Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A review: Hoof dressings

The great people at Absorbine sent me another product to review.
As many of you know I am now considered a hoof care professional. I've seen lots of hooves at school and many since I have been home. The hooves at school in Oklahoma were rock hard. Taking a hoof knife to them was nearly impossible. Now that I am back home it's been raining pretty much non stop. Hooves here are what I refer to as "swamp feet". They are mushy and full of thrush and sticky mud.

This also means they are getting wet and more wet and oh, did I mention wet? It's like having your hands in dish water all day. Their perioples are peeling up and hooves are cracking and looking shelly and brittle. Too much moisture is a bad thing.

Normally I use Fiebings hoof lotion and strait arrows hoofmaker. Both have given me favorable results. I've been through a lot of hoof stuff. I like to use it when it's extremely wet, extremely dry or after I use hoof polish for shows because it dries the feet out.

When I was sent some all new natural hooflex I had an interesting encounter. First of all it's all natural. I love the fact I am not using chemicals on my horse. Secondly it came in a spray and a normal brush and bottle style.
I loved the fact that the spray bottle was not aerosol. However we did have a couple glitches with the sprayer which led us to believe they got frozen in transit and gave me some mixed results. I was promptly sent more bottles of natural hooflex in the brush on container for me to continue testing. I've used it on every horse I have shod and trimmed so far and the results have been lovely. I'll give you the pro's and con's of hooflex natural compared to my old favorite, Fiebings.

First of all I would like to point out that picking your horses feet every day or as much as possible will yield better results with any product in really muddy conditions. The bottom of your horses feet will have time to dry out and there will be less time for stuff to pack in and create bruising or thrush.

Please excuse the dirty floor. Sometimes things like sweeping before pictures goes right over my head.
Indigo's feet. They are looking much better now that I have been keeping up on them every 2 weeks but shes still a bit ouchy on stones and gets little chips here and there that cause me to always have an old rasp on hand in my tack locker. A far cry from the VERY unbalanced feet with a lot of retained sole I came home from school to. I promptly started applying the natural hooflex every other day, especially after trims.
Everyone's horse that I did got the hooflex applied after I trimmed or shod them. Everyone had very positive results.

So here is to comparing the two favorites for liquid hoof lotion. The Fiebings had some hoof pick like thing on top of the brush. If you want to know what happened to it just ask Indigo and her big yellow teeth.

Hooflex, all natural ingredients. I especially like the fact that it has arnica in it. As you know I am a huge fan of arnica and the benefits of it's anti-inflammatory properties. I've seen it used time and time again on horse and human alike and the results never stop amazing me. I think a hoof product that has arnica in it can do wonders for a hoof that has swelling, be it laminitis, founder, broken coffin bone, abscess, bruising, navicular etc.

It's clear. Well it was. I keep using it and so I got gunk in it from dirty feet, dust and general barn whatnot.

It also smells good. I got it all over my hands in the making of these blog photo's.

Now for the Fiebings.

Well I am guessing from the colour and smell the main ingredient would be neatsfoot oil. It was also listed in the ingredients. It smells like a saddle dressing. Neatsfoot oil typically was made from the legs and hooves of some animals (mostly cows) but can be found made from lard. Because of it's low melting point it can soak into things easily (leather, feet etc). However it leaves an oily residue that can be difficult to get rid of on the surface it was applied. The same was said for my horses hair. Indigo the notorious white dirt roller she is managed to get the fiebings every stinking time on her white legs. Dust and dirt would settle and cause gross patches of dirty, oily hair that I would have to wash several times to get clean.
Not surprising since the colour is yellowy.

So I tried both.

The results looked the same. (Her feet are really not shaped like that I got some on her coronet band so it looks like her feet are really off balance but they aren't)

But the next day (which unfortunately I don't have pictures of, sorry!) the results were in. The hoof on the left was the Fiebings. It had obviously rubbed off all over her coronet band, nose and opposite leg leaving oily, dirty spots. The hoof looked like it did in the before photo's where it hadn't been applied yet and I just brushed the mud off.

The hooflex hoof on the right had a beautiful natural shine to it. No gunk on her coronet band or on her hair in general. Just a nice shiny hoof. I am definitely, definitely going to be using this product in the future. I love it, clients love it, hooves love it. It's natural so that means it can be used on horses that might absorb it into their skin and have it show up in tests like race horses or show horses. Great product. I can't wait until it is available in my area because I want to continue using it.


In other news on the blog world's favorite spotty horse:
Now that I got Indigo's feet going in the right direction I need to tackle stains so maybe, just maybe by the time the good shows start she might be sorta, kinda white. I had a horse breed show to bring her to on the weekend. I started washing her tail a few days beforehand and it's still not as white as it should be. Her hocks are also still slightly stained even after washing her three times the night before the show. Not even cowboy magic green spot remover and vinegar could tackle these winter long pee stains in one sitting.
Today I rode her down the road and picked asparagus then headed over back along a field. She is completely convinced that ducks flying out of the ditch just might be this rapture everyone's been talking about. They don't quack, they just fly up and out of the ditch every 50 feet or so along the back of this one field. End.Of.The.World.
The bugs were super bad for the first time today. Even with cheap bronco fly spray they totally ignored it and were making her swishy. I find every year on the dot Victoria day weekend the flies come out in swarms. They reared their ugly heads today and made our ride full of frequent pauses for whole body shakes, nipping at flies and itching faces on legs.
So after this ride I hosed her down and let her out to graze wile I put some stuff away only to see her furiously batting flies with her tail then circling with malicious intent. Uh oh. It was gonna happen eventually but I would rather her not grass stain herself. She rolled with a few big happy grunts in the grass, got back up and greened her other side too. Oh Indigo, if only you appreciate how hard I work to keep you looking spotty and somewhat white. Another day, another groom, another de-staining.


Pony Girl said...

Thanks for the review. It came a week late as I just bought conditioner for the season! I bought Horseshoer's Secret, by Farnam I think. I've only used it once but like it. My Boy's hooves are a royal mess. I was so embarrassed for my farrier to see him. They were so wet his soles were concaved and we fought absesses all winter. And his hooves were cracking. Now he's been moved to a drier climate, which will probably cause opposite issues!
I will definitely try the Hooflex natural next time! ;-)

Sydney_bitless said...

Pony Girl!! Long time no see you coming back to the blogosphere? Oh please say yes!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thanks for the review. I'll have to try that if it works for rock hard dry hooves, like we have here in New Mexico. My farrier always reminds me to hose or soak Apache's feet about an hour before he gets there, so he can trim her without breaking his nippers.
I am always so envious of everyone with all their moisture and rain, but if it means bugs and flies, too, I think I'll pass. We won't get any flies or gnats until July and August when, or should I say, IF it rains.


juliette said...

Thanks for the great review! We are wet here and battling white line disease. No thrush yet, but I am ready to try this new product.

lisa said...

I will defiantly have to try that. It is really muddy and wet here. I like to leave the horses out but I have been bringing them at night just so they have time to dry their feet out!

allhorsestuff said...

Ha! I'm still laughing over the
"Duckie rapture"too blame funny.

Ya know, I've had a can of that for some time now..won it from my stable mates blog. Ill have to give it a go.
That one ingredient you described, animal parts..ooou, I may have to ditch anything with that in it, that truly grossed me out.
Your Spotty pony just wants to add colorful spots, to her collection!

Jen said...

We are dry as dust here and in desperate need of moisture all around. I just finished making a comment about Rainmaker, which is also all natural, on my post *laugh*. I don't think I remember seeing arnica in the ingredients.
Although I don't show, I have used WOW on Lady in the past (she is a fleabitten gray too, and enjoys a nice roll in the poop now and then) with good results on her mane and tail. I alternated with Horse Lusterizer which seems to help keep the dirt off and keep the hair shaft from becoming dry and brittle.

Janine said...

Are you ever worried that the arnica gets contaminated after the brush gets all dirty(then arnica is not working later?). That was my only concern and there is so much product in the bottle. That by the time a 1 horse owner ever finished it? The inside would be pretty dirty from brush. What's your thoughts on arnica being contaminated????

Shirley said...

Thanks for the review, it sounds like a good product.
What about using a fly sheet on your mare- double duty keeping bugs off and preventing grass stains.

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