This is an unsolicted review on Keratex products: Hoof Hardener
If you have been following the story of Norman since his arrival at The HNH Sanctuary, then you know how he went lame on and off for nine months after I brought him home. He was initially picked up from a rehoming program that said he was RRP bound (which really I cared nothing about) and was told he had a difficult past (obviously an understatement). Luckily, Norman had accidentally fallen into my lap and I quickly discovered that I would go extreme lengths to help him be healthy and happy, as seen in Finding a House for Norman.
Upon arrival in June of 2017, he was missing a shoe and his feet were over growing the undersized racing plates on the front pair. When my farrier, April, first put his shoes back on, he instantly went lame for a week, thus beginning our long, difficult journey. April, told me that his feet were extremely thin, had stone bruises all over the soles, and warned me that this would be a long process for him. She was right. In June and July, Norman just didn’t seem 100% right while we explored his education under saddle. When he was being shod, he was scared of April and would hold his leg in the air to avoid putting any weight on his hooves, regardless of how minute the shaping or low the nails. April eventually recommended that he go barefoot and that I experiment with supplements, boots, and other products to aid the transition. We tried our second shoeing. By the third, we decided to pull them because it seemed like his feet were so thin, he must have been able to feel the nails in his hoof. In August, he was barefoot and working through it soundly after two weeks of adjustment. Then, rain rolled in and set us back. At the end of winter, he was ready to work, but his feet weren’t ready for new weight. My vets also concluded that he was better off slightly under weight until I felt he was comfortable enough to go back to work consistently. So, I came up with my plan of giving him a year to completely regrow his hooves while under the guidance of proper nutrition and care. By spring, I had discovered Keratex Hoof hardener. That was when our whole world changed. Norman had been growing a lot of healthy hoof, but adding in the hoof hardener prevented from the over chipping and shaping of his feet, something he loved to do. For the first time, I saw Norman cleanly gallop around, pain free. Come January 2019, he is healthy and sound, supporting new weight, awaiting his time to start work again.
Keratex Hoof Hardener was a life changer for Norman; not for the purposes of training or working, but for the quality of his life. For a few months, we were wondering if he would improve, and if he wasn’t, were we being selfish by not considering putting him down? Luckily, something told me to press on with his trims and supporting this complicated journey of finding what worked for him. Keratex’s Hoof Hardener formula cross-links, or works with keratin to strengthen its molecular bonds. Hooves grow like finger nails, as in it grows out of the body, therefore at the ends it is technically dead. There aren’t any vessels to support, nutritionally, the lower hoof, especially around the edges. That is why it shouldn’t hurt your horse when he or she gets his hooves trimmed or shod, its just like filling or clipping your fingernails. When you apply Keratex, it is providing additional structure to the dead areas by strengthening the material itself. Norman’s recovery was so successful because as his body was working hard to produce healthy keratin, Keratex Hoof Hardener was preventing him from further damaging his hooves by over breaking the old, dead keratin and exposing healthy tissues and/or nerves. Luckily, it works in all weather conditions too, since the hoof absorbs the solution, it doesn’t just coat the exterior of the wall or sole. This has allowed me to apply the formula during our rainy months as well. Since finding Keratex Hoof Hardener, it has been a tremendous relief to my buzzing nerves and extremely satisfying to watch Norman loving life again.
Read here, Rainy Day Hoof Routine, to find out what Keratex products I use in wet conditions to prevent lameness and hoof issues.