Growing A Hard Hoof

Not happening overnight.

The record-setting wet winter and spring hasn’t exactly helped for “new bare hooves”.  Moisture in the grass pastures – soft soles, crumbly walls and frogs where small chunks go missing.

But it is happening.  Without boots.  She’s at 3 1/2 months barefoot on the fronts,  close to 6 on the hinds, in full work, but without GGT footing it wouldn’t have been this easy.  Great hooves to start really help!

path for tender hooves
Very short cool down loop below the arena – perfect soft.

The grounds dry out to rock hard here, for months on end.  If her hooves don’t change quickly enough, there is always the possibility of shoeing the fronts by mid July.  Then try again when grounds are softer at the end of October.

To do some extra hoof strengthening (and of muscles and tendons too!) she had many weeks with walking about a quarter-mile on asphalt a few days/week as a cooldown.  But it seemed to create more crumbling at the edge of the hoof wall, so I’ve cut down on that now.

Sticking to the short pond loop.

going bare foot

strengthening bare hooves


Someone asked how to get to the older post for more on this farm without weeding through everything.  There’s no “category” for it, but try searching “Somerset” and PRE in the search field at the top and several will show up.

Thank you for being interested!

New look, with bigger than ever images, on the main home page too – hope you like it!

11 thoughts on “Growing A Hard Hoof

  1. Very interested in how you’re going about this. We try to keep our horses at the rescue unshod, but not always possible due to old injuries, previous foot issues, and of course the sloppy wet pastures that developed over this wet winter.

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    1. It’s always about the just the right set up. And of course, that’s not always the case for the rescues. All things considered, I think movement is the number one, even AFTER having a great hoof to start out with. Often, even in paddocks, the horses simply don’t move enough to create enough stimulation to grow out new healthy hoof stuff. Then again of course, as rescues, it can be hard to incorporate gentle work, I know, since they’re often thin, and have other conditions.

      I’ll see how things develop as summer comes on – love it that you’re interested Jan! I’ll probably have a post later on how I did the transition then 🙂

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  2. Almost of the horses at my barn are barefoot….in fact, the two horses I ride most often, Owen and 7-up, are both in their middle 20’s and have the hardest feet ever!!! I’m so happy that they are in such good health. 🙂 I loved these pictures….look at all the green grass and green-ness outside!!! Oh, and I LOVE your new blog look!!! It is terrific!!! ❤

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    1. Glad you like the new design!

      And yes, it IS wonderful with all the grass out there now. We’ve been so lucky with so much rain, and a very mild and cold spring, so things are lush. One year in May we had 20 days with 100F. Not sure that’ll happen this year! But, well, the grass WILL burn off. Soon!

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  3. Biasini is barefoot behind and always has been . He does have very thin soles however. My answer to that is Keratex twice a week. I love the pictures of you and the grey mare out on the trails.

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    1. I have tried several others but never went to that one. Do you feel it is very drying at all? The weather here during long long summer months is incredibly dry. Desert dry. Picture running 2 hairdryers in your bedroom for 1 hour and breathing in there…😣

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  4. Thanks for posting this! May is currently transitioning to being barefoot (again), so we are working on trying to get everything hardened up. The footing, which is usually excellent at my barn, has been hard due to very heavy thunderstorms and high winds. However, we did manage to spend some time in the grass of our cross country fields. It has definitely been a lot of walking!

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    1. OK great, I’m glad you liked it!
      Of course, same day this post went up, I come out to the barn and she’s absolutely FLAKING on both front toes at the lowest part of the wall. Less than 2 weeks post trim… Until her next farrier appointment, I’ll by managing it a tiny bit with a rasp. (My first time.) The rest of the hoof is just fine, and I’m not ready to call it quits yet. She’s going excellent in the arena, the frogs look better than ever, heels are solid, sole is slowly firming up, and she’s developing more “real looking” bars. I’m holding on for a while more!! 🙂
      Grass is good and soft, but just want to point out that ALL this flaking she did on her own in pasture. They canter around out there like banshees sometimes, and it’s not helping the new bare hooves. (Just good stuff to know for you and May.)
      Good luck with it and let me know how it goes!!!!

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