Depending on where you live, you’re more likely to bathe and hose off your horse in summer and early fall. It is possible to keep your horse cool without damaging the hooves through this wet-dry cycle. Horse’s hooves, as well as human skin, have a layer of dermal tissue that contain compounds called phospholipids. These compounds have a segment that repels water and a segment that attracts water. Phospholipids also allow the penetration of oxygen. Therefore, the use of a product that contains phospholipids to allow the hoof to repel water in wet conditions and conserve water in dry conditions is recommended. Most importantly, do not use products on your horse’s hooves you would not use on your own hands. That includes products that prevent oxygen from passing through the hoof wall. When oxygen is ‘sealed out’ from a non-sterile area it creates a perfect environment for hoof destroying anaerobic micro-organisms. Avoid caustic materials such as formalin (formaldehyde), iodine crystals, copper sulfate and solvents such as acetone and turpentine. You should also avoid greasy products that block oxygen.
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