The warmer weather is (finally) nearly here. At Pommel we are very interested in hoof care. It's amazing how far we have come in terms of education and responsibility for our horses' foot heath. Spring is a time for getting out and enjoying our horses more, and doing what we love. It's also a time to have a closer look at what's going on with their general health - including their feet. Below are our steps to keep on top of it this spring.
1) Whether it's a farrier or a podiatrist - schedule regular professional foot-care. There really is no substitute for a decent farrier. Every horse is different but every 4-6 weeks is the norm for shod horses. Don't forget to pick feet out daily.
2) Spring can be wet and dry. Sometimes it's summer in the sun and winter in the shade - this can create the perfect storm for cracks and dryness. Moisturise frequently with a balm like Pommel's 'Leg Up' to avoid dryness.
3) With the above in mind, check carefully for abscesses. If there is any lameness or heat in the foot call the vet or farrier as soon as possible. Cracks create a great entry point for bacteria which causes abscesses - this can be very painful for your horse and knock them out of work for the season.
4) Spring is a fabulous time of year with everything bursting into life - beware though, as this includes the grass. Lots of situations can lead to higher sugars in the pasture - stressed landscape, frost, heat, wet - basically any change in the weather can cause the sugar to rise. This can play havoc with your horse's sugars and sometimes their metabolism. Check feet for heat frequently and test for a raised digital pulse - this is often a keen indicator something is wrong.
5) Establish what's normal for your horse. hoof growth can increase in the Spring months so you may need extra farrier visits. You will know if they have gained weight or what their pasture looks like - adjust their feed accordingly. Mum knows best!
6) Don't get caught out with any of the above, after all no foot, no horse!