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GoPro – part two: Tips & tricks on hoof care from the world’s best grooms

Monday, 29 June 2020
Tips & tricks


Text © World of Showjumping


How can you best care for your horse? World of Showjumping asked several highly experienced grooms to share their tips & tricks. In this second part of this series, the focus is on hoof care. 

Kay Neatham, former long-time groom for Marcus Ehning:

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Kay Neatham. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

"Just like with skin care, hoof care comes from the inside! For horses with hoof problems such as easily cracking, splitting, or maybe they lost a shoe a few too many times, I swore by feeding the supplement Farrier's Formula – it never let me down and always improved the horses feet when fed regular over at least half a year.

Hoof grease from Cremolith, which is made by Beat Mändli’s brother in Switzerland, was my favourite. Nothing else ever came close to giving the hoofs just the right amount of moisture and suppleness. I used it for 20 years and every time I tried something else even the farriers would find something different about the quality of the hoofs after a couple of months so I’d always go back to using it.

For thrush I used cotton wool pushed gently into the thrush and then soaked it in Betadine. I found this helped best without being too corrosive, however it might take a few days longer than stronger stuff though." 

Fran Callan, long-time groom for Jur Vrieling:

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Fran Callan. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

"Hoofs need to be cleaned properly every day. I love Silverfeet hoof conditioner as it keeps them in great condition and not too dry – then the hoofs always look good and it makes it much easier to keep them clean. The best thing with Silverfeet is that one application a day keeps them looking polished all day long.

A tip that has always stuck with me for soft feet is to use toothpaste in the hoofs. Toothpaste dries out but is also gentle on tissue and quick to remove any bacteria like it does in your mouth. Smells minty too."

Sean Vard, long-time groom for Martin Fuchs:

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Sean Vard. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

"We tend not to wash the horses too much at home unless it’s absolutely necessary, because the less water on the hoofs the better! Three-four times a week, I use a good quality grease from Veredus – Winter Hoof or Golden Hoof depending on the season. 

Every day I use a wire brush to clean the hoofs inside and out and examine carefully for any imperfections. A good communication with your blacksmith is the key however to ensuring horses never go too long in the toe and lose shape or require drastic changes upon the next visit from the smith." 

Heidi Mulari, long-time groom for Steve Guerdat:

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Heidi Mulari. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.



"No hoofs, no horse! Hoof care is rather important. I use hoof grease daily inside and outside on dry, clean hoofs and never had problems. If some horse has broken, too soft, brittle hoofs I use brake cleaner spray for cars (Okay Bremsen Reiniger) a few times a week. Not on all the hoof though, maybe just halfway down."

Morgane Tresch, long-time groom for Jeroen Dubbeldam:

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Morgane Tresch. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

"This is the most important part of the body: No hoof, no horse! We use hoof grease daily to hydrate the feet – it is better to use it on dry feet, and not on wet feet as the water can slide on the hoof grease. 

Some horses have wet hoofs, so I like to use a French product called Goudron de Norvege that helps to keep the feet dry and makes them harder. Once a week we also use a cream to help the hoof to grow. 

When horses get new shoes, we use a Forshner’s Hoof Packing that we put under the foot to help to take the pressure away. I also like to use linseed; you can use it both inside and outside of the hooves and it also helps a lot. 

A crack in the foot can come from too much pressure and when this happens, call your farrier to come as soon as possible to take the pressure off. After that we use a cream mixed with garlic and honey to help to close the crack." 

Ninna Leonoff, long-time groom for Markus Beerbaum:

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Ninna Leonoff. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.



"For sore hoofs I love MagnaPaste, but unfortunately you can’t get it in Europe. Jumping on a hard ground sometimes makes the hoofs sore, so over night I like to pack the sole of the hoof with MagnaPaste and Animalintex – which also works good with a hoof abscess."

Mel Jobst, long-time groom for Marcus Ehning:

Mel Jobst. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Mel Jobst. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

"We clean the hoofs when they are going out of the box, after riding and after they come in from the field or walker. We are only using hoof grease once a day. I’m using Cremolith and this is also good to put on wet hoofs which is not working with all greases – they leave all the wetness inside the hoofs and some can then start to get broken.

If the hoofs get mouldy - dry it out! Here the Domestos toilet cleaner can be helpful, since it kills bacteria and dries everything out. First of all, clean the hoof proper and then take a bit Domestos into the hoof and push it in with a small brush. What I’m also using is Agro Chemica Powder Spray, because it also dries everything out and is not as aggressive as Domestos."

Nickki O’Donovan, long-time groom for Darragh Kenny:

Nickki O’Donovan. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Nickki O’Donovan. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.



"Keep the feet picked out and not full of dirt. Keratex is good for strengthening, while Thrush Buster is good for frog issues. Greasing daily keeps the hooves from drying out. After jumping at a show, I like to pack the feet with Epsom Salt Poultice."

Denise Moriarty, long-time groom for Kent Farrington:

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Denise Moriarty. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


"Since I prefer to groom the horses rather than bath them it not only helps to prevent skin irritations but also helps to stop the hoofs becoming water logged and soft. Our farrier likes us to let the feet breath as much as possible, so we use nourishing hoof greases rather than show polishes.

We take extra care of our horses feet especially in Florida where the surfaces can be quite firm. We ice them, pack them and use a magnetic footpad. No foot, no horse!"

Josie Eliasson, long-time groom for Jessica Springsteen:

Photo © Haide Westring. Josie Eliasson. Photo © Haide Westring.



"I use hoof grease on my horses everyday, inside and outside the hoof. My favorites are Absorbine Hooflex and Cremolith since both does keep the hoofs in good condition, especially in Florida where the climate tend to dry their feet out."

Lena Laub, long-time groom

Lena Laub. Photo © private collection. Lena Laub. Photo © private collection.



"The farrier Marcus Wagner always told me that if we have a horse with broken and dry hoofs I should put Nivea cream on twice a week. The Nivea cream helps them to get stronger. If everything is good with the hoofs, I put hoof grease on the inside and outside every day and ones or twice a week I use oil. I put the grease on before riding and after riding I always brush the hoofs and use the grease and oil again."

Marlen Schannwell, long-time groom for Bertram Allen:

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Marlen Schannwell. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Like skin care, hoof care also starts from the inside – so make sure the horse gets all its vitamins and minerals to grow healthy hoofs. If the hoofs get too dry, we use a good natural grease or hoof oil before washing to keep the water out as the water will dry the hoofs even more. I also like to use body lotion every few days to keep the hoofs soft.

With mouldy hoofs you have to solve the reason why they are too soft and stinky first. Make sure the stables are clean and dry and that the fields aren’t too muddy. We pick out the hoofs every time the horse leaves the stables or before it goes back. Veredus has a great cupric solution that kills bacteria and keeps the frog healthy. Frosch bio toilet cleaner is also great for mouldy hoofs – if not overused – as it kills all the bad bacteria.

If the hoofs are very dry and brittle, I like to do hoof packs with cooked linseed or the Absorbin Magic Cushion. For the linseed I add hot water and let it sit for 30 minutes – then I put a handful of the linseed in Pampers (diapers) and wrap them around the hoof with the linseed inside and outside of the hoof. Then I use vet-wrap around it – like a hoof wrap – to keep it in place and last I put some duct tape at the sole. The next morning, I take it off. Be careful to just put vet-wrap on the hoof and not on the coronet band – we don’t want to stop any blood flow.

For the Absorbin Magic Cushion, I use some tape over the hoof ball to keep the packing in place – then with gloves, push a small bit in the clean sole and just add clean dry shavings. I always put the horse in in the stable so it can dry out with the horse standing in its bedding.”


No reproduction without written permission, copyright © World of Showjumping

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