Dry Feet

Q:I have a horse that I keep in a barn at night and outside in a pasture during the day. Starting around mid-April his front feet start to get very dry, cracked, and brittle--it is hard to keep any shoes on him. This never happened to him when he was kept in a barn at all times. My farrier thinks the dry feet are caused by the weather going from wet to dry and the feet having a hard time adjusting. I have another friend who thinks it is due to my horse being out in the pasture during the day and eating the fresh, green grass. The feet seem to go back to normal around mid-July. We live in the Sacramento, Calif., area. Any thoughts?

via e-mail

A: I have also noticed that horses kept on shavings in stalls tend to have dry feet. I believe that shavings have the ability to drive the moisture or water content out of the horse's hoof. I don't think that the horse could be having dry feet due to grazing on green grass; actually, I would think this should be helping his overall condition, including his feet.

About the Author

Raul Bras, DVM, CJF

Raul Bras, DVM, CJF, is a podiatrist and shareholder at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, where he sees a variety of foot and lameness-related cases. He graduated from Cornell University's farrier school in 2007 and became a certified farrier in 2009 and a certified journeyman farrier in 2010.

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