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Dress Your Hoof with Two Household Products

Updated: Feb 28

As a hoof-care practitoner of almost 20 years, I have always been skeptical of applying hoof dressing to solve hoof problems. I have always been of the opinion that the best ways to improve the health of hoof wall is

  • husbandry - regular cleaning, frequent trims, and keeping your horse out of manure and mud,

  • diet - supplying adequate minerals and biotin,

  • exercise - encouraging blood-flow, and allowing the hoof to flex

I still think this is true.

However, for the last 5 years or so, I have been experimenting with dressing my clients hooves with products that I had on hand, and I have found two that genuinely make a difference.

For a horse that has perfect, shiny, healthy hoof walls - generally a horse with a great diet who is in regular work, hoof dressings are not going to be a benefit, but if you have sand cracks, or flakey hooves, these two products make a big difference. They are cheap and easy to apply.

Coconut oil in a spay can

Vicks chest rub

What I love about coconut oil in a spray can is that owners will do it. You can buy it at the supermarket and It takes five seconds. I tend to use chest rub, simply because it takes up less room in my tool box.

Here is the hoof of a 2 year old TB just starting under saddle. She was on pasture only for the first 12 months, but after weaning, her owner has been diligently addressing nutrition, exercise and hoof care.

  • Nutrition - this filly is on good pasture 24/7. She is hard fed Sound Advice Trace Mix and Calm mix ( for muscle health), a small amount of oats, and soy bean meal, as well as lucerne (alfalfa) hay.

  • Exercise - this filly does just 10 minutes of trot and 5 minutes of canter work every day in a round yard, aside from ground work, establishing other cues.

  • Hoof dressing - She has hoof trims every four weeks, and I apply Vicks chest rub. Yes, just Vicks once every four weeks, and you can see the dramatic difference in the quality of the hoof wall growing down with this regime.

You can see the pronounced difference in hoof quality by addressing nutrition, regular exercise and topical treatments together.


If you are looking for the best nutrition supplement to improve hoof quality, Biotin Trace Mix supplies trace minerals in a biotin base. It also is the most palatable of the trace mixes and suits fussy eaters.

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