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My gelding does not have the best hooves. It is mainly his front hooves that are easily cracked and chipped. And a few months ago he had an abscess that left a crack 3" long. I need to get him on a hoof suppelment. What is a good and affordable hoof supplement I already have him on a joint supplement so I am only looking for hoof supp. I saw Jeffers has a hoof supp that's pretty affordable. What are the main ingredients that I need to be looking for I know biotin is one of them. Thanks in advance any advice is very welcome.
 

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Are you making sure to get his feet trimmed at the interval he needs it for his work load, growth and environment? I have noticed that makes a huge difference on how cracks start and how they progress if we even get them. But we have never had an abscess, knock on wood.

I give our 3 horses Grand Hoof, along with some multi vitamin and probiotic and salt. (I buy it on SmartPak, but in the buckets, they seem to be the cheapest).

I honestly can't say I ever noticed a difference in using it. My mare, I had her for 6-8 months before I started her on it, and we moved cross country at nearly the same time the vitamins were started. She also changed from a soft, sometimes wet ground, to fairly hard, lots of rocks to self trim, drier environment. It has been 2.5 years in the new environment, with the vitamins, and trims every 8-10 weeks, and she has been great.
The other 2 horses, they started on the same vitamins as soon as they were ours--- I also didn't notice any great difference in their hooves.
Maybe all 3 are great to start with? Maybe it is the frequent enough trimming, diet? Environment?
Either way, I feel better feeding the vitamins.

Sorry for the book, but I always feel like there is a sorta back story to any answer or question. :)
 

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I have several horses on Horseshoers Secret. It is fairly inexpensive and works well. I notice a difference, but it takes a few months to really see the benefit.

Biotin is the main ingredient you need to be concerned about, they need a high dosage of it. You can get Biotin Crumbles if you prefer, I have had farriers tell me to just use that but I don't want to use one of my already hoof compromised horses as the guinea pig to see if just biotin works.
 

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I do not have horses now but have in the past. Three of mine had cracked or flaking hooves when I got them. I feed all of them a ration of half sweet feed/half cracked corn. Their hooves improved dramatically. Two of them had good hooves when they grew out, the third was still prone to sand cracks in hot, dry weather, but they were thin cracks that ended about half way up and didn't seem to bother her.
 

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My young SBP gelding started getting cracks in his hoof this summer from foot stamping to get the flies off his feet. I sprayed fly spray on him, but the cracks got worse. I finally had the farrier put shoes on him - that seems to be helping. I also put him on a hoof supplement with biotin and we put on liquid hoof care. The last time the farrier was here - he put some sort of glue on his hoof to keep the cracks from getting worse.
 

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Biotin helps. Hooflex makes a paste that helps, too. It is about $16.00 a can. Doesn't last long. Make your own with 8 oz rubbing alcohol, 8 oz mineral oil, 8 oz corn oil and a tub of Vasoline all blended.
Shoes, correctly applied help close cracks and prevent chipping. At one time breeding was an effective tool for bad hooves.
 

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At one time breeding was an effective tool for bad hooves.
Huh? Do you mean by only breeding horses with good feet??

To the OP, I have three horses - two barefoot, and one with craptastic feet so she has to wear shoes. I've had my mare with bad feet on double strength Farrier's Formula in the past and noticed absolutely no difference. The other two have awesome feet - never chip, never crumble, even in summer when they stomp at flies.

So, it can't hurt to put your horse on a supplement, but it might not actually fix the problem, or fix it completely.
 

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Stress or a lot of trotting on hard pan or concrete and/or forage changes,etc.. can cause problems for good hooves too. Found it is not just a genetic issue.
 

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Huh? Do you mean by only breeding horses with good feet??

To the OP, I have three horses - two barefoot, and one with craptastic feet so she has to wear shoes. I've had my mare with bad feet on double strength Farrier's Formula in the past and noticed absolutely no difference. The other two have awesome feet - never chip, never crumble, even in summer when they stomp at flies.

So, it can't hurt to put your horse on a supplement, but it might not actually fix the problem, or fix it completely.
I guess I wasn't very clear. Yes, there once was a time when poor footed horses were eaten or at least not allowed to breed."No foot, no horse" was a breeding standard.
 

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At the farm we rub lard onto the hoof if they get brittle. Twice a day until the hoof is healed up and don't forgo trimming them when needed. Just curious what breed is your gelding? - we have noticed this problem with thoroughbreds and palominos mostly while the quarter-horses and Clydesdales haven't had any problems.
 

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I'm going to continue qualifying everything I say with the words "I'm still a beginner but...."

Anyway, Al had a pretty bad crack in his hoof when we got him and when it started getting worse Betty had me give him the Dumor Hoof supplement with biotin in it every day along with frequent trims and cleaning the crack and putting tea tree oil in it because he had the start of white line disease. His hoof is 100% healed now and all of his hooves look great. He also gets the selenium because our area is low in it, and vitamin E. I guess if they get too much selenium the hooves get worse though.
 

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My gelding does not have the best hooves. It is mainly his front hooves that are easily cracked and chipped. And a few months ago he had an abscess that left a crack 3" long. I need to get him on a hoof suppelment. What is a good and affordable hoof supplement I already have him on a joint supplement so I am only looking for hoof supp. I saw Jeffers has a hoof supp that's pretty affordable. What are the main ingredients that I need to be looking for I know biotin is one of them. Thanks in advance any advice is very welcome.
If I'm understanding you correctly, you're looking for something to making your horses hooves harder and less prone to cracking and chipping? If that is correct, start adding about 1/2 cup of powdered milk to about 1/4 cup of sweet feed and mix well. The powdered milk will stick to the molasses in the sweet feed. It will take a few days for your horse to get over acting silly about the powdered milk, but he will, and the calcium in the powdered milk will harden his hooves. We used this with one of our mares who was prone to going lame from stomping flies on a concrete apron in front of the feed bunk and it worked like a charm!
 

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There are several reasons why horses develop cracks in the feet. Sometimes it's because they go through wet/dry cycles. Old timers used to feel that letting the water tank overflow, and having the horses walk through some mud was as good as hoof dressing. But what are your hands like after a single day of going in and out of water? Pretty dry, eh?

There are lots of different commercial hoof dressings available. IMO the best ones are loaded with pine tar, but plain old cheap margarine will work, too. What you need is something to be a moisture barrier. Depending on the condition of the feet and the footing they're on, you may need to hold moisture in, or you may need to keep moisture out. I once knew an eventing horse that suddenly went through a time where it was constantly throwing shoes. With a little research, it was found that the groom was slopping on lots of hoof dressing immediately after the post-workout bath. When she changed the hoof dressing use to before the bath, the thrown shoes stopped. She blocked moisture out, instead of holding it in.

There are also some really good hoof supplements out there. Remember that biotin is only one of the many nutrients needed to build good feet. Others include d-methionine and dietary sulfur. If the feet tend to spread and fray, then sulfur is almost always deficient. Sulfur is the mineral that gives strength to the microscopic bonds that hold the tubules of horn together.

Since dietary deficiencies vary according to the quality of the forage and the digestive capacity of the individual, different supplements will work better on one horse or another simply because they have different recipes. One that's considered the very best out there is Farrier's Formula. I had a gelding on the loading dose of Farrier's Formula for eight years, and I still had a horse with brittle, chipping feet. If he pulled his shoe, he pulled it out from the clinches down, and that demanded a lot of repair work with acrylics. So I switched him to one called HOOF made by Advanced Biological Concepts. WOW, what a difference! I put him on the maintenance dose and within about four months my farrier commented on the improved resiliency and texture of his feet. I still have that horse, and he's still on HOOF. It's a top quality supplement, yet so is Farrier's Formula. The HOOF recipe was simply more along the lines of what that particular horse needed.

Different horses will have foot challenges because of illness. A previously foundered horse will have impaired circulation in the front of the foot, and it alters the pattern of growth. A horse that has been injured at the coronet band can also have impaired circulation. Horses with allergies have unusual demands for certain minerals, which leaves them deficient in nutrient supply for feet. Abscesses can cause an interruption in the formation of horn if they blow out the coronary band. Normally this will resume horn formation after the abscess has been drained.

Horses can also have bad feet due to genetics. Some are born with thin, weak walls, and as they grow, the horn is smashed under the horse's weight. Some are born with thin soles, and never seem to lay down enough sole to keep them comfortable on anything but the softest footing. Some poor souls are cursed with both. They also tend to have thin tails, thin manes, and fine, tight haircoats. You see this a lot in TBs.

But here's one of the biggest reasons for cracks: Uneven loading of the foot. This can come from a conformation problem, lameness in the other foot, too much time between trims for that individual, or plain ol' bad, imbalanced trims. It takes a good eye for biomechanics to look at a horse and evaluate the way it stands, the way it moves through all the joints from the shoulder and hip down, the way the foot strikes the ground, bears weight under the column of bone, breaks over, and takes flight again. Too many farriers look only from the knees and hocks down. Some use a cookie-cutter approach and make all feet look alike. Horses are individuals, and all have their own particular needs for foot care. Sometimes a horse can get along fine with an unbalanced trim, but problems show up when injury or lameness happens.

Bojack08, you don't mention if this abscess broke on it's own, or if you had the vet come out and drain it. Just for future reference, and for those who are new to abscesses, they tend to cause very sudden and acute lameness which can be easily resolved, and very quickly. Abscesses form in the feet as a result of stepping on something such as a nail or a sharp piece of wood, or even from a bad bruise on a rock or hard, uneven ground. Microscopic fissures form in the sole and bacteria gets up inside, where it replicates. The body attacks the bacteria and/or any foreign object introduces, and forms a pocket of pus. It hurts like the devil because the hoof capsule is rigid, and there's no place for the swelling to go. When you call the vet, he'll put hoof testers on the horse, carefully squeezing the heels, the quarters, and toe of the foot, until he finds the painful section. Then he'll gently pare out the sole along the white line (on the underside, close to the horn) looking for a distinctive dark spot. He may actually drill aggressively in this spot with his knife, perhaps even drawing some blood; but he has to find the abscess and relieve the painful pressure. When he does, it can squirt pretty hard! The fluid usually stinks to high heaven, and the horse feels instant relief due to the release of the pressure. The vet continues to pare out the hole for good drainage, then packs the hoof with cotton soaked in betadine or in a sugar/iodine mixture (known as sugardine, which has excellent drawing properties). Then he bandages the foot with sheet cotton, then vetrap, then duct tape, and sets down the foot. You can leave this bandage on for three or four days, keeping it dry and reasonably clean, and in ten days, if the horse is sound and the infection cleared out, you can shoe the horse with a pad or ride in a good quality boot, and chalk this up to experience. Letting them blow out the top takes longer to heal, is very painful, and often has more complications. But hey, it happens sometimes, even with the most careful and alert owner.

And if you got through all this, you're very tenacious. ;)
 

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Dry hooves on the outside isn't the problem. The hoof gains moisture from within. Putting stuff on the outside is a waste of time and money. Soaking in mud is great when you need to trim. It has been particularly dry here due to the drought and my horses' hooves are so rock hard it's a bear to trim them! Hard is good if you want to ride barefoot.

Cracks may indicate a fungal infection. Try doing some soaking with Oxine or Lysol diluted, which will treat the fungus. You'll have to repeat those soaks as the hoof grows out.

My horse had a founder episode this spring and a toe crack developed that went up to the ring that developed, but wasn't a problem since that ring grew out and the crack never made him lame. Now his hooves are self-trimming to the ring. The hoof quality above the ring is great.

Feed is of great importance. A supplement does little good if it is out of balance with the forage/hay your horse is getting. Most commercial supplements have added iron which is absolutely unnecessary and could be problematic for horses with insulin resistance. Most hay has too much iron already, and too little zinc and copper - ideally copper and zinc should be balanced to the iron. You can learn a lot about feed balancing on the yahoo group barefoothorsecare.

In California, a farrier came up with a supplement based on the averages of California grass hays, called California Trace. It turns out that this supplement is helpful with hays from other regions, too, since as I said, iron is usually too high and copper and zinc not high enough. Her supplement contains zinc, copper, biotin, selenium and some other things that should be included when supplementing hay. Try not to add grain or high-sugar feeds like Equine Junior/Senior unless your horse is in heavy work, since starch/sugars can be problematic for hooves of horses who are easy keepers, aren't worked, have Cushings, or are insulin resistant.

When looking at commercial supplements, look for zinc, copper and NO iron.

Good luck!
 
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