Top tips for dealing with thrushy hooves

Thanks to the near constant drizzle rain that we have had for the last week the ground in the paddocks has suddenly transformed into muddy sludge, and since Vallu's new favourite party trick is to stand and hang around his gate his hooves are in a state of near permanent dampness in which the bacteria/fungus that causes thrush thrives in. Hello autumn, hello thrush...

In my attempt to help Vallu's frogs as much possible and to try to stop them getting any worse I've ended up trying several different products, and spending a ridiculous amount of time online trying to find recommendations and suggestions of what to do and what to use. I was not surprised to find a gazillion products to choose from, but I was a little bit mystified as to why there were only a few blog posts with recommendations... So here are the products that I can recommend to anyone looking for something to use to treat thrushy feet.

As you might know, equine thrush is caused by an anaerobic bacteria that is trapped in the moist, deep crevices of the hoof that eats away at the horse's tissue, particularly the frog and sulcus area. Obviously, the first thing to do is to make sure that the horse's bed is as clean and dry as possible. Vallu gets a load of a clean straw everyday in his bed where he normally stands so that it is as clean as can be. Clean the hoof before using any products! Whether you want to use hibiscrub and give it a good scrub or use your hose pipe and put the sprayer on jet to get all of the gunk deep in the cracks in the frog. I'm a big believer in cleaning the frog/hoof with a small hard brush and a load of Hibiscrub. Then let the hoof dry!! This was my biggest mistake, not letting them dry properly before using any products.
The first product that I bought was Nettex's Frog Health because it was recommended by a lady at our yard. Frog Health has "powerful bactericides and fungicides that help dry and reduce discharge from the frog." It's super easy to use and does not make a mess. The liquid spray makes me feel like it goes right into the crevices and cracks so that it works both from the outside and the inside. This bottle (250ml) has lasted for just over two weeks of being sprayed on before and after turn out so for just under ten pounds, not bad at all.
Hibiscrub, the little brush and Villate for thrush
The latest product that has been added to my lotions and potions group is Veredus' Villate.
"Villate is the liquid that prevents from frog putrefaction. Thanks to the cleansing components ideal for impregnating the frog. Regular use improves the quality of the hoof horn and provides optimal hygienic conditions." This stuff smells a bit like bleaching products, which got me worried that it would be too strong to use and could damage the healthy parts of the frog, but I was assured that it wouldn't by a friend who uses it. After cleaning the hoof and frog and letting it dry, you then pour this product over the frog making sure that it goes into all of the cracks and crevices. Again, the liquid consistency means that it should be working on the thrush from both the outside and inside. Let it dry in a clean place (wash box for me) before putting the horse back in the stable.

Within the last few days there has been a definite improvement in Vallu's frogs. I think this will be something that I will have to be doing for all of winter, but as long as I have products that I know that work, I'm more than happy to do daily scrubbing and cleaning.


Autumn pony

It escaped and ran away to the nearest tree to eat...
Not much has changed with Vallu, we are still slowly doing more work and taking it one day at a time. I refuse to get my hopes up, as the last time we had a proper break through the next day Vallu managed to hurt himself again in the field... Talk about an emotional rollercoaster. But hopefully I won't jinx myself by saying that we have certainly had a good week. We've settled into a routine of walking up and down the drive to warm up, then fifteen minutes of lateral movements in walk (leg yields, shoulder in, half passes) followed by five to fifteen minutes - depending on the day and how he feels - of trot and canter. Cantering is still very exciting for Vallu, so we only do that when he feels calm and relaxed as I don't want it to cause him any damage. Paranoid much? :D My new thought process with anything to do with Vallu goes something along the lines of "if we do X, will that hurt his shoulder?"

Vallu has also now been on a diet for the last few weeks and several people have said that he's possibly lost a little bit of weight! Success! There's nothing harder than trying to diet a horse that loves sweets, feed and his hay... Having had 3 months of very little work and lots of turn out in the field means that Vallu was looking a little bit podgy ;) Aim is to have him looking fit and healthy by Christmas, as I don't think we can get him streamlined any quicker! #nomorefatpony 

Call me biased but I think he's beautiful


Hacking out achievement - level up!

Although we may not be achieving much training or riding wise at the moment, the one thing that has significantly improved is our hacking. And today we did something that I would have even 6 months considered impossible, we went for a hack that lasted well over two hours and it was fun! The countryside and views around our yard is just absolutely stunning, and with the weather being as good as it was this weekend, we took advantage of it and decided to do the hack that we'd been planning for the entirety of summer. What a super hacking horse Vallu has turned out to be, he's reliable 90% of the time, and only spooks at actually quite scary situations. I didn't think that Vallu would ever get to this stage, and it's something I'm very proud of! #whatagoodboy


"Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already."

Competition success at our yard continues as S managed to win the Area Festival at preliminary level at Vale View yesterday! I'm so proud to be supporting this team, what a great win which has proven that hard work, determination and team spirit gets you the results. It was also a lovely day for me as I managed to meet up with lots of old friends and was able to meet some new friends too.

"True equestrians motivate, encourage, congratulate and yes, we 'leg up' one another"


Playing groom

Although I would have loved to be the one that was competing, being a groom and moral support is really good fun and I love supporting others. K did her Advanced debut, and also did an Advanced Medium as a warm up class (which they won!) What a super day out, points to Beaver Hall Equestrian Centre for being such a lovely place to compete at.


What a beautiful start to September!

As the start of my final year at university creeps up, I'm trying to enjoy my last few weeks before having to settle down for a year of really hard work. Vallu has been thoroughly enjoying his last few months of holidaying - and I hope that in the long term this has been good for him - and we're now starting to long trek back to full work. I can't wait to get back to training with him, recently during the last few rides when he's really excited (e.g. when we initially pick up canter) I'm getting all the moves when all I'm asking for is working canter down the long side! And then he also throws in a casual flying change here and there too. I think/feel like he might be wanting to get back to work too, fingers crossed. 

Sadly I only have more week of work left. This job is exactly what I wanted for the summer, being outside and having the pleasure of working with some really sweet horses. The ponies there have kept me sane whilst I've been worrying about Vallu, and I've had the pleasure of meeting people that I will for sure want to keep in contact with in the future. If anyone is considering doing a horsey summer job, I would totally recommend it! ♥︎