Resources & FAQ

Below you will find answers to some of Alain’s most frequently asked questions, along with links to more in-depth articles.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can my horse go barefoot?

That depends on several things. The horses job, the horses genetics and the horses environment. For example, if a horse is retired and living in a beautiful turn out with great feet-yes! I do have horses that are in full-time work that don’t require any form of hoof protection. However, I consider them rare gems.

There are purists adamantly opposed to steel shoes. And they used to say “that every nail in a horses’ foot, is a nail in the horses’ coffin”. However, many of them have had to concede that the majority of horses need some form of foot protection to do their job.

Technology keeps changing things at a rapid pace. So at one-point metal shoes might be a thing of the past. And with the many choices we have today. Metal shoes are still the most practical and popular choice for many horse owners. Because metal shoes allow for customization in shoeing, that boots cannot.

To determine what’s best for your situation, you should consult with a hoof care professional. For more information read this article on: Should my horse go barefoot?

How often should I have my horse shod?

The average for most horses is six weeks. However there can be special circumstances that require the horse to be serviced in as little as two or three weeks. Every horse has different uses, horn quality and growth rates. Farrier and horse owner need to consider the situation together, to determine the best answer for the situation.

What can I do about white lines disease?

For simple cases White Lightning has a good product and protocol using an IV bag. There are so many variables with white line disease such as the location of the infection, that make it hard to give simple answers. The best thing to do, is determine a course of action after your Farrier/Veterinarian has examined the hoof.

What hoof dressing(s) should I use?

Believe it or not, sometimes you might be harming your horses feet with moisturizers.

Some studies suggest that if your horse has poor hoof integrity you are exacerbating the problem with moisturizers. There are two ways that you might be damaging your horses feet with moisturizers.

  1. Some hoof dressings start building up externally on the wall not allowing the foot to breathe which defeats the purpose of a moisturizer.
  2. Some moisturizers when applied to shelly brittle feet, further weaken the protein in the hoof wall; retarding the hoofs ability to regulate the moisture content of the hoof.

For situations like this Keratex hoof hardener is an alternative for helping brittle feet. If your horses feet are generally healthy, a moisturizer in dry, sustained conditions can be helpful.

What hoof supplement should I use?

Sometimes you can try a commercially available supplement such as Farrier’s Formula, and have great success. However, the best way to determine your horses’ nutritional needs is to have an analysis done. For more information read this article on hoof supplements.

What should I do about thrush?

That depends on the severity of thrush. For grooming your horse, or mild thrush, you can use most commercially available topical remedies e.g. thrush buster, Kopertox.

In severe cases, Today, and Tomorrow, have proven to be very efficacious in conjunction with regular care, and environmental management.

You can get more information by reading “What is thrush, and how should you treat it?”

Why does my horse keep abscessing?

Is the cause internal or external? Some abscesses are caused by internal hemorrhaging that result from severe concussion (road founder), or laminitis.

Other abscesses form because a foreign body has entered the hoof capsule causing an infection. Sometimes the cause is obvious, such as a carpenters nail piercing the frog.

There are situations, however, that even with x-rays it’s difficult to determine the internal cause.

If your horse chronically abscesses there is no easy answer, and you will have to do some detective work with your professional (vet/farrier) to determine the cause.

Why don’t my horses’ feet match?

I acknowledge that Farriers can exacerbate or compliment the disparity in hoofs. However the first thing you have to realize is, not every horse is born symmetrical.

Another determining factor is the horses use/habits. Sometimes horses are not used in a balanced way e.g., race horses go in one direction around the track.

Some horses while eating grass favor one foot. Injuries or hoof diseases also play a role. There is a huge debate among professionals concerning this question.