From the Farrier

An interview with Cody Bogard of Dixie Farrier Service

International Hoof care week is January 25th to 28th. This year we asked our favorite farrier, Cody Bogard of Dixie’s Farrier Service, a few key questions to consider for your horses hoof health!

What are the top 3-5 things that someone can do to keep their horse’s hoofs in tip top shape?

  1. Stay on schedule with a qualified farrier.
  2. Clean out feet at least daily
  3. Good nutrition is a must. Work with a qualified veterinarian or nutritionist to make sure your horse is getting everything they need. Be sure your horse is not overweight, extra weight on a horse has extreme consequences for their feet.

How often do you recommend a horse getting seen by a farrier?

Horses should be seen every 4-5 weeks. A schedule 6 weeks or longer will lead to damage to the hoof that cannot be repaired at the next appointment for most horses.

What are a few common hoof ailments, and what can you do to prevent them?

  1. Abscess: This is the number one cause of lameness in horses. An abscess is simply an infection inside the hoof capsule by anaerobic bacteria. Staying on schedule and giving the horse the protection it needs will be the best defense.
  2. Keratolytic disease: This is a common fungal/bacterial infection of the hoof wall. A proper schedule with a qualified farrier as well as topical treatments when suggested by the farrier will generally keep this under control. Severe cases require debridement of the affected tissue.
  3. Thrush: This is an infection of the frog. The best prevention is good hygiene, clean out feet at least once a day and try to limit the time a horse spends standing in manure and urine.

How do you choose between keeping your horse shod or barefoot?

Choosing if and what shoes a horse should have is a complex process, the best solution is to ask your hoof care professional what they recommend and why.

  1. Protection: The most recognized reason for a horse to have shoes. If the horse is sore while doing its job barefoot then it should have shoes. This can be due to the horse having naturally sensitive feet or may be due to an abrasive environment. This would also be a reason to put shoes on if the horse is not yet sore but its feet are being torn up by the environment.
  2. Traction: The appropriate amount of traction for a horse’s job can be a major factor in reducing the risk of injury as well as improving performance.
  3. Treatment: There are many injuries and pathologies that can be helped by the proper application of the correct shoe.
  4. Balance: There is not a horse in the world with perfect conformation, because of this every horse has to deal with imbalance in its feet and limbs. One of the main goals in hoof care is to maintain balance as best as possible. For some horses correct trimming on a good schedule is enough to keep them balanced however there are many horses whose careers and lives would be lengthened by correcting imbalances with shoes.

Do you recommend hoof supplements? If yes, what do you look for in a good supplement?

Not always, if a horse is getting the nutrition in needs in its daily ration it should generally be fine. If there are hoof problems however a supplement may help. There are very few supplements with any good research behind them, most notably Farriers Formula by Life Data Labs has the best evidence and research.

Check out Dixie's Farrier Service