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If hoof coating is just something you routinely smear on a foot so you can declare another shoeing job finished, maybe you should take a harder look at that little can or bottle in your shoeing box.
When purchasing hoof coatings, “Buyer beware. Make sure you know what you’re putting on the hoof,” cautions Bob Bachen, a farrier and proprietor of Wagon Mound Ranch Supply in Solano, N.M.
Hoof coatings fall into the broad categories of cosmetic hoof polishes, hardeners and sealants meant to provide protection from or retention of moisture. But farriers need more information when choosing the best product for the hoof in hand.
For starters, don’t be confused by the language used to describe the various types of products.
Both hardeners and sealants are designed to seal the moisture in the hoof and toughen up the hoof wall, according to Don Hobson, a retired farrier and CEO of Hawthorne Products in Dunkirk, Ind., which offers a line of hoof-care products.
“These products act much like a strong nail polish does on human nails,” he says. “They are applied to the outside hoof wall and should have to be applied only once between shoeings.
“Generally speaking, after this type of hardener or sealant is applied, additional applications are not necessary, nor are they harmful,” he adds.
Hobson notes that these sealants should not be confused with another group of products that are applied to the sole of the hoof, and sometimes the frog, to toughen the…