A Day in the Life of a Hoof

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From the dewy morning grass to the dusty sand ring, environmental shifts can take a toll on his hoof health. Frequent, dramatic moisture shifts cause the hooves to rapidly expand and contract, which can lead to cracks, fissures, and other problems. Follow Sawyer throughout his day and you might be surprised how many times his hooves go from wet to dry!


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7 P.M.

Sawyer goes in a dry stall at night and stays there until morning.


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6:30 A.M.

Sawyer gets turned out in the morning in a paddock with dewy grass.


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10 A.M.

Sawyer gets ridden in the afternoon in a dry sand arena.


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11 A.M.

After a great ride, he gets a wet bath to cool off!


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11:30 A.M.

After his bath, Sawyer gets turned out in a dry paddock to play.


Did you know?

Adequate exercise and turnout time are vital to proper blood flow to the hooves. Read our blog about it to learn more about the importance of circulation in hoof health!


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12 P.M.

Sawyer then waits to come in for dinner standing in the mud by the water trough.


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7 P.M.

Sawyer goes back into his dry stall for the night


The 3 Building Blocks of Healthy Hooves

NUTRITION
Proper nutrition plays a vital role in hoof health. Ingredients like biotin, copper, zinc, lysine, methionine, silica, and collagen can help your horse maintain healthy, resilient hooves. Daily support from a quality supplement is a smart way to support healthy hooves all day and all year long! What to put in:

EXPERT CARE
Whether your horse is shod or barefoot, partnering with a good hoof care professional is imperative to your horse’s hoof health. Read our article to get some expert tips on how to find a good farrier from Danvers Child, CJF at SmartPak.com/HoofFactors.

MANAGEMENT
Your horse’s hoof is equipped to manage natural, gradual fluctuations in moisture. However, the typical day for the modern horse usually includes more frequent, dramatic moisture shifts. In order to help your horse put his best hoof forward, try to limit the frequency of these shifts as much as possible. For additional support, try a topical that actually helps to stabilize moisture levels in the hoof, like Keratex Hoof Hardener and Keratex Hoof Gel, instead of turning to a standard hoof moisturizer.

Posted in Health & Nutrition

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12 comments on “A Day in the Life of a Hoof
  1. Fran Jurga says:

    What a great way to illustrate a very basic concept that farriers are always trying to get across to their customers! One thing I’d add is that things go along that wet-dry path until…it rains for a week…or doesn’t rain for a month. Are there limits to what even a healthy, well-exercised hoof can stand?

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Fran, thanks so much for your excellent question! We talked it over with one of our favorite hoof health experts, Danvers Child, CJF, and here’s his response: “Hi Fran! Although hooves don’t respond well to constant changes, they tend to acclimate and adapt well to consistent conditions. There are limits, however. In extremely dry conditions with hard, rough terrain, wear will often exceed growth. Likewise, in extremely wet conditions with boggy, moist terrain, the hoof will be more prone to distortion and more susceptible to bacterial and fungal invasion.”
      I hope that’s helpful! Please let me know if there’s anything else we can do for you! – SmartPaker Sarah

  2. Brandi says:

    I’ve recently taken an interest in a horse (plan to start training her) she is barefoot, turnout with run in shed/stall, huge pasture with grass and dirt areas. i noticed she has a slim crack all the way up to her cornet, what do you suggest we do to avoid any lameness or infection and fix the crack?

    • Natalie Cruz says:

      The crack will grow out and fill in once the farrier trims properly, balancing the hoof. In the meantime, Wound Kote spray on crack will keep fungus out as long as it is not deep.

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Brandi, thanks so much for your excellent question! We talked it over with one of our favorite hoof health experts, Danvers Child, CJF, and here’s his response: “I would recommend that you work with a qualified hoof care professional to determine the type, the cause, and the severity of the crack before you put this horse into a training program. Most efforts to remediate (and, ideally, to resolve) a hoof crack require regular maintenance that includes: establishing balance and support, regulating moisture levels, and encouraging new hoof growth.”
      I hope that’s helpful! Please let me know if there’s anything else we can do for you! – SmartPaker Sarah

  3. janet goekler says:

    i heard that terpintine is good for harding the frogs and hoof treatment for the outer hoof . is this a good idea for people on a budget ? thankyou sincerly janet g.

    • Natalie Cruz says:

      The hooves are part of a horses “skin” so do not put anything toxic on hooves! Hooves are hardened from the inside out so nothing topical makes them harder. A proper, balanced trim will not crack and a good diet keeps hooves strong as well as exercise. No turpentine, Clorox, Kopertox, etc. on hooves!

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Janet, thanks so much for your excellent question! We talked it over with one of our favorite hoof health experts, Danvers Child, CJF, and here’s his response: “Applying turpentine as a toughening agent is, in fact, an effective and economical way to harden and toughen the hoof. The turpentine is, however, typically applied to the sole of the hoof, not the outer wall. And, most importantly, not all turpentine is created equally. The type that is typically used for toughening hooves is known as Venice Turpentine and is occasionally referred to and marketed as Venetian Turpentine. It is a much better choice than Pure Gum Turpentine, which is the type commonly found in hardware stores. Likewise, you’ll want to watch the spelling closely, as most commercially available turpentine is actually an artificial mixture sold as Turpenteen.”
      I hope that’s helpful! Please let me know if there’s anything else we can do for you! – SmartPaker Sarah

  4. Karen Chesney says:

    how often do you apply Venice Turpentine to harden the sole? Can you use it on a foundered horse?

  5. Danvers Child says:

    Hi Karen,

    Applying a sole-toughening agent is situational and dependent upon numerous variables, so there’s no one answer to your question.

    I’m pretty hardcore about following label instructions, so that’s my first recommendation :-) In general, however, I would say that every day for 3-5 days would be a reasonable loading period, followed up with a bi-weekly application for several weeks.

    As for its use on a foundered horse…. I would definitely advise that you consult with your veterinarian and your hoof care professional on this. While the Venice Turpentine should not cause a problem, it’s certainly not going to resolve the problem. The “ouchiness” associated with founder cases needs to be addressed mechanically rather than topically.

    Hope this helps!!

  6. Sandra says:

    My horse lives in a pasture that has a creek running through it. It is typically a wet but not soggy grassy pasture. Last year we got a lot of rain and he developed white line disease in all 4 feet. I have tried almost everything to resolve it but he still has some issues. I’ve tried to keep his paddock dry and have considered putting down gravel. Any suggestions? Moving is not an option.

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