Hawthorne Hoof Beat: Summer Hoof Care Tips

We're pleased to bring leading monthly farrier tips to EN readers on behalf of Hawthorne. This month, we've collected several important summer hoof care tips from farriers Dwayne and Jennifer Holder.

Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

We were recently introduced to Dwayne and Jennifer Holder, a husband and wife farrier team who work every day with two goals in mind: a sound horse, and a happy owner. To kick off our new series on hoof care, they shared a few important seasonal tips.

1. During the muddy season, it’s important to regularly pick the horses’ feet and not let mud stay caked on the hooves. However, it’s better to brush the mud off rather than hosing.

If the horse’s feet are already wet from the mud, soaking their feet with the hose every day could make the hooves too wet, leading to flaking hoof walls and an unhealthy, sloughing frog.

2. In the summer hooves get very hard, but if the feet are too dry they will become brittle and crack. Talk to your farrier about ways to treat and prevent brittle hooves.

However, there is a difference between a hard hoof and a brittle hoof. “Horses tear their feet apart in the summer, and there is nothing me or you can do the stop that,” Dwayne said. “There is nothing wrong with a hard, dry foot if they’re still pliable.”

3. Educate yourself. As a horse owner, you should be able to tell when the feet are too wet or too dry. There are plenty of resources on the internet that will give you a basic understanding of healthy hooves and proper hoof care.

Of course, you can always talk to your farrier about caring for your horse’s feet. They will be more than happy to answer your questions.

4. To ensure your farrier can do the best possible job, provide good working conditions — a flat, dry, well-lit area to trim or shoe. If these needs are met, Dwayne doesn’t care “if it is in a driveway or a two-car garage.”

Many thanks to Dwayne and Jennifer for their best practice tips for the summer. Stay tuned for much more from the Hawthorne Hoof Beat!