The use of hoof fat has always been controversial in the riding community. While some swear by lubricating the hooves, others find it rather unnecessary. But what is true now? Does it make sense or not? We provide the answers – so be curious!
Hoof Fat – Yes or No?
So what about the hoof fat – should you coat your horse’s hooves with it or not? Unfortunately, there is no general answer to this, because, like us humans, every horse is different and so are its hooves. Some hooves tend to dry out, while others never become even remotely brittle.
Posture also makes a difference. Horses that are mainly kept in the box are more likely to stand in the urine, which affects the horn. Here hoof fat can provide a protective and caring solution. Horses that are mostly outside, however, absorb a lot of moisture from morning dew and the like and usually have no additional need for oil.
So check individually what the condition of the horse’s hoof is and whether the fat might be a useful addition to hoof care. If you are unsure, your veterinarian or farrier can always help you with these questions.
The Right Hoof Protection: When Hoof Fat Really Makes Sense
In general, many horse owners think that hoof fat for dry hooves is the same as a body lotion for our skin. But this is by no means the case. The product actually seals the hoof and prevents water from entering. However, this is an important source of moisture for the horny layer of horses.
This means that hoof fat should mainly be used for animals that have damp hooves. This prevents, for example, bacteria from entering the hoof from a muddy ground. It can also be used from autumn to spring, when the ground is particularly moist, to keep this additional moisture away from the hoof.
On the other hand, if your horse suffers from a too dry hoof, hoof fat can be used to lock in moisture. The hooves are first placed in water and then sealed with the fat. In any case, make sure to only use this procedure once or twice a week.
Make Hoof Fat Yourself
A hoof fat or air-permeable hoof oil is actually relatively easy to make yourself. This saves you money and still gives your horse an extra dose of care. Simply add a few fresh or dried bay leaves along with about a liter of olive oil. Then seal the container and let it sit for 40 days. After this time, you can pour off the oil and use it as a hoof care oil – completely natural and easy.
If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can also resort to simple vegetable oil. Olive oil is particularly suitable here, but coconut and argan oil are also good variants.
How Do You Use the Protection?
First of all, the most important thing: Only use hoof grease when there is a need to do so! If so, the hooves must first be cleaned thoroughly before application. Ideally, scrub them with a scrub brush and plenty of water. Then the hooves are moistened again and finally, the fat film is applied. So the moisture can now move into the hoof unhindered.
Hoof Balm – a Sensible Alternative?
In addition to hoof fat, a hoof balm or hoof lotion can be a good addition to horse care. This cream is brushed onto the hoof in a similar way to the fat and is then absorbed into the horn. It provides targeted protection against fungal and bacterial infestation, especially on damp and muddy surfaces.
Conclusion: Should You Use the Fat or Not?
Depending on the situation, both sides of the equestrian community are actually right. Hoof fat can be useful, but it can also be counterproductive. It is therefore important to check the horse’s surroundings and the condition of its hooves. Based on these factors, you can decide whether you want to use additional protection or not, individually and depending on the situation.