5 Things Acrylic Nails Taught Me About Hoof Care...

Author: Sarah Kuyken   Date Posted: 28 December 2016 

"In the nail department I'm the equivalent of a wild mustang..."

 

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine was visiting, she's mad in to acrylic nails and I decided it would be a fun, girly thing to go get our nails done together. Ohhhhh how wrong I was. 

In the nail department I'm the equivalent of a wild mustang, my natural nails are amazing! Hers are apparently closer to that of a 20 year old thoroughbred with laminitis. When she gets her nails done its a liberating, helpful, beneficial experience. For me it was like some sort of medieval torture  

See photo above of my beautiful nails the day after getting them done, while going shopping for a new grinder, naturally. See photo below of my poor, sad nail after losing one of the acrylics and feeling like I'd gotten a bad seedy toe infection, foundered, and was suffering from a hoof wall avulsion. 

So what 5 things did this experience teach me about hoof care? 

  1. When gluing shoes on, moisture is not your friend. My acrylic nails got moisture under them and it made my nails go disgusting. A similar problem happens when you glue shoes on hooves that you haven't dried off properly. Always use your blow-torch or heat gun and make sure the hoof is completely prepared and dried before attempting any glue work. 
  2. Breakover needs to be short. There's short, and then there's extra short. But don't be prepared to do anything useful if you pick a long breakover, and expect to enjoy the discomfort of additional leverage if you try and be productive anyway. 
  3. Breakover increases over the shoeing cycle. As my nails grew, the leverage increased and they became more and more unpleasant. Do you make your decisions based on the hoof today, or what the hoof will look like 5 weeks from now? 
  4. Book your appointments in advance. This one is a bit more controversial in some ways - some farriers are adamant that horses should never have their hooves done just because a certain amount of time has lapsed because they may not have grown much, and some of us are adamant that they should always be seen within a certain period no matter how little has grown. I maintain that a good farrier shouldn't remove the same length everytime, and therefore it shouldn't actually be a problem to go early (in most cases, always exceptions to the rule!). The fact of the matter is many people have already pointed out to me that part of the reason my nails were so bedraggled was because I was well overdue for a manicure!  .... Is this ringing any bells yet? 
    As a novice manicure-receiver, I didn't know how frequently they had to be done! And even if I did, as a busy person I probably still would have lost track of how much time had lapsed since my appointment as I had a lot of stuff on with work and Christmas. Next thing I knew I needed to see the nail technician desperately but everywhere was full up thanks to the holidays. My nails are now overdue and disgusting. The parallel should be obvious.
  5. Horses for courses when it comes to shoeing decisions! What is right for one horse isn't necessarily right for another. My friends nails hurt when she doesn't have acrylics, mine hurt most of the time with them, they felt unnatural to me, I couldn't scratch an itch anymore, I couldn't even peel the sticky-tape off the roll, I'd have to pass it to said friend. Overall it was a terribly unpleasant several weeks and I'm extremely grateful that my nails grow at a ridonkulous rate. Another friend told me it was because they were acrylic nails instead of gel nails and should try them instead next time. (Thinking metal vs barefoot vs composite anyone?)  

So there ya go. Maybe there's a lesson or 5 to be learnt from my acrylic nail disaster, or maybe I'm just a crazy lady with a hoof care blog spouting out rubbish. Take from it what you will but I certainly found the experience illuminating! 

 

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