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There are a few things farriers are pretty sure about regarding moisture in the foot. They come down to:
Farriers in show barns rail against horses that are bathed too often, while shoers in dry, arid areas sometimes ask owners to let water troughs overflow a bit so horses will have to stand in water or mud while drinking, giving their feet a chance to get some moisture. Some hoof coatings are touted for holding in moisture, while others keep it out.
But when scientific tests are used, the results aren’t clear-cut — and they don’t seem to support these commonly held beliefs. Two presenters at the 2013 International Hoof-Care Summit (IHCS) separately noted that the amount of moisture in a hoof doesn’t seem to vary much — no matter what environment the horse lives in.
Australian hoof researcher Brian Hampson told the Summit audience in Cincinnati, Ohio, that tests on the hooves of brumbies — the feral horses of Australia and New Zealand — found that samples taken from horses from very different environments had virtually the same moisture content: about 30%. Here's a preview of his lecture.
Australian researcher Brian Hampson found no difference in the moisture content of samples taken from the hooves of feral horses, even though…