Spring is arriving across North American and in many areas, that means dealing with a lot of rain and  — of course — a lot of wet hooves.

Matt Calahan, a farrier from Huntsville, Ala., offered his view on dealing with wet hooves:

  • Don’t assume moisture isn’t a problem, just because it isn’t raining. “In Alabama, our wet hooves issues are due to the heavy amounts of dew on the grass that starts about 5:30 p.m. and stays until noon the next day.
  • A wet hoof is a bigger hoof. “When the foot is completely expanded (soaked) you get a nice, tight fit with the shoe and secure nails. The foot looks perfect. As soon as it dries out, and contracts all the way down to normal size, you get a little less pressure with your nails and the shoe will have a tendency to move around and come loose.”
  • Trim wet hooves with care. “Most of the horses that have waterlogged, unhealthy hooves have less foot than I would take off in a normal trim. It becomes more of a challenge to relive sole pressure than any worries about trimming … The goal becomes to skim the sol out so that you can relive sole pressure and still leave enough for the sole to grow out.
  • Shift your nail patterns between shoeings. “I’ll use, for example, the first and third hole during one cycle and then the next time, the second and fourth hole.”
  • Get help from your owners. “Explain to customers than putting the horses up at night (when it’s wet) will result in stronger feet and fewer lost shoes.”

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