As I have mentioned in other posts, I prefer to keep my horses barefoot whenever possible. I simply feel that is healthier for their feet and better for their natural movement. Sometimes barefoot can be a challenge, though. We have to keep in mind that the horses will need some time for the foot to adjust and that they still may be a little “ouchy” on some surfaces. Luckily, there is a product called Hoof Armor that can help.
Hoof Armor is an adhesive coating that is applied to the sole of the horse’s hoof – it forms a thin flexible coating that helps protect the hoof against abrasion and wear. Hoof Armor is becoming increasingly popular in the endurance community, with several top competitors in the sport using it during training and competition.
I had heard of Hoof Armor, but became more interested in the product when I met the owners of Hoof Armor, David and Brenda Jo, at a local event last fall. They were giving demos of the product and I was surprised by the ease of applying it. I came home with a starter kit but waited to try it out until this spring, when I knew I would be riding my horses more regularly and could give it a better trial.
As planned, this Spring I used the Hoof Armor on two of my horses. The first horse, Nell, always has some trouble staying sound barefoot when I start doing any kind of regular work with her. Sure enough, this Spring I noticed tenderness developing in her front feet after a few weeks of riding. Her feet seem to wear quickly, getting too short, and that is when the problems start. So I used the Hoof Armor on her first. It is extremely easy to use – simply clean the foot with a wire brush, apply the product (which comes in an easy dispenser), spread it with a glove or spatula, sprinkle with some talcum powder, and you’re done. After one application I already noticed a difference in her comfort moving. I applied the product a second time about a week and a half later and combined with the steady conditioning she started moving just fine on almost every surface.
The second horse that I used Hoof Armor on was my mare, Molly. Molly is barefoot as well and usually moves quite comfortably. However, during one ride, I noticed that she seemed short in her movement up front. I made two changes for her, first applying the Hoof Armor and second moving her to the dry lot. Within a few days Molly was going sound again. Since I did make two changes with Molly I can’t say with certainty which made the difference for her, but she is sound and I am happy!
To conclude, I believe that Hoof Armor is an excellent product for barefoot horses – helping provide light protection against wear and increasing the comfort of the horse on some rough surfaces. The ease of application is also a huge plus because you don’t need to hire your farrier to apply it or hold the hoof in the air forever as the product sets up.
If you are interested in learning more about Hoof Armor or purchasing a starter kit for your horse, visit their website at www.hoofarmor.com.