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Archive for the ‘Hoof Care’ Category

Ten Skin Ailments to Avoid

Here is a brief primer on some of the most common skin problems that might plague a horse.

Rain rot is caused by Dermatophilus, an infectious microorganism from the soil that eagerly becomes established in skin cracks under a dirty hair coat during rainy weather. The painful, tight scabs that form on the horse’s neck, shoulders, back, and rump make him uncomfortable and unusable and require medication and bathing.

Seborrhea is a skin disease caused by a malfunction in sebum production and function, resulting in flaky skin.

Ringworm is a fungal infection affecting the skin and hair, characterized by round, crusty patches with hair loss. It is easily spread between horses via tack and grooming tools.

Photosensitivity of the skin (usually under white hair) can result from components of certain plants (ingested). The skin becomes red, then sloughs off.

Warts, most commonly on the muzzle of a young horse, are caused by the equine papillomavirus. As a horse matures, he develops immunity to the virus and the warts disappear. The same virus also causes aural plaque, a scaly condition inside the ear, which can become painful if flies are allowed to bite and feed inside the ears.

Sarcoids are common skin tumors with unknown cause. There are several types, mostly occurring around the head or the site of an old injury.

Thrush is a fungal infection of the hoof that thrives in moist, dirty environments.

Scratches (also known as grease heel) is a common term that refers to a general localized skin inflammation found on the lower legs of horses. The thick, chronic sores at the heels and rear of the pastern can be quite painful. Scratches are linked to an opportunistic fungus, but can be complicated by bacterial infection.

Ticks cause crusty scabs and can be disease carriers. Check the mane and tail carefully throughout spring and summer. Use rubber gloves or tweezers to remove ticks, which can carry Lyme disease that can also affect humans (see July Vet Clinic). Be sure to remove the entire tick. If the head is left in, it can cause a painful infection.

Lice are not common in horses unless they are poorly kept and crowded. Then lice can spread rapidly through a group. You’d find the nits (eggs) or the lice themselves along the midline of the horse, such as in the mane and tail head.

 

Take advantage of our Book Sale. Buy One and Get TWO FREE on this page. New books are being added weekly in both categories.

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Here are a few added this week:

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If you have a question about horse care, facilities, horse behavior or training, perhaps your questions has already been asked and answered on my Horse Information Roundup.
There you can browse by categories such as Hoof Care, Riding and Mounted Training or Horse Clothing just to name a few………

OR you can use the Horsekeeping search tool at the top of the page to type in a word or phrase and that will create a list of articles that contain that subject.

To get more in depth information, you can browse through my complete books list. Here is the complete chronology of my books and DVDs

and here is a place where you can look for books by category – the Book Barn.

Cherry Hill

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Hi Cherry,

In your almanac, you say that the repeated wet/dry cycle can damage the quality of a horse’s hooves.

My horses and I are avid swimmers in the summer…  I usually take them out every day to relieve them from the heat… they love it!  Splashing and swishing and dunking… we have a blast!

They are both young (6 & 7) geldings on 24/7 turnout with free choice grass hay and twice daily grain (1/2 cup hi fat hi fibre).

Am I doing them more harm than their fun is worth?

Christena

Hi Christena,

It depends on where you live, the temperature and humidity, the condition of your horses’ hooves and skin, and your management.

For example, if you live in a hot, humid climate, although the swim might feel good, it might take hours (or maybe never) for the horse’s coat, skin and hooves to thoroughly dry out. That can set the stage for skin problems, fungus and hoof deterioration.

A daily swim here in semi-arid Colorado would be fine – it would be refreshing and the horse would dry quickly.

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Hi Cherry,

When my horses loses a shoe it takes almost a week until my shoer comes out to replace it. What should I do in the meantime? Caitlan

Hi Caitlan,

Ask your shoer what he or she prefers, but here is what hubby Richard Klimesh, long time shoer says…….

An unshod hoof should have rounded and smooth edges that resist chipping and cracking. When a hoof is prepared for shoeing, however, the edges are left sharp but they are protected by the shoe. When a horse loses a shoe, the sharp edge can easily break.There are several ways to protect the bare hoof until your farrier can replace the shoe.

Hoof boots come in various sizes and styles, so look for one that will fit your horse’s hooves. Hind hooves usually take a smaller boot than the front hooves. The boot should fit snugly and not rub the skin of the coronary band or pastern.

If you do not have a hoof boot, you can use several layers of duct tape to protect the edge of the hoof from chipping. If your horse has a tender sole, you can tape a cloth over the bottom of the sole to protect it.

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When my dear hubby Richard built my scriptorium (the cottage where I write) he put in lots and lots of bookshelves…..that was, well, I don’t want to say HOW many years ago but a long time !!

The shelves are now overflowing and its time to downsize my collection.

Most of the books are new or like new. Many have never been opened. Some are current titles and others are vintage and out of print. I’ll be adding a handful every week or so, so keep an eye on Used Horse Books.

Likewise, Richard is also going through his video and DVD collection.

We hope you find something you need or have been looking for.

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Hi Cherry,
I have an quarter horse mare that I just bought she is the sweetest thing in the world, she is at the stables where I keep my other horse the owner sold us the other too and perfectly healthy,my quarter I was testing her and noticed that her thighs and back legs are very swollen I know for an fact that she has not been out for one month so due of being in her stall for so long I am pretty sure that is the problem. Also when I made her trot she was limping but her hoofs are very long and broken that will be fixed this week. I will exercise her every day  and i massage her legs, someone said that it never goes away I am not sure about that. It is cold now and the barn is not heated so I do not want to put cold water on her legs can I do cold compresses and the then wipe her dry?
When she walks she does not limp only when she trots what are your suggestions on that?
I just want to know if this stays for the rest of her life or with exercise and taking her out it will go away she is not in pain
Thank you so much
Monika

Hi Monika,

There was a salty and sweet vet that I worked with once that used to look at a horse like yours and say, “All she needs is fresh air and exercise.”

A horse that has not been out of her stall for a month will “stock up” which is a horseman’s way of saying “swell in the legs”. Some horses stock up if they don’t receive daily exercise. All horses should have either free daily exercise (turnout in a large area where they can run and buck and roll) or daily exercise such as longeing or riding.

But before you even think about exercising the horse, she needs hoof care. All horses should have their hooves attended to (trimmed or shod) every 6-8 weeks. When a horse’s hooves have become so long as to begin cracking and breaking off, it is way past due for the horse to have farrier care.

When a horse limps at the trot, that means the horse IS in pain – it hurts to put its weight on that hoof or limb.

So my suggestions are to get the horse hoof care immediately, keep her on a 6-8 week hoof care program per your farrier’s recommendation and exercise her daily.

Then your sweet horse will be comfortable and will last you a lot longer.

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Cherry,
We have been using the book Maximum Hoof Power as a reference for the Canadian Pony Club for as long as I can remember. The content is clear, concise and fits our needs perfectly! We are updating our reading list this year and since it is out of print, I’d like to know if you can recommend a book to replace it?
Thank you for your help,
Christy

Hi Christy,

Thanks for your inquiry.

A little history.

Maximum Hoof Power was originally published by Macmillan Publishing in 1994 in their animal imprint division called Howell Book House. Shortly after the book was released, Macmillan Publishing was acquired by Simon and Schuster (also 1994). Then the Howell Book House imprint was acquired by John Wiley and Sons in 2001. Along the way, many of the animal titles went out of print. Trafalgar Square released a paperback edition of Maximum Hoof Power in 1999 which was available for several years until it too went OOP (Out of Print).

To get the hoof information back into the hands of horseowners, Richard and I worked with Storey Publishing to incorporate much of the content from Maximum Hoof Power into our new hoof book, Horse Hoof Care. It was released in 2009.

I hope this book works well for you in the Canadian Pony Club.

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