Monday, June 22, 2020

Keratex hoof hardener: results?

Charlie's most recent shoeing appointment was May 19, after which I took pictures of each hoof for documentation and reference. You might remember from that post that each year I end up completely caught off guard by how quickly his feet fall apart with the fresh grass.

His hoof walls practically start crumbling all around the clips and nail holes on his shoes, and if I'm not careful, Charlie will literally walk right out of his shoes.

pictured: big ol' brontosaurus on kinda not-that-big feet. plus, obvi, the dweebiest forelock in all the land
I've asked just about every professional on Charlie's team, including farrier and vet, what else I could be doing to promote a stronger and healthier hoof. The consensus was... I'm basically already doing the right things (nutrition + topical applications), but probably need to do more of them.

Specifically: Charlie's farrier suggested I apply keratex hoof hardener as near to daily as possible, whereas previously I'd tried to do it 2-3x a week. His reasoning was that apparently there are polymers in the formula that build up and bond together on the surface of the hoof wall -- helping to create more durable elasticity. The more often you apply the keratex, the stronger this bond.

closer look at dem feet
I'm no chemist so I won't pretend to understand, or promise that I'm relating the details accurately. But ya know. I pay the farrier for his expert opinion, and this was his proposed solution to our problem. So I followed his advice for the entire cycle.

Charlie's on the schedule for a reset tomorrow --- and will go into leather pads up front too. So I figured now would be a good time to take updated pictures to see how the hooves held up after roughly 4.5 weeks of near-daily keratex applications.

Focusing today on the fronts since they're the biggest problem children.

right front - outside. this hoof occupies most of my attention...
And I gotta say, these pictures are really hard to take haha. It's near impossible to get the same dimensional level of detail as what you'd see with the naked eye.

For instance, the above section of hoof is kinda the worst of them all. The whole shoe seems a little shifted, tho it's still on nice and tight. And so much wall has chipped off from underneath the nail clinches that they're sticking out a bit.

But.... For as raggedy and ugly as it looks, it's really not all that much different from 4.5 weeks ago (aside from the shifted shoe).

right front inside - some cracking happening
Ditto the inside of the same hoof. Actually, this view doesn't look particularly terrible at all -- tho you can see how trouble might be starting to brew.

left front inside - more or less the same as 4 weeks ago
I always get the most nervous about the inside walls, since protruding nail clinchers are basically lacerations waiting to happen. So far, so good, tho with the left front inside.

left front outside - big chipped out section that's been fairly stable
And actually, even tho this chipping is pretty massively hideous, it's managed to stay fairly superficial over the last few weeks, despite very dry hard ground. You might remember, the hoof already mostly looked like this at the last shoeing appt.

I'm particularly pleased the section below the old nail holes at the front of the hoof still hasn't chipped off -- since it's generally the older nail holes that are prone to weakness and chipping.

not too bad from a distance!
So, all in all? My verdict is that the daily keratex isn't necessarily a silver bullet, but does appear to have helped improve the hoof wall's stability. It definitely slowed down the rate of cracking and chipping and wall loss, vs a less frequent application schedule.

Which... matters, bc once those cracks and chips start appearing, it's really really hard to stop them. Very dry and granular conditions, like hard sandy arena footing, still created more chipping and wall loss, for instance. But it still feels like we're finishing the cycle with more hoof than I initially dared hope for.

lots of t-cells blowing through lately -- hopefully will mean softer ground!
The hope is that most of those rough areas will get trimmed or rasped off tomorrow, so that we'll start the next cycle in a better position than last time. Hopefully haha. And in the meantime I'm just gonna keep the keratex train chugging along lol.

We've started getting summer thunderstorms around the city too, which could help keep the ground a little softer. The storms are hit or miss, tho, since they're just small hot cells. A couple have hit the farm tho, so we'll see.

poor charlie and all his little dings
Lord knows Charlie needs all the help he can get! This horse, I swear. Every day it's something new with him. You all remember that nasty bite on his girth groove from a couple weeks ago (jusssst barely visible in the pic above), but check out his other latest adornments!

yep, looks like teeth marks to me!
I thought I was so clever with that girth bite mark about just going ahead and riding the horse bareback, and joked that Charlie sullenly grumbled about getting his friend to aim for the back next time.

Well.... Turns out, joke's on me, I guess. Bc yea, the horse totally came in the very next day with a giant swollen lumpy back haha. Guess that's what I get for tempting fate??? Luckily it was just superficial and healed quickly.

this tick had a white dot on its body, which the google tells me means it was a lone star tick. this variety does not transmit lyme, but can carry anaplosmosis. which... apparently has a nearly 14 day incubation period, wtf
Charlie really does love to blow up at the drop of a hat -- such a delicate hot house flower!

Like, check out this tiny little tick that appeared to have just recently latched on to his shoulder, of all places. Not exactly the most inconspicuous location lol, esp with Charlie's enormous reaction.

Sigh. First tick of the season is always kinda a bummer.

new salt block has been getting attention!
And ya know. It really is getting to be summer around here. It's hot, humid and buggy, bleh. But ya know, also pretty nice haha. I guess being cooped up for so long this spring during #quarantine makes ya appreciate the little things -- like the first sunburn of the year.

Charlie's doing just fine too, even with the hard ground. He's got his stall fan up and running, and has taken a liking to his new salt block!! Plus I'll probably start him back on e-lytes soon too.

Originally my plan was to sorta cruise through the summer and look toward getting back into action for a fall season. But.... Lately experts are talking about a "second wave" starting on the {oddly specific} 15th of September so..... Ya know. Who really fucking knows, right?

So now my idea is to just keep Charlie feeling good and happy, get his feet stabilized in good order, then LEAP at every fun opportunity that presents itself to us during these coming weeks. Literally and figuratively, LOL. Bc... idk, any long-term planning just seems way too unreliable right now, ya know? Anyone else feeling the same?


  1. I am at the stage of not planning anything because it likely won't happen. I am also thinking that even if it does resume I might not be wanting to do it.

    1. yea.... :( around here, horse shows have already started back up again. but idk if it'll last, tbh. basically i'm just trying to follow my gut at this point, and focus on the FUN stuff. we'll see what happens i guess!

  2. Glad the feet are doing better this year! Eros is also having a better summer with his feet, but in his case I think it's partially because he's not really working. But I'll take it!

    1. that's definitely great for Eros! it's possible that charlie's feet are holding up since i sorta babied them this cycle too... tho on the other hand, he spends way more time stomping flies than getting ridden so who really knows LOL

  3. I'm with ya on the entire "who the fuck knows?" when it comes to planning ANYTHING for this year. And am doing much the same- trying to just enjoy my time at the barn and if we get to compete, GREAT. If not, oh well, I still get to ride and enjoy time with my pony...

    1. YES that’s exactly it. I literally have no idea what to expect haha and admit to being.... maybe not particularly optimistic. But there are things going on right now that look fun, so I’m gonna enjoy it while I can!

  4. Ok first off Ticks are absolutely fucking disgusting and I hate them. Also gotta get my "Sir Charles, King-eth of the Ding-eth" out of the way.

    I am so very curious what your farrier says regarding Charlie's feet this cycle with your liberal application of keratex and also the comparision shots through the rest of this year. I really hope that it works to not only provide you with new good data points, but also to just keep the foundation of Sir Charles in one piece moving forward.

    And girl go for whatever you can (horse shows) just in case they take things away again!

    1. King-eth of the Ding-eth omfg hahaha.... and yea I’m curious about how the hooves hold up too. I have a lot of older pics from summers past of them looking like absolute trash, but nothing that really comes close to a “progression” or “sequence.” So I’ll try to take more pics this year. Esp bc YES I wanna go do the things while there are things to do —- the last thing I want is to be held up by janky sore feet!!

  5. Lone Star Ticks are my worst nightmare! Lone Star Tick bites are suspected to be the cause of Alpha-gal Allergy in humans which means you can never eat beef, rabbit, pork, venison or lamb ever again, which like, I know isn't a death sentence but gosh I don't want to live life without ribeyes.

    1. ugh that's awful! i saw stuff about meat when i was googling, but didn't click any of those links since i was mostly looking for horse-specific info... but yea, ugh, ticks are basically the worst...

  6. my long term plan consists of going to the barn the day after tomorrow and even that I think might be too forward thinking :P

    it's such a PITA to have to apply that topical stuff daily but I think it does make a difference vs 2-3 times a week. Spicy has this asshole crack from when the ground got real hard for like, a week, and it REFUSES to leave *shakes fist*

    1. lol that degree of advance planning sounds about right to me rn, honestly.... i have basically zero confidence that september will even exist in 2020....

  7. I hope the keratex will keep Charlie's hooves happy this summer. Eeyore's feet are a disaster generally but this summer he is doing amazing. They almost look normal...HA. My experiment is not very valid because the time I started using the new topical he went on stall is it the topical or the rest I don't know. Once he is out of the stall 24/7 again we will find out.


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