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Gaited Horses Hoof Care Problems

“Pads are used to achieve the weight and angle to produce the lift, reach and curl you desire. However, this can’t be done without creating a few problems. Some people will say “Problems, No! because my farrier uses pads made from leather.” or some other material like vinyl or plastic. It doesn’t matter what they are made from a pad is still a pad.

The first of these special problems is not limited to horses on pads. Thrush can be a problem for any horse. However, thrush occurs much more frequently for padded horses. Thrush is caused by anaerobic bacteria that destroys the frog. The offending bacteria is fusiforum necrophorum and it produces a black foul-smelling substance. It commonly starts in the commisaures of the frog and if left untreated can penetrate, the sensitive structures of the hoof causing abscesses to form.

Thrush usually begins from a lack of sanitation. Dirty wet uncleaned stalls are the major cause of thrush. Long untrimmed hooves is another contributing factor especially if teamed with neglect on the owner’s part, by not picking out the hooves daily. All of these are owner neglect. Some feel when a horse has pads, the bottom of the hoof is protected from everything. Wrong, the pads created the perfect air free environment for the thrush causing bacteria. The first line of defense is clean dry facility. Even if the farrier uses an anti-bacterial hoof packing under the pads, moisture collects between the sole and the pad, especially after a few weeks.”

Neal, Tony. “Gaited Horses Hoof Care Problems.” 2 pp. On-line. Internet. Available.