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Winter hoof care- general management and help from msm and devil's claw

Posted on July 14 2019

Where I live we have mud for months in winter- it turns into that deep ankle twisting mud that makes you long for summer or free draining soil.

It's hard on the horses too and they do start to look depressed slopping around in it. Standing and grazing in it adds to the likelihood of hoof abcesses and stone bruises with the hooves in a constant state of wetness which makes the soles softer. 

Over the years I changed the management of my horses so that stone bruises are now a rare occurrence. (touch wood!!) The most important thing is to create an area where the horses can get out of the mud, I do this by having areas of limerock in the paddocks where they can stand out of the mud. Overhanging trees can also achieve the same result.

I also have yards and stables where they can escape the worst of the weather, eat hay and this gives their hooves a change to dry out for a few hours each day. It also saves the paddocks getting so cut up.

However if one of them does get a hoof abcess I give them a bit more msm as I believe it helps reduce inflammation and I also add devil's claw powder to the feed to try and help alleviate pain.

I also have canvas hoof boots that I can use on the affected leg and these stay on pretty well in the paddock.