When buying a horse it takes time to find the right one, but they don't always have the perfect feet. It can be a minefield with size, shape, balance and breed all playing a part.
I was lucky - when I bought Jack my 15hh Arab X Welsh section D, he had the most perfect looking, round feet. They were balanced and he rarely had a problem, he never went lame.
Then came Frankie, I was so lucky to have him on loan. At 17.1hh he was a giant, but the gentlest boy and to date the best horse I've ever had the pleasure of riding. His feet though, they were a different story. Square and flat and way too small for a horse of his height and weight. Ultimately they let him down, they didn't stand up to any work and he got navicular. He suffered seedy toe, dry cracked walls and the geometry eventually played its part in a deep digital flexor tear which spelled the end of his career. Cushings disease came on top of all of this which led to frequent bouts of laminitis.
Frankie went to retire nannying foals at his mum's house, but when Jack died his owner kindly sent Frankie home to me which helped me to heal, I was able to pay back some of what he had given me. Nursing a horse with these problems was strangely therapeutic having lost my childhood horse.
I became very interested in skin, hooves and how to manage a horse with health conditions. We can't change some of the conditions that are with a horse but as owners we have one major responsibility to make sure a their hooves are properly cared for. Regular picking out and inspections for thrush, puncture, cracks and access are essential - also scheduling regular farrier visits appropriate to your horses growth.
Horses' feet can generally cope with consistently wet or consistently dry conditions but modern stabling and our climate mean it's often a wet to dry cycle which can result in cracking and dryness. We can help with this by fine tuning our feeding and using a high quality moisturiser on the outside. In addition to our natural horse shampoos, Pommel also has a hoof balm called 'Leg up' which contains hemp. It's perfect for moisturising without clogging so you still allow the hoof to breathe. The other main ingredients are shea, lavender and tea tree – known for its anti-bacterial, antifungal properties. This balm is the real deal for hoof health, which we all agree is paramount to the well-being of your horse. Being so natural it can be hand-applied and massaged-in to all areas of the hoof, sole and frog. Enjoy moisturised, healthy looking feet (that also smell amazing).