I’m always surprised by how much of an effect the weather has on horses’ hooves.
At the moment they have become extremely hard because of the dry weather and so it takes a great deal more effort to trim them. In prolonged periods of wet, they become significantly softer. The horse’s internal systems will regulate the moisture content to some extent, but the conditions and weather they are kept in has the most effect.
For example, those horses that have not had their hooves picked out often during this warm period will have trapped warm muck, usually in the frog clefts, which is providing the perfect breeding ground for thrush.
For the second time in my apprenticeship I have come cross a nest of maggots wriggling like fury in the central frog cleft. The thrush, combined with the appetite of the maggots, had resulted in most of the frog horn being eaten away, exposing the corium (the germinative layer for producing the frog).
The maggots were soon dispatched, all infected horn cut away and an anti-bacterial solution applied. A 2min job, but if left untreated, further infection is likely and the hoof can become compromised, which is much harder to rectify.
Stable management varies tremendously from yard to yard and as farriers we see both ends of the spectrum and all in between. As my mother always said, you can judge the quality of a restaurant by its toilets and on that basis, I tend to turn down the offer of refreshments from those yards that have a poor track record in stable management!
Filthy stable, filthy kitchen? For all I know there could be something growing in the cake I’m offered, so I’ll wait until we arrive at the next yard for my cuppa and a slice!
Until next week