Eliot Pargament’s 3 Tips for Healthy Hooves

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Eliot Pargament Eliot Pargament

Eliot Pargament is a farrier and business owner. Presently, Eliot Pargament provides his services to those in and around Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. He can be reached at (703) 727-5281, or [email protected].

Whether you’re an amateur horse rider or professional equestrian competitor, caring for your horse’s feet is fundamental. Eliot Pargament, an experienced farrier from Arkansas, says a number of his clients are not aware of proper foot care, something which can impact the horse’s overall wellbeing and performance. Here are his top three tips for better hoof health.

Eliot Pargament
3 Tips for Healthy Horse Hooves


The saying, “you are what you eat” applies to horses as well as humans. Human fingernails tend to get dry and brittle if a person does not have enough protein or other nutrients, like calcium or iron, in their diet. Likewise, horse hooves do the same. Hooves, like hair, are made of protein and keratin. If a horse is lacking certain nutrients, hoofs may become cracked or grow unevenly. Feeding them quality hay and clean water is the first step. Also, make sure they have the necessary vitamin and trace mineral supplements as recommended by a farrier or veterinarian. Eliot Pargament says research shows hooves that are damaged as a result of poor nutrition can gradually be repaired with supplements of biotin, iodine, methionine, and zinc.

Keep Consistent Conditions

Horse hooves can adjust to consistently dry or damp conditions, but they may become damaged when the horse’s environment fluctuates frequently. This is a common issue in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Particularly, turning out your horse in the evening during this time of year puts your horse in the damp grass, which can make the hooves swell and soften. When they’re put back in the dry, hot stall during the day, the hooves dry and contract. With repetition, the horseshoe nails can loosen and eventually may fall out.

Try to reduce the time your horse spends in wet grass. Also, try to reduce the time they spend in environments where they must stamp flies repeatedly, as this can cause nails to loosen faster. Before turning them out in the evening, Eliot Pargament recommends applying a dressing like Tuff Stuff to the lower two-thirds of the hooves. Be mindful to avoid conditioners that leave the hoof oily, however, particularly before the farrier’s visit, as this can make it difficult to work on the foot. Also, sponge the sweat off your horse instead of giving them too many baths in the summer, which can cause them to stand in wet conditions for an extended period. A daily application of Venice turpentine can help toughen the soles.

Pick the Feet

Eliot Pargament says picking your horse’s feet at least twice a day is the most basic but important way to care for their hooves. Unfortunately, a surprising number of Pargament’s clients believe picking is an occasional job for the farrier. Pick your horse’s feet before you ride, to ensure there are no objects lodged in the shoe, and after the ride for the same purpose. While picking, check the foot for cracks, chips, or signs of issues such as thrush.

More on Eliot Pargament

Eliot Pargament has been a farrier since 2011. After graduating from the Tuscon School of Horseshoeing, he completed a training program at the “Harvard” of horseshoeing, the Kentucky Horse Shoeing School in Richmond. After apprenticing in the Washington D.C. area, Eliot Pargament started his business Metro Farrier Services. He has worked closely with an expert farrier known for his skillful handling of difficult shoeing procedures and served as an assistant instructor at the University of Maryland. Eliot Pargament has been a traveling farrier at several rodeos. He also continues his education via various training seminars and competitions around the U.S. and in Hamburg, Germany. Eliot services the Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., and Delaware area.