If you set the hoof bath up in front
of your water trough the horses will need to put at least their front
hooves in when they drink.
First put the poles in place as shown in the photo above, followed
by a piece of carpet, then the pool liner topped with another piece
Allow the horses a day or so of walking on it dry to get used to stepping
into this strange area - you may even need to lead them through it
Then wet it down so there is no pooled water so they get used to the
wet feeling before adding more water to make a shallow pool. You may
need to lead the horse's through at each stage to ensure they can
cope with stepping in to get their drink.
Alternatively, if your horse drinks from a stream or dam and their
hooves are still very dry, you can set up the hoof bath for a longer
soak just before trimming. By feeding them in the hoof bath, they
will be happy to stand once they get used to walking through.
CURE FOR SEEDY TOE
toe seems to be one of the most common afflictions to a horse’s
hooves can best be described as a fungal infection which enters through
the white line where it has been weakened either by long hoof growth
of horse shoe nails.
gets its name from most commonly being found in the toe area although
it can affect any other part of the hoof wall.
the integrity of the white line has been weakened (stretched or punctured)
the fungi and bacteria enter from the soil much like hoof rot in sheep,
and eat their way up the inside of the hoof wall, thriving on the
dark, damp conditions. What can first look like a small area of rot
once dug into with a hoof knife can reveal a large amount of damage,
which in severe cases can cause chronic lameness.
the primary infection is usually fungal, it means that it does need
consistent treatment to return the hoof to good health.
if you trim your own horse’s hooves, you need to remove as much
of the damaged (crumbly) hoof wall as possible to open the infected
area to the light and air and to stop dirt being packed into it. If
you aren’t confident about doing this, ask a hoof care specialist
to show you how far to trim and be careful to only remove hoof wall,
not sole or the sensitive lamina inside the white line.
itís a matter of using an anti-microbial agent to soak
the hoof in once or twice a week. Milton nappy wash or the generic
equivalent (Black & Gold or Home Brand) which have the same chemical
component and concentration as Milton, are ideal at a ratio of 1:10
(9 parts water). I mix up a 2 litre bottle using 200ml of Milton and the rest luke-warm water.
bleaches use the same chemical (sodium hyperchlorate) but at different
concentrations.† It is probably easier to use the “Milton”
than to work out the right does rates for the bleaches.
a hoof soaking boot or if you’re on a budget, a section of inner
tube folded in half once the hoof is inside and tied around the pastern
is just as effective. After cleaning the infected area thoroughly
with a wire brush and even a sharp knife or nail to get all the dirt
out, put the hoof boot on and pour in enough solution to fill it to
mid pastern level.
10 minutes, empty the boot and add fresh solution. Do this again twice
more after 10 minutes so there is a total soaking time of 30 minutes.†
While the hoof is nice and clean, spray the infected
area with a solution of 1:10 Vetadine
(9 parts water) that you have
mixed in a spray bottle (Vetadine is an economical form of
tamed iodine (betadine) that you can buy as an animal wash from your
vet or produce store…† again
it is the easy way to get the dosage right as “iodine”
may come in a large range of concentrations and straight iodine mixed
1:10 is quite destructive).
can spray the Vetadine in twice daily if it’s a serious infection,
otherwise, do it as often as possible between soaking.
This method has been used with great success by Peter Laidely who recently
held a hoof trimming workshop after Agfest. He says people who use
other products such as Formalin or Copper sulphate, risk poisoning
their horse as the area where the bacteria reaches is alive and can
absorb these chemicals into the blood stream.
course once you have the seedy toe under control, the hoof wall will
grow out and if you keep the hoof correctly and frequently trimmed,
it will not occur.
type of ground your horse is on also seems to be a pre-disposing factor
as some dirt (such as soft moist areas) seems to harbor
more fungi and bacteria than other types.
more information on keeping your horse barefoot, or learning how to
trim, Peter has a wonderful book on CD which is available from me
at a cost of $39 including GST and postage. Click
here to read a review.
A hoof treated for seedy toe by removing the damaged hoof wall.
being 'kind' is cruel
While reading the book
'Perfect Partners' by Kelly Marks (an excellent book by the way) I
was struck by a very true statement she made.... "Well meaning
is not the same as wellbeing for the horse".
One of the ways we show good care for our horse is to provide plenty
of feed. Unfortunately this over-caring can be cruel to a horse or
pony especially in spring and early summer when grasses are high in
Our equines (that includes donkeys and mules) often have to endure
the pain of a hoof abscess caused by too much rich grass, and can
be affected even if they don't appear to be overweight.
photos show the various stages of an abscess which in the beginning
can cause three legged lameness before it bursts through soft tissue.
The pain the horse endures at this stage is similar to when you hit
your thumb with a hammer and the swelling and blood is trapped under
Eventually the pus and serum are forced from the internal hoof structures
and come out through the coronet band or heel bulb areas.
a milder abscess is not even evident in a horse not exercised regularly,
only showing up when the hoof trimmer discovers a rotting hole in
the sole or hoof wall.
If you suspect an abscess it's a good idea to poultice the affected
hoof, changing it daily so the coronet and heel bulbs are soft to
allow the abscess to find the easy way out. This can take up to a
week, but if your horse is lame for longer than this, call the vet
in case it is something more serious than an abscess.
course if you want to avoid the abscess situation then you need to
restrict your horse or pony's intake of grass, especially in the afternoon
and overnight when the sugar content is highest.
Rather than 'locking them up' in a small bare dirt yard with nothing
to eat (being cruel to be kind) a long narrow area to move in is a
better option and some soaked hay (to reduce sugars) must be provided
to prevent gut ulcers, colic and development of vices such as wood
chewing to alleviate hunger. Don't use cereal hays/straw such as oat,
wheat or barley as these can be even higher than grass hay in sugars.
best option is to set up a 'track' around the edge of the horse's
pasture which is grazed out by sheep, cattle or other horses early
in the season. You could even plough it up if you have a chronically
foundered pony or horse with insulin resistance, to remove all the
grass while still providing room to move.
Movement is vital for a horse to burn calories and relieve boredom.
Having the company of another horse promotes movement and play, and
is much healthier way of keeping any horse. A horse or pony kept on
its own and in pain from laminitis will suffer depression and prolonged
If you can't provide a track or company for movement, then exercise
by riding, driving or leading is essential, as is the company of another
prey animal such as a cow, sheep or goat.
I heard that in Denmark it is illegal to keep a horse on its own -
a law we could well do with here too if we had the ability to police
See the article on Paddock Paradise
for ideas on setting up a track. Another option is to run your pony
in a large area of bush or poor pasture grazed out by sheep. You may
still need to provide 'low sugar' hay so to find out more about that
or purchase the Safer Grass CD's from the Natural
Horse World Shop.
A hoof abscess is a warning sign that the horse has suffered a laminitic
episode, and therefore is prone to more of these unless the feed situation
is changed. Caring horse owners love to give their horse a bucket
feed or treats but this can cause more problems.
Treats such as carrots, apples, sugar cubes, bread and mints all have
sugars that add up to tip the horse's intake over the edge (just like
Instead, give your horse a handful of sunflower seeds or a good scratch/groom
where they like to be rubbed - it's much healthier for them.
Grains, pellets and even oaten chaff are high in sugars too, so feed
an alternative if you have to such as Speedi-beet,
and soak the oaten chaff or use a very small amount of lucerne chaff.
Check the Laminitis page so you know the
early signs, get them off the grass and work with your hoof trimmer
to alleviate the symptoms.
Education and action is the key to being kind to your horse - if you
really love your horse you will make an effort to find out new information
that can help keep them from suffering the affects of over or under
By reading this newsletter and researching the links, you have taken
the first step so well done. Now keep going and put your knowledge
Your Own Safe Hoof Stand
safe and easy to make hoof stand was put together from items you can
find at most recycling shops or even from around your own place. To
start with you need a removeable agitator from the centre of an older
style washing machine - the larger ones are better as they have a
larger, more stable base.
Next, find some PVC pipe that fits into the top of the agitator -
mine had a joiner on it so I was able to get it to lock into the top
snugly. I made two pieces about 100mm long that can be swapped for
whatever hoof job I was doing.
On one piece I fitted a dog toy ball that made a comfortable surface
and provided a grip to sit the hoof on. With the second piece of pipe
I drilled 2 holes in the top and with a cable tie, I attatched a curved
piece of radiator hose to make the hoof cradle which also had two
holes drilled through and 2 slots cut where it met with the pipe.
This keeps it from rolling over when pressure is applied.
To ensure the easy removal of each piece of pipe from the agitator,
apply a little oil to the edge of the pvc pipe and voila! you have
a very safe (for you and the horse) and light hoof stand.