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].
As any equine enthusiast knows, horses give what they receive. When treated with love and quality care, they can be as loyal as dogs and as strong and hearty as oxen. For centuries, humans have utilized horses for their magnificent power and revered them for their exceptional elegance and beauty. While anyone can own a horse, it takes a knowledgeable and compassionate hand to bring out the best in these amazing creatures. Eliot Pargament, a professional Certified Farrier and graduate of the Tucson School of Horseshoeing, says caring for a horse’s feet is one the most important things any owner or keeper can do to maintain an animal’s health and performance. Here are his tips.
3 Tips for Better Horse Foot Care
1) Pick the Feet
The most basic but crucial step is to pick your horse’s hooves. Eliot Pargament says he encounters a surprising number of owners who believe picking is an occasional job to be done by the farrier. But picking should be done daily to maintain foot health and prevent common hoof issues. Do this before you ride, to ensure there are no objects wedged in the shoe before you put additional weight on the foot. Repeat after riding and before turning the horse in at night. In the morning, check again to remove manure and look for signs of thrush. Once you’ve pried out debris, clear the crevice of the frog and scrape off remaining bits with the pick tip. Finish by brushing with a stiff brush.
2) Look for Signs of Trouble
As you’re cleaning the feet, look for signs of problems such as thrush. Thrush is a common bacterial condition typically caused by standing manure or wet, dirty conditions. It will cause a foul odor and dark oozing matter to emit from the frog cleft. As the condition progresses, it will become cheese-like. Call a farrier or veterinarian as soon as you notice signs of thrush, Eliot Pargament advises. Untreated, it can lead to lameness. Also, inspect the feet for issues such as punctures or cracks. These, too, require a farrier’s prompt attention. Finally, check your horse’s digital pulse and temperature. If the pulse seems stronger or temperature warmer than normal, it may be a result of an abscess inside the hoof. If you notice a stronger-than-usual pulse and increase in the temperature in both front feet, schedule a visit with your veterinarian immediately as this may be a sign of laminitis, which can cause significant hoof damage and even death, if untreated.
3) See the Farrier Regularly
On average, a farrier should see to your horse every six to eight weeks. However, if your farrier is correcting an issue like a club foot or under-run heels, you may need more frequent appointments. The farrier will not only trim and balance the feet but will also closely examine them for signs of problems. Nipping an issue in the bud is essential to prevent more serious, and painful, conditions.
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 Mike Poe, 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.