Performance Horse Hacks - Fix thin soles for your horse pt.2
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
This 4 part series is created for those in equine performance that are looking for an edge on the competition. Each article will be grounded in ONE skill, tweak or technique that will help your arena results. Make sure to subscribe to IntegratedEquine.net and download your free ebook before you begin! Sometimes the little things are actually the things that make a BIG difference. Paying attention to hooves, health, and horsemanship will be what buys you skills to change
Part 2 "Rodeo Ground - From the Ground Up"
Last week in Part One, we talked about Performance Horse Hack #1 “Give your horse the best foot possible so he can be sound on any ground.” But what if your horse is sore right now?
Give your horse an opportunity to be comfortable no matter where their at on the soundness scale. Thrush, tender-footed in shoes, sweet spring grass, previous injury, stone bruise from rough ground, ect.? We’ve all been hoof-in-mouth when it comes to being met with problems like these unprepared.
When your horse is suffering from these things, then other elements start to fall apart; the worst being that the horse can’t get around. Horses that are left stiff and stagnant don’t want to move, which can interrupt digestive flow, limb and body circulation, and even make a horse nervous! Typically our farrier can help up with tender feet but then, our horse can’t even feel the ground through thick pads and shoes. It’s a catch-22!
In the past In the past I’ve talked about simply putting an easy boot to the affected hoof, and then calling your hoof care practitioner to work out the rest. But lately, I’ve been experimenting with a company/product that has give my thin soled equine a bit of relief. He’s enjoyed the results to much he made me to a video tutorial to show you guys what you are missing (which is comfort).
If your horse has sore feet (barefoot OR shod) keep reading!
This product acts like a prosthetic sole adding immediate comfort till the hoof can produce more sole on it’s own.
This isn’t adding thicker padding, stiff wedges, or shifty foam in boots. This isan added layer of ‘life like’ thrush-fighting tissue-protecting cushion that will encourage your horse to move as if he HAD a healthy foot, while he is enabled to grow out a healthy foot.
Vettec EquiPakhas a lot of 'sole-saving' options, I used Equipak CS in this example, because it's infused with copper sulfate - a thrush fighting agent. With proper application it should last underneath the foot for several weeks!
I’ve listed the steps it takes to get your horse more comfortable with in the hour (drug free); and if applied correctly it should last you the length of a trim/shoeing cycle!
But first…Who this is probably not for:
A bandaid. Don’t use this product as a bandaid if your horse is cut, bleeding or abcessing.A lameness cover up. Don’t cover up lameness with the knowledge that something else is severely wrong with in the hoof capsule or your horses diet or exercise program and NOT investigate things further. Don’t use this in place of professional care or opinion.A 'Negligent Nelly'. Always check feet daily, and multiple times a day during riding season.
Here’s an idea of everything you’ll need to give your horse comfort with in the hour - only a few obscure objects needed; promise!
Products needed, (click to pictures of products below to order):
Step 3 needs to dry 100% before Equipak
Performance Horse Hack #2
1.The first thing I did was lay out all my needed and necessary tools in the horse I’d need them. Including my horse all set up with his feed bag, enabled to stand still and polite.
2. Get that hoof clean. Clean with hoof pick, and wire brush at the very least. If your horse is a candidate for a hoof soak - do that first (allow ample time to dry) then do as the video suggests.
3. Get that hoof dry. This mean standing on that mat, and if needed add a hair dryer or torch. Use a handler if your nervous - but making sure the hoof is nice and dry will ensure a nice application of the product.
4. Play with your dispensing gun before it’s ‘go’ time. Make sure you know what lever does what. Load the EquiPak with tension engaged but not tight.
5. With gloves on and everything in arms reach, cut the nub off nozzle and screw on applicator tip.
6. Purge enough material till some comes out of tip and the chemicals mix.
7. Dispense your EquiPak to a still and level hoof (handler, or hoof jack) and try to apply evenly. It starts to set up with in a minute or two.
8. With the cap the EquiPak came with, take off applicator tip, and screw cap back on - this will keep oxygen from getting into the tube causing product to set before you get to the 2nd hoof.
9. Apply your wax paper to the bottom of the hoof once half* the EquiPak is applied, you can push it around and manipulate it a bit if you need to fill in the frog or create concavity.
10. Set the Equipak hoof down on your foam pad, and pick up the opposite hoof to allow weight and pressure to distribute evenly under hoof. This should only take about a minute.
11. You might see a little ‘jelly’ come out from under the hoof - that’s okay, test to see if it’s a rubbery consistency, and peel off the wax paper.
12. From here you would add your hoof boot, Equicast material or leave it with your shoe on.
13. Evaluate your horse’s expression and stance, this will allow you to make future adjustments.
Cliff notes for the learning curve:
Temperature control.Let’s say you live in an extreme climate (hot or cold) pay attention to what Vettec says about how to handle the material. Next application I do of the Equipak CS I will refrigerate or store the product inside - when it’s a 105 degrees outside the material turns into fluid with fury behind it. IE it will come out FAST.
Forego the soak. In my opinion you should do your very best to apply EquiPak on a clean - thrush free hoof. To kill thrush consider soaking - I do a similar protocol as Pete Ramey suggests for treating thrush. However, you do notwant one hint of moisture in the sole before trying to get any material like Equipak to adhere to the hoof. So I say - yes soak, but leave a long time in-between for the hoof to dry and stay clean. Otherwise, forego the soak and dry everything out the best you can. It will only help everything last longer!
Appeal to the finances and peel label.In addition to being tall and awkward - I’m also cheap and have OCD. So ideally I’d use half the tube on the right hoof, and half the tube on the left hoof. Peeling the label back before loading the gun might be easier to track the amount I’m using. However, your horse may need more or less on each foot - so don’t go by sight alone. Adjust as needed.
Prove it and proof it.Photonic Health (or any wellness) assessment before/after. I wish I would have documented a wellness assessment before and after I applied the EquiPak CS and Easy boots. He was releasing (endorphins/lick/chew) for the next few days after I applied his saving grace comfort pack. An assessment would have allowed me to show y’all proof of how relieving the feet can relieve tension and muscle stress in the body, as well as allow me to be more specific with his performance therapy thereafter.
Get you a helper or feed bag.Get yourself a hoof holder, horse handler, or feed bag. Keep that pony occupied, because when $30 cures solid in about 120 seconds, you need COOPERATION. I was able to handle Lucky myself (distractions of a toddler included) but I don’t recommend it.
Transparency.I have NOT made a competitive run, nor have I had a heavy work out in these ‘sole-savers’. Therefore I do not make any claims or assumptions in how a horse would operate or perform in an athletic setting. I don’t necessarily have doubts it would enable a horse to run great - but I’m just saying I haven’t tried it yet. Dirt doesn’t stick to the material, and it is not slick so I think it would be fine to make a run in.
Can youwin the round on rodeo ground? Cultivating the best hoof possible so he can be sound on any groundin conjunction with giving your horse an opportunity to be comfortable no matter where their at on the soundness scaleare our first two hacks. Sometimes the little things are actually the things that make a BIG difference. Paying attention to hooves, health, and horsemanship will be what buys you skills to change.
Send me a picture or video of how YOU are going to apply this hack:"Give your horse an opportunity to be comfortable no matter where their at on the soundness scale." to your individual horse or situation. How will you add comfort/protection to your environment or routine to help your horse develop a healthier foot for where you want to ride him?
For additional help and another voice on how to apply Vettec Equipak please check out these two links!
Supplements for a healthy foot. (code INTEGRATEDEQUINE)
Join me next week with Performance Horse Hacks #3 “From the ground up”