Carole Herder, from Cavallo Horse and Rider, explains how looking at nature can help you manage your fave pony’s hooves this spring
Keeping your pony’s hooves in tip-top condition is super-important all year-round and making a good start this spring will set you up for a successful 2021. There are all sorts of things that can affect your pony’s overall health, as well as that of his feet. Here are a few…
- Stress, for example caused by routine changes or lack of equine companionship
- not enough access to free movement or too little exercise
- an overworked immune system
- an unbalanced diet or one that lacks essential nutrients
While there’s loads of great advice out there to help you, taking a step back and looking at your pony’s overall management and how it relates to the life of a wild pony is an awesome way to learn more about keeping his hooves healthy.
DID YOU KNOW?
Evidence suggests that our ponies have less diverse gut bacteria to help them combat disease than wild ponies because they aren’t exposed to as many micro-organisms that help build immunity.
Understanding how your pony evolved in the wild and how he’d live naturally is a great way to help you learn to manage him effectively. A wild horse would walk up to 10 miles per day on all sorts of terrain, which naturally trims his hooves and controls his weight. Lots of movement is important for your pony’s physical and mental health, so consider allowing him extra turnout or, if this isn’t possible, in-hand grazing or short hacks alongside his usual work.
Take another look
Have you ever had the tip of your fingernail pull away from your finger? The tissue between your finger and nail stretches until it separates. It’s painful and can even become infected. However, if your nail is filed regularly to be symmetrical and close to your fingertip, with a strong integral and nutritional composition, it will stay super-strong even under pressure. Balanced, properly trimmed and well-nourished feet are mega-important. If your pony’s barefoot, speak to your farrier about whether Cavallo Boots could help him – not only to support and protect his feet, but to help keep him comfy during work, too.
Don’t be shy to ask your farrier questions about your pony’s hooves. They’ll be happy to explain what they’re doing and to help you take good care of him.
Top tips to stay on top
Here are a few extra ways to help you manage your pony’s hooves this spring…
- offer vitamins and minerals in a balancer or supplement to promote good health and support hoof growth
- always allow access to fresh water to help keep your pony’s hooves hydrated and avoid cracking
- provide access to salt in your pony’s stable and field to help him get plenty of sodium, which is an important electrolyte – talk to your vet if you’re not sure how much he should be getting
- be aware of any changes in your pony’s behaviour, appearance or way of going to help you spot problems before they become serious
- keep your pony active with turnout and ridden and in-hand work, ensuring you always follow any recommendations from your vet
For more information about Cavallo pads and hoof boots, visit cavallo-inc.com