Rocks in Idaho in September. Details will be forthcoming in a timely fashion. We are organizing another great educational hoof care clinic during this event.

Group photo with clinic participants in Switzerland last year.

Check frequently for updates at:
GETC: www.facebook.com/globalendurance , www.globalendurance.com/blog/
EasyCare, Inc: www.facebook.com/Easyboot , www.easycareinc.com/blog/

Hope to see you all at least one of all the upcoming events.

So long

Your Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

April 2013: Green's Feed

Green's Feed is a family owned and operated company in Reno, Nevada. The store was started by Bill and Mary Green 27 years ago and is managed by their son, Scott Green. The store sells everything from propane to western tack. The Green's goal was, and still is, to best serve their community with a wide variety of feed and farm products.

Left to right: Scott Green on Cuervo, Bill & Mary Green, Loren, Kathy, Cyndy, Joe and Pablo on Jitana

When we asked Scott how the hoof boot industry has changed over the years, he responded, "We started selling Easyboots in 1988. At the time, standard black was the most popular (now there are red and blue Gloves!) and hoof boots were primarily used if a horse was injured or lost a shoe. Since that time, we have seen the hoof boot market move toward every day, trail use and more."

Green's Feed attributes their success and takes pride in knowing their customers and their customer's needs. They offer an extensive line of hoof care products that include five different styles of EasyCare boots, the original Easyboot, the Epics, the Gloves, the Easyboot Trail and Soaker boots. Scott says the Easyboot Trail is his favorite boot because it is so easy to put on and is built for riding. They also carry Comfort Pads, replacement gaiters and cable kits. They emphasize that special orders are gladly taken. Some of their more successful marketing strategies are horse owner clinics. In addition, they have an extensive farrier clientele that rely on Green's Feed for specialty and therapeutic products. Overall, they attribute their 27 years of success to providing excellent customer service, which keeps their loyal customers coming back.

The Green's own six horses and the Green crew has the combined experience of over 100 years of horse ownership. The folks that work at Green's have done endurance, roping, parades, pack trips, cutting, ranch work, racing and trail work, so their combined areas of expertise covers most every riding discipline.

When asked where he sees the barefoot industry going, Scott's reply was, "Trimming to maintain barefoot horses has become very popular in the Reno area. However, some horse owners are not necessarily being educated by their hoof care practitioners as to proper hoof care. Horse owners in our dry climate can end up with severe hoof problems. With this unfortunate situation happens, we are here to help with feed supplements and EasyCare products to protect the hoof as it heals."

Scott says their favorite event each year that they look forward to is the American Endurance Ride Conference. Visit Scott and the staff of Green's Feed at 75 Bailey Drive in Reno, Nevada or on their website at http://www.greensfeedinc.com/.

Free With Every Horse - New Zealand Trek Part I

One man, two horses, 3,000 km.

On November 1, 2012 Pete Langford embarked on a 3,000 km (1,800 mile) trek across the length of New Zealand. What inspired Pete to undertake such a challenging journey? His love of horses and nature were the main catalysts, along with a desire to raise money for Air Rescue Services in New Zealand. EasyCare and our New Zealand distributor, the Institute for Barefoot Equine Management (IBEM), are proud to sponsor Pete on this journey. Pete's horses, Two-Shoes and Cloud, are barefoot off the track standardbreds and they are traveling over the varied New Zealand terrain wearing Easyboot Gloves. The trip started at the bottom of the South Island in Bluff and will end at Cape Reinga on the North Island (you can follow their progress on this SPOT Adventure page). Pete and his horses are just finishing their route on the South Island and are currently near Picton.

How are the Easyboot Gloves holding up to such a demanding journey? Below, Pete describes his initial experiences using hoof boots:

Time for some words about hoof boots, specifically, boots used in place of steel shoes. Now this always seems to raise the emotions of some of those who sit on either side of that particular fence. Some seven odd years ago I got off the fence and opted to go down the barefoot route, using boots when the terrain demanded it and neither I nor my horses have looked back. The boots I used were Old Mac's from US manufacturer EasyCare and they did me well on the limited distance riding I did as a "weekend rider". When preparing for this trip I looked to see if they had a boot that could cope with all that my "long ride" could throw at it. After a couple of emails, EasyCare gave me various options and after a discussion with Thorsten at IBEM it was determined that the Easyboot Glove would be the most suitable boot.

Ready to ride! All photos by Pete Langford.

The first thing I had to do to use these boots was to get a good barefoot trim and then measure the hooves. Getting a perfect fit was a bit challenging since neither Cloud nor Two-Shoes had symmetrical hoofs - both had flare and Two-Shoes is a little pigeon toed on the forehand. With corrective trimming, their hoof shape should improve which will make fitting easier. In the meantime, I have been persuaded to use a couple of tricks to ensure boot retention. I had initially ignored the advice to use these tricks and as a result had boots come off when scampering up the sides of mountains or having a run down the occasional suitable tracks...live and learn.

On top of the world, the saddle crossing the Dampiers.

Now these boots are good, there's no doubt about it, having covered nearly 1200 km (750 miles) so far I reckon I'm well placed to comment on them! The sizing/fitting must be as close to perfect as possible for reliable performance and for staying put on the hoof, anything less will see boots being discarded in really demanding terrain. Having said that, there are a couple of tricks to ensure boot retention which are particularly useful if your four legged friends hoof walls are not symmetrical (most aren't). Trick one, power straps, these little gadgets are used to close the slot at the front of the boot which really helps with getting a nice snug fit around the hoof wall. Trick two, using some sports tape around the hoof to get extra grip between hoof and boot. Since I have used these two tricks, I haven't lost a single boot - they have stayed put crossing rivers, scampering up mountains, running along tracks and they even stayed on in quicksand...yes I did just say that! Whilst crossing the Rakaia River we hit a patch of this deadly stuff and were very lucky to get out. If we had been a meter more to one side then there's a good chance I wouldn't be around to write this. Happily I am and can report that even in that instance, the boots stayed firmly put and let's face it, that's important as no one would be keen to start fishing around in quicksand to recover a lost boot!

Rakaia River quicksand.

If you want to know more about what myself, Two-Shoes and Cloud are up to, visit us at www.freewitheveryhorse.com, on facebook (Free With Every Horse) and twitter (@3witheveryhorse). Hopefully we are done the quicksand - once was enough!

Pete Langford

Bacteria, Fungus and Yeast, Oh My!

As a hoof care practitioner, I sometimes assume that all is well with my personal horses’ hooves. Healthy hooves depend on several variables and a balanced diet is essential for optimum hoof health. My horses have access to low NSC grass hay at all times and I provide a custom mineral and vitamin supplement to balance any deficiencies in the hay. Our horses are on full time turn out and their hooves are trimmed on a regular cycle. We live in a very rocky part of Texas so we use EasyCare boots for protection as needed for riding. I thought I had all the bases covered. Lately, however, I have noticed my Tennessee Walking Horse, Gator, tripping a bit. His hooves are not perfect but he is very sound.

When I took a good look at his hooves, this is what I found:

Poor Gator!  Gator had developed a deep crack in the central sulcus of his frog. When I put a hoof pick in the crack, it was sensitive and he flinched. He was tripping because he was avoiding landing on his infected frog. This condition can be so painful some horses are even misdiagnosed with navicular. My local vet explained, that gram-negative bacteria usually cause these types of infections and flourish in the crack which is devoid of fresh air. The bacteria causes frog tissue to die and often fungus and yeast also take up a secondary residence. I have found that when caught early, this type of infection can be easily managed by an “off label” use of commercial cattle mastitis treatment. It is an antibiotic that is sold in the cow section of your local farm store and comes in a box of a dozen syringes with a long thin, flexible tip. That tip is perfect for inserting the product in the bottom of the crack where the infection resides. I apply this product daily until the crack is gone and the frog is totally healthy again. After a week of treatment, the thrush was gone and Gator was comfortable again.

Recently, I was called to give a first “set up trim” to a young Quarter Horse who had not had regular hoof care. This horse was recently sent to her trainer for boarding she was concerned about the condition of the horse’s hooves. The trainer explained that the toes looked “fairly normal but chipped” and the heels looked long to her. The horse was tripping especially when asked to canter under saddle.

Here was the problem:

The mare had deep thrush in all four frogs. The trainer said that they were treating it with the “purple stuff” but it didn’t seem effective. The bars had grown around the frogs on all four hooves in an effort to protect the sore and infected frog from pressure. The heels got longer and became contracted. The frogs became atrophied and deeply infected. The mare no longer could land heel first, she walked on her toes to avoid the sore heels, keeping the toes worn down and heels high.

In a horse like this, I would not correct the heel height in one trim. Taking the heels down to a correct height, with a raging frog infection could result in increased sensitivity. The approach I prefer is to leave the heels and bars a bit longer than is desirable so the horse can land on the back of the hoof without pain while the thrush treatment is in process. I cleaned up the “migrating” bars all the way around the tip of the frog and cleaned up the major dead flaps on the frog. The horse’s caretakers will clean the frog by picking it out, scrubbing with liquid dish soap and applying the mastitis ointment. I have no doubt that this horse will greatly improve with treatment.

Lisa Morris, Lisa Morris Hoof Care

4-H Goes Bare and Booted

4-H has been a big part of my horse life. We have always had horses at home but 4-H introduced me to other kids that rode horses.

Randolph County Fair Education Day.

I still remember one of my first 4-H meetings, the topic was trail riding. The club member presenting had a very nice power point presentation - one of the slides showed a rocky trail and she said you must shoe your horse to protect the hooves. I remember looking over to my mom in confusion, our horses were barefoot so this made no sense to me. Attitudes about shoeing have changed a lot since then. People have become more educated on the subject and are more open to barefoot horses and hoof boots. Today, almost all of the members in my 4-H group keep their horses barefoot - some members stopped shoeing and transitioned to barefoot and there are new members whose horses were already barefoot. It’s been fun talking about hoof care and hoof boots (seeing who wears what kind and arguing about which one the favorite is). The best part of 4-H is getting to ride with the other kids.

Ashlee and me riding Nanny and Maggie, Spring Break 2012.

4-H does not just focus on riding or showing, it teaches all aspects of keeping horses healthy. Last year at summer camp our club learned “All About Balance”. During this camp, we learned about the whole horse - how the teeth, body and hooves interact with one another to help or hurt a horse’s balance. We also learned how we, as riders, affect our horse’s balance. You can read more about our camp in Volume 15 Issue 1 of Natural Horse Magazine.

Inez Donmoyer, CEMT, CCMT, CSAMT,  IARP, Unicorn Dream
Wholistic Touch, teaching us about anatomy and massage.

This coming summer, our camp will focus on healthy horses and healthy riders. We are very excited that Dr. Juliet Getty, PhD, author of Feed Your Horse Like a Horse, has agreed to join us for an afternoon to talk about equine nutrition (Getty Equine Nutrition). In addition, we will be learning about first aid, anatomy, stretching and more, for both horses and riders. We have two riding instructors lined up and will learn more about saddle fitting and bridle/bit fit. We even have a chef coming. Chef Megan will be donating her time to teach about human nutrition and cook for us.  It is going to be another good time!

Left: Feed Your Horse Like a Horse by Dr. Juliet Getty, PhD.
Right: Chef Megan, Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Edible Garden Chef.

In my previous blog, you met some of my fellow 4-Hers who are learning to trim. We hope to show you how we are doing in a few months with a little more practice.

High Riders learn to trim their own horses.

Thanks EasyCare, for supporting the High Riders 4-H Club on our learning journey and for selecting me as a member of Team Easyboot 2012!

Nonee High

Balanced Horse, Balanced Hoof

Lateral or medial imbalances are fairly common and a symptom of uneven hoof loading. The load is dependent on a horse's conformation and muscle influence and results tend to be rather predictable. Legs that toe in tend to flare more to the medial sides, while toeing out creates hooves that flare more to the lateral sides. Exceptions to the common trends are usually horses that experienced some trauma in the past that affected conformation and/or muscle health and thereby hoof load. Although flaring is often identified from the front or back of the hooves with the horse standing on level ground, it can also be seen in the angles of the collateral grooves. One collateral groove usually has a steeper angle than the other and the one with the shallower angle is the side that normally flares.

Caudal view of the left front before the trim shows a medial-lateral imbalance.

Hoof form responds primarily to load from above and hooves are rarely (if ever) loaded evenly. Typically one side makes ground contact first before the other side "touches down" - the side that is loaded last is the side that tends to flare more. This is easily observed by walking a horse on a level surface. Closely watch how the hooves become loaded as the horse walks towards you. The more flared side is usually the side that needs additional trimming, while the first loaded side is often close to the right height. Frequent trimming is crucial to keeping these imbalances to a minimum - balanced hooves are beneficial to the horse and allow for proper hoof boot fit. It's even more critical with hooves that naturally flare more or unhealthy hooves that have disconnected wall growth, which leads to excessive flaring. Hoof shapes/flares can vary widely depending on individual hoof load tendencies. Unhealthy hooves, with disconnected wall growth, will also have generally more wall/white line separation on the primary loaded side.

White line separation on the lateral, more loaded side of the left front.

Equine side dominance with conformational traits like chest or pelvis width and leg length influence hoof load too. The non-dominant leg tends to get pulled in more toward the midline, thanks to stronger adductor (chest) muscles and weaker abductor (lateral shoulder/upper arm) muscles. This is very common in horses, especially in undeveloped horses. The wider the chest and shorter the leg, the more the lateral edge of the hoof becomes loaded. In extreme cases, this can cause rolling under (collapsing) of the primary loaded hoof side. It can also be seen in horses whose hind legs are wide in the hocks and narrow at the hooves (base narrow). I see this particular issue more frequently in minis and halter type Quarter Horses due to their conformational tendencies. Proper muscle development that results in even strength on both sides of the body is the only way to effectively address this issue as it encourages more even hoof load. Most horses seem to be right sided, some are left sided and some are more ambidextrous, just like humans are. The ambidextrous horses tend to naturally have more evenly sized front hooves and a dressage rider once confirmed this connection - as her horse moved up the levels in dressage his hooves became more even in size and shape. Fortunately EasyCare offers several hoof boot options in several sizes to ensure a custom fit even if hooves vary in size and shape.

Before the trim.

An equine's stance can make the hooves look more uneven than they actually are. I have frequently taken legs that are base narrow on horses with wide chests and set them so the horse is standing more squarely. It will make the hooves look comparatively normal and shows what even load looks like. If such a horse would consistently travel correctly, the hoof form would also be more balanced side to side with less flaring tendencies. In general, small hoof imbalances should not be cause for great concern if they are managed in a timely and consistent manner.

After the trim and with legs placed in an aligned position in relation to the body.
 

Submitted by Ute Philippi, Balanced Step

Balancing Booted and Bare

It's that time of year where spring seems to have sprung, at least in our neck of the woods. I am sure as I am writing this there is a wicked snowstorm or impressive hail clouds developing, but for now, I'll happily take the shift where there seems to be more good days than bad. With the swing in weather, the longer days and the overall feeling of spring comes more riding! We've been lucky to have kept riding most of the winter, short little hacks and trail rides, mostly at a walk with a little trot thrown in and an occasional gallop. These rides have all been done barefoot. My main trail horse this winter has been the adorable little mare, Belesema Dazling Lady. Dazl wasn't shod when I got her, but I still believe going from unshod and pasture pet to barefoot/booted riding horse is similar, if not the same, as transitioning a shod horse. 

Dazl came to me with pretty overgrown hind feet and a pretty normal "pasture trim" on her fronts. I've learned the hard way in the past, that sometimes less *is* actually more and I have stopped being so over-zealous in the trim department during the first few months. I want to ride my horses and want them to be comfortable. Because our horses are on such large acreage, they tend to need a little more foot at the beginning of the transition to stay completely comfortable. I have been able to ride Dazl barefoot on all of our rides since she came to me last fall with a less aggressive trim than maybe my hot little hands wanted to do. This worked out well as she was starting with no condition and could only handle short rides. Then the Deep Freeze of Hell (my version of hell is cold) came and I was even happier I had left her with some foot, as the poor horses stood on rock-hard frozen ground for two months. During this time, there was almost zero hoof growth on both of my ponies. Our rides were short on good footing but were no doubt very good for her transitioning hooves. Her condition in body, mind and hooves has improved immensely. 

Before.

6 Months After.

At this time, our rides have increased in both length and frequency. The footing is beautiful and it is very tempting to keep riding barefoot but we've reached the point where wear is exceeding growth, and the balancing act between booted and bare begins. How do you balance the need for hoof protection with the benefits of riding barefoot? Do you wing it? Stay on a schedule? Adjust your riding? Having the choice is one of my absolute favorite things about having barefoot horses. Ride on! 

Five Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Hoofjack

Many years ago, I ordered my first Hoofjack from a local farrier supply store. The one man show was run by an old time farrier. With obvious contempt he said:

"What do you need that for? It's a fad. I always place the horses hooves on my leg. Works just fine."

Living about 120 miles from the store, it took me a while to visit the store again to pick up my hoofjack.

When asking about my hoofjack, the old man answered:

"Ahhh, I tried it out after it came in, hmm, works actually pretty well. It is used now and I want to keep it for myself. I'll order you another one".

An obvious convert now. The hoofjack sold itself to a farrier, set in his ways, who previously considered it beneath himself to use one. I, on the other side, do not have to prove anything; in fact, I believe in making it as easy as possible on my body when working on the horses hooves.

The Hoofjack has been around for a while now. How can we utilize it to the fullest?

Pull a shoe, trim, rasp, and put on a hoof boot without putting the hoof between your knees or supporting the horse with your body. Take your mind off your back and knees and put it back into your work. It supports the hoof for daily care, treatment, bandaging, and more.

Standard Hoofjack® will accommodate a pony up to a small draft or draft cross (hooves up to a size 6). The Standard Hoofjack® consists of one standard base with two magnets, one standard cradle, and one straight post with standard rubber cap. The standard base is made of linear polyethylene and is 12″ in height and with a base diameter of 18″. Overall height adjustment is 14″ – 22″. The base material comes with a three year warranty against horse breakage.

1. The Hoofjack allows you to keep all your necessary tools for hoof trimming on the two attached magnets. Ready for usage without fumbling and twisting around to gather what you need.

2. Most horses willingly place their hoof onto the cradle, they balance themselves and don't lean against you. So you do not have to hold up the horse and waste energy.

3. It is easy to stand up and relax your back without having to place the hoof on the ground. Horses like it, because they can rest the leg without any torque on their joints.

4. It makes it easy to bevel the hoof walls, top dress the outside and remove flares.

5. Placing both of your feet onto the base, you can easily stabilize the Hoofjack. It allows you to work freely without running the risk of tipping over the stand.

Notice on that photo, that I actually use two hoofjacks at the same time. One with a cradle, the other one with a post. That way I can quickly and easily switch from one task to the other, without having to exchange cradle and posts.

You too can make your life easier by acquiring a hoofjack. You can get it from EasyCare or from Global Endurance Training Center.

Your Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Cracking the Code on Hoof Cracks

What causes hoof cracks? There are many factors that contribute to the development of hoof cracks and understanding the cause is the key to developing a solution.

  1. Infrequent Trim Schedule
    The first factor and the one that is easiest to remedy is an infrequent trim schedule. As the hoof wall grows, leverage increases and if this leverage is not relieved by a trim, the hoof will crack. Although it has been common to trim horses on a 6 to 8 week schedule, many people are now opting for shorter intervals and 4 week schedules are gaining in popularity.
  2. Imbalance
    A lack of balance is yet another contributing factor. If a hoof is not balanced front to back (anterior/posterior) and side to side (medial/lateral) the weight being placed on the hoof wall will be concentrated in a smaller area. Eventually a crack will result due to the uneven distribution of weight. Although imbalances can be due to a poor trim, it can also be a result of a horse's conformation, or related to compensation as the result of an injury. If you identify an imbalance in your horse's hooves it is critical that you also determine the source of that imbalance.
  3. Abscess/Injury
    The third factor that can contribute to a crack is an abscess which has blown out the hoof wall. Abscesses compromise the integrity of the hoof wall and allow an entry point for dirt and bacteria. Scar damage from a prior injury or abscess can disrupt the growth of the hoof wall and result in a crack when this damaged area grows out to ground level.
  4. Metabolic Syndrome/Diet
    Cracks can also start from the inside. Horses that suffer from metabolic syndrome are at risk of developing hoof cracks from white line separation. Hoof walls that are thin or shelly are also at risk of splitting. For horses with these issues it may be necessary to switch to feed that is low in starch and high in fiber. Evaluation of the forage may reveal deficiencies in Copper and Zinc, supplementing these minerals can result in improved hoof wall integrity.

Relieving leverage at the toe.

Relieving leverage at the toe.

Opening the area.

Opening the area.

Although cracks are unsightly, they are generally superficial and can be easily resolved with a balanced diet and trim. For cracks that linger, it may be necessary to have your hoof care practitioner open the area with a hoof knife or dremel. This will expose the area to air and make it easier to apply medications that . EasyCare offers a selection of hoof boots that can be applied to protect the compromised hoof wall as it heals. The Easyboot Epic, Old Mac's G2, and Easyboot Trail are all options for horses that need to wear a boot in turn out.

Fully grown out crack.

Fully grown out crack.

Submitted by Sossity Gargiulo, Wild Hearts Hoof Care