Years ago, horsemen used grease or wool fat to try to keep feet from getting too dry and as a moisture-repelling barrier to keep them from getting soft.
In recent years, hoof hardeners and sealants have become popular, utilizing modern technology and materials. The hoof-care market has seen an influx of products applied topically as dressings, coatings, sealants and hardeners. Some claim to promote faster hoof growth. Some are meant to keep the hoof from becoming too dry and brittle, while others are used to achieve the opposite effect. Some attempt to do both by keeping the natural moisture in and excess moisture out. Regardless of what you need, the offerings for hoof coatings are plentiful.
A hoof sealer can help feet that have tiny surface cracks caused by continual moisture changes, similar to what happens with chapped, cracked hands. Hoof sealers keep external moisture from damaging the hoof, keep internal moisture from evaporating and counter the environmental effects on hooves, such as alternating dryness and dampness.
A good hoof sealant can protect the hoof, but you may have to try several products to find one that works best for a particular horse’s feet and conditions. Follow label directions for proper application and frequency of use, since various products contain different ingredients that affect the tissues in different ways and some stay on the hoof longer than others. Some can be toxic to horses or humans if used improperly.
Sealants should only be used on the hoof wall…