Regular hoof maintenance can be the difference between tacking up and riding off or calling the farrier for a lost shoe. The time you take between farrier appointments to maintain your horse’s hoof health will mean more hours in the saddle for you and less discomfort for your horse.
We had the opportunity to speak with two farriers who shared best practices between appointments and which Mustad products they use and recommend.
Lee Olsen of Weatherford, Texas owns and operates a thriving multi-farrier practice that specializes in therapeutic and performance farrier services. The facility also houses an apprenticeship program for farriers in training.
Olsen stressed the importance of handling your horse regularly between appointments to ensure the farrier’s safety during the appointment. Consistently picking hooves is also extremely helpful, as owners can spot any issues with the hoof, like a loose shoe or a quarter crack that may need immediate attention.
Olsen also shared that during muddy months thrush can be prevalent and sometimes difficult to manage. Thrush is an infection in the hoof, often bacterial and sometimes fungal, that occurs when moisture and manure sit in the hoof for an extended period of time. Olsen explains that thrush cannot be treated every 5-6 weeks when the farrier comes to trim or shoe, it requires daily treatment. However, thrush can be prevented. Mustad’s Thrush Buster is a preventative treatment that creates a barrier between the hoof and debris to keep the frog and sole safe from infection. Olsen recommends it to all of his clients and uses it in his own practice regularly.
We also had the opportunity to speak with Steve Kraus, Head of Farrier Services at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. There, he not only teaches hoof health to farrier and veterinary students but also oversees all school-owned horses and the collegiate polo team horses.
Kraus stressed the importance of identifying the “appropriate schedule” for each horse, the schedule is dependent on the season, the horse’s activity level, their age, the horse’s conformation and more. Most horses fall between a 4-6 week schedule. Ensuring horses are trimmed and shod in this interval reduces the need for correction during the trimming. Instead, the farrier can focus on maintaining the horse’s angles and balance.
Beyond being an advocate for the regular use of Thrush Buster, Kraus also recommends Mustad’s Tuff Stuff to clients. Tuff Stuff is a hoof toughener and conditioner that not only strengthens the hooves but acts as a protector against fungus, bacteria and caustics.
Whether your horse is competing at the highest level or simply a companion, hoof maintenance is an important part of keeping them happy and healthy. Farriers Lee Olsen and Steve Kraus urge horse owners to maintain a strict trimming schedule and to spend time between appointments handling their horses’ feet and using Mustad products regularly.
Written by Emily Smith.