UGH. It's Monday and it's raining. In fact, not just any ole rain -- it's a "Tropical Storm" named "Colin".
Well, I can tell you this - my herd does not LIKE "Colin". No, they do not like him at all.
They have two large areas covered by water-proof tarps under which they can hang out to stay out of the rain. But they want to go out and EAT GRASS!
Who can blame them?
They're horses, after all!
And as we've learned - horses like to graze. They like to move. Alot. Miles and miles a day. And, little, itty bits of grass for mostly all the time. Gotta keep the guts working here. And they work best, of course, with good food being processed through the gut at all times.
But - NOT wet, drenched grass. And certainly, certainly not while it’s raining and "horrors of all horrors" ... they get (shhhhhhhhhh) w.e.t. !!
Cheyenne is my sweet, kind Mustang girl.
Cheyenne is also the FIRST ONE to gallop to get out of the rain.
At the very first drop.
Such a Mustang, eh? One who spent her first year of life out on the range in all kinds of weather. Rain, wind, snow, freezing rain, more snow, cold rain, hot rain in summer ... you name it; Nevada's got it all going on weather-wise.
But Cheyenne doesn't care for any of it. SHE prefers sunshine, if you please!
And I have to say that HOOVES generally don't like to be wet all the time. Uh- uh ... they like intermittent periods of wetness. Heck, they don't even mind full submersion now and then. It's the 'now and then' that is the key point here ...
Two full days of tropical rains are NOT what one considers 'now and then'. Nope. No way.
Deluged with the humongous drops of water falling from the heavens at warp speed with wind whipping them in a sideways path is just not cool.
For man or beast or ... for hooves.
But do I worry about their hooves? Nope. The herd has hooves of steel. So this softening effect that will be present in the face of standing on wet ground for two days may just be what the hooves need! You read that Cheyenne’s hooves are just what the “Mustang Maker” ordered … and the other guys are sportin’ pretty healthy hooves, too. So, no worries here.
You see, their hooves are dry normally. Very dry. Due to hot tropical sunlight and high heat, the hooves dry out and get h.a.r.d. And hard hooves are GOOD hooves to have on your horses! Remember, too, that hoof diseases like Thrush and White Line Disease and Yeast thrive in anaerobic and DAMP areas in which to hide.
We all know that healthy hooves don't harbor any of these nasty bugs because they are dry and hard and SOLID with no hiding places among crevices or cracks or separations of the white line. Healthy hooves are created to withstand outdoor weather! Afterall - horses ARE outdoor animals and every part of them is geared toward outdoor living.
But, the hooves have to be in good form and function ... from heel to toe and everything in between. The periople that covers the hoof wall is a strong barrier to environmental influences. All this 'stuff' that we humans do to 'improve' the hooves with lotions and oils and potions and polishers -- heck, they might make the hooves look cute to us! But, they don't help hoof integrity at all. Nope – in fact, they may just be detrimental depending on the situation.
The BEST outer application for hooves is ... NO application of anything at all!
And, the best way to keep the hooves from any nasty bugs and diseases is from the inside out along with excellent hoofcare -- Good form and function. Keep the hooves in good trim and make sure they get plenty of stimulation to keep the blood circulating oxygen and nutrients to grown health, new horn! If the hooves are tender? Hey, that’s what SCOOTBOOTS are for! Get some boots on them-thar hooves and help your horse to move!
Hey, betcha at least one of you reading this has put some pretty pink nail polish on their mare’s hooves … but ya aren’t gonna admit it now, are ya? It’s OK .. once in a while is OK. But for every day? Keep the hooves as natural as you can. Let your horse be a horse. Put your horses’ hooves first … and they’ll take care of your horse pretty well so your horse can take care of … you!
Oh, and hey -- if y'all want to learn more about how to keep your horses' hooves healthy? Just shoot me an email. I've got a
Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate is the best-selling author of 10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves as well as a noted author for various international equine publications includingThe Horses Hoof, Equine Wellness, Natural Horse Planet as well as a contributing author for the 2001 United States Federal Mounted Border Patrol Training Manual. For the last 37+ years, she has maintained healthy hooves with natural trimming on thousands of horses and specialized in pathological rehabilitation hoofcare for the last 18 years. She and her husband John keep a small herd of their own equine in SW Florida and continue to offer consults for horses in need. For further information please click here: www.thepenzancehorse.com/2012/RESUME.pdf