Dry hooves are the most common problem I come across. So, if you have this problem with your horses, don't worry your not alone. When you have dry hooves, the biggest thing you'll notice is a white chalky substance up on the hair line. This white chalky substance is the first sign to dry. You can see this clearly in the picture above. After that, you will notice vertical cracking of the hoof wall as well as cracking and chipping at the bottom of the hoof wall.
Causes of dry hooves are one thing and that thing is environment. Most of the time the horse is standing it to much wetness. Yes, I said dry hooves come from wet environment! You wouldn't think so but, if you look at the science of it all it makes sense. Water is a lonely element. Water likes to be where ever the majority of it's water buddies are at. Have you ever spilt water on your kitchen floor? Have you notice that after a while it will all collect into one big puddle? Another example is one everyone who has ever been in the water to long can relate to. When you are in the water to long your fingers start to wrinkle. Do you know why? They wrinkle because they are becoming dehydrated!! Doesn't that make sense now? When you are in the water long enough and your nature oils stop water proofing you, the water in your body starts to leave your body to join it's buddies that you are swimming in. Hence the wrinkling occurs in your fingers. So now hopefully you can see how to much water can cause dry hooves.
A lot of people don't even know what an ideal foot looks like. The picture to the left is of an ideal hoof texture. This foot was not rasped or sanded in any way this is how the horse came out of the pasture. proper environment can turn feet around much faster then anything you can do but, you have what you have and no one expects you to own a hundred acers to own one horse. We still want to maintain a healthy horses. All having a not so ideal environment means is we just have to give our horses more attention. Not necessarily a bad thing!!
How do I fix dry hoofs? keeping your horse in a clean dry environment is the easiest but if you don't have that then Hoof Oil!!! We are not god. We don't want to try to figure out the complexity of natures work. We just simply want to help it when we can. Oil repels water. Our objective is not to put water back into the hooves but, to protect the hoof so the horses body can do it.
There are hundreds of hoof oils out there. The cheapest that will work is Fiebings hoof oil. The only down side is it is a little thin so it can wash off if not allowed time to penetrate the hoof, 1/2 hour. The best oil to use that I have found is Shur hoof. Things to look for when shopping for hoof oil is; one all ingredients edible (No granddaddies used motor oil! You will pollute your pasture and kill your horse), two no water in the ingredients, three you want to look for something with the texture of maple syrup (thicker then that wouldn't penetrate the hoof, thinner washes off easily).
You should oil the hooves daily til the white chalkiness goes away at the hair line. If you would like to prevent dry hoofs you can just apply hoof oil regularly. Daily does not hurt the hoof wall. There are rumors out there that it will make the feet to soft and that is not true. First of all you are only applying to the hoof wall not the sole and you would have to have to horse soaking in it all day to soften in a bucket or something. Not with a brush. If that seems like to much for you just applying when ever the horse is about to get wet is fine to prevent.