I try not to post too often on ridecamp. I think I’ve probably exceeded my allotment for the week, so will answer the question about what I use to toughen feet and treat thrush here in my blog. I’ve covered this stuff before, sometimes the posts get buried because they are a year or more old. You can do a search in the top right corner if you’d like to read more.
Even though I live in a climate that has seasons, I don’t generally have a problem with thrush in my horses feet. I usually clean their hooves out fairly regularly when it’s muddy just so they don’t end up with manure packed in there. It’s okay if it’s mud that is packed in the hooves, but unless you pull it out you don’t know that. So I pick their feet clean at least two or three times a week.
Over this last ride season I have talked a bit about thrush (see here) because it can be an issue for riders who are gluing hoof boots on their horses for an extended period of time. It’s not such a big deal if the boots are only on for a weekend or even one week for a multiday ride. However, once you start leaving boots on for weeks and weeks there is a good chance that some thrush will develop. It seems like that particular type of thrush can sometimes be a little bit different than what most of us view as regular thrush. I know my horse has thrush if I can dig out black goopey stuff mixed in with white flakey stuff, and it smells. The thrush that you may encounter from having a hoof sealed up for a few weeks may or may not smell and there may not be any visible signs other than your horse is tender footed. And again, if you pull the boots off and put your horse up then don’t ride right away or put boots on to ride you might not notice the subtle difference in hoof sensitivity. I tend to ride and work my horses pretty regularly barefoot and feel that leaving boots glued on for three weeks caused them to go through a couple week transition back to barefoot — even though when their shoes were pulled that didn’t happen. Go figure!
p.s. Karen - your posts are always welcome on Ridecamp! People can read or delete as they wish... it's always good to hear about other people's experiences and preferences, and every little bit of shared information will help us all make the best (most informed) choices for our horses and sport.