My friend, who is new to horse ownership, asked me what hoof oil I use the other day so I replied “Kevin Bacon – looks like tar” as I crouched down painting Otis’s nails. It was recommended by my farrier to help strengthen his hooves but is a pain to use in winter as it is rock solid, but at the moment it is runny than a fried egg.
The next time I saw her she told me she’d bought some hoof oil with tar and that it was a lot thicker than mine. Then she asked how often she should apply it so I said every couple of days would suffice as her horse doesn’t have a particular problem, she just wants to look after his feet.
I thought nothing of it until the following day when I caught her horse. Strange, I thought, his white hooves are covered in black, from a couple of days ago. It must be strong stuff!
Back at the stable I got out a brush to groom him and noticed the new pot of hoof oil. But it wasn’t hoof oil, it was Stockholm Tar!!
I laughed when I told her she’d got Stockholm Tar. She didn’t know what it was and to be honest I haven’t had a lot of experience with it so I sent her home to google it.
I could remember that it is antibacterial and most often used for plugging abscesses that have been treated to prevent reinfection. It is also very effective in the treatment of thrush as it stops water getting in. I didn’t know that many people who have horses with brittle feet use Stockholm tar in old nail holes and new. I also didn’t know that it is also a preservative for wooden boats and horse hooves is a secondary use. I know it is a very messy process!
It’s an outdated treatment method, and has carcinogenic properties which has resulted in it becoming very unpopular, despite it having been successful previously. I think the development of alternative hoof treatments have superseded Stockholm tar.
Despite my friends error, the tar will still be useful for her barefoot horse’s sole and frog to help condition them, but I wouldn’t advise using it daily on his feet!