From Dr. Doug Butlers Principles of Horseshoeing III:
Chapter 41, Page 603:
“The Sole is not designed to bear weight. It protects the coffin bone, and its cupped shape helps with traction in soft ground. The sole grows down at the same rate as the wall but normally becomes disorganized and flakes away, or exfoliate, when it reaches a thickness of about one-fourth inch.”
WRONG!!! The hoof sole and frog should be the primary weight bearing structures, but Doug Butler, the guru of horseshoers, ignored not only historical and mustang research but elementary physics, and created a tidal wave of misinformation for hoof care people. One of the stupidest statements I ever heard was that “nailing on shoes will protect against stones”. How? Because it adds a space between the sole and the ground? Yes, I suppose a ¼” thick shoe will protect against stones under ¼” in size, but how about bigger stones? Thicker shoes? And, this has been one of the main reasons that horseshoers carve out the sole…so there is no sole pressure. Continue reading
In 17-years of using and providing HoofArmor I have never known HoofArmor to cause a hoof abscess. HoofArmor should not be capable of causing abscesses. I work very hard to create and make available a product that is safe for horses and people. There were formulas I could have used that would work better or quicker but were, in my opinion, too hazardous. HoofArmor main ingredients are approved by the FDA for use in contact with food. Kevlar is a neutral fiber that is everywhere. One other ingredient is actually used in food and make-ups. There is nothing toxic. Continue reading
Here’s an issue that I hear a lot of both from clients and on forums. What to do with a flat footed or thin soled horse? First of all, how does anyone know if a horse has thin soles unless there are x-rays for reference. Even then, it’s difficult to tell how the sole is constructed. How much of the hoof sole is callus and how much is live sole? Is the callus layer sufficient to protect the live sole?
The more I work with horses, the more I find they are physically like people. Our hands and feet can develop calluses, but they don’t really look thicker. It is just the outer layer that is tougher. By definition:
Or: Continue reading
“If you don’t take away a horse’s traction, you don’t have to give it back.” That statement I made up years ago makes me picture mustangs running across the rocks slipping all over the place. Of course, that doesn’t happen. They aren’t quite Mountain Goats, but they manage all right. If you look at a mustang hoof, how smooth and hard it is, you have to wonder why that is that they don’t slip.
The phrase I heard somewhere was that when horses’ hooves expand they “grab a handful” of dirt. Metaphorically, this makes sense. The hoof lands and expands under full weight of the horse, as the weight is distributed to another leg that hoof slightly contracts – still under pressure – and “grabs” the surface. This should work for both dirt like arena sand and solid surfaces like concrete or asphalt. Continue reading
I’ve talked about a having a Hoof Care Plan in previous posts. What do I mean by that? Most riders are very concerned about conditioning their horse for the event they want to do. The most extreme cases are endurance horses. These riders log many miles in the saddle in a disciplined, progressive plan, working their way up to the horse’s capability. They feed the best nutritional diet with supplements and alternate exercise and rest to build strength and stamina. Perhaps they even give a supplement like Biotin or Farrier’s Formula hoping to get good hooves. But then they nail on horseshoes or strap/glue on rubber boots without thought to conditioning the hooves. This is not a conditioning plan of improvement when the hooves are dependent on shoes or boots. What happens when the shoe or boot falls off (does that ever happen?). Continue reading