The modern usage of the horse produces an unnatural environment for the hooves, and the stress on the horn produced by alternation between work and rest for the horse, and particularly the structural stresses generated by fluctuations in temperature and humidity can set up unnatural strains in the hooves which result in damage. The regular application of Keratex Hoof Hardener confers great strength on hooves, without producing brittleness, and resists these stresses. Also, when a hoof is cracked or chipped, increased stresses occur in the uncracked or chipped areas of hoof: these stresses can often cause the crack or damage to spread, and it is necessary to apply Keratex Hoof Hardener to the undamaged areas to give them sufficient extra strength to resist the extra stress.
How it works
Farriers have used formalin for many years to harden horses’ hooves. The action of formaldehyde on keratin is well known to be a simple cross-linking action: methylene or bis-thioether groups are added by condensation reactions with reactive amino, sulphydryl or other groups on the keratin helix to form additional linkages to reinforce the rather labile disulphide links which occur naturally. It is quite incorrect to say that formalin hardens horn by removing water: rather, it strengthens it by introducing these extra inter- and intra-molecular links.
However, formaldehyde in its simple aldehyde state reacts too quickly: it case-hardens the hoof, thus preventing the entry of formalin to deeper layers, and also creating surface brittleness. Keratex Hoof Hardener contains formalin: it also contains another substance which effectively slows down the reactivity of the -CHO group, thus giving time for the aldehyde to penetrate the outer layers of horn. This is facilitated by the presence of yet another compound in Keratex Hoof Hardener which temporarily breaks the hydrogen bonds which join the helix coils internally and externally: having done this, this compound then evaporates, leaving the hydrogen bonds to re-make once the aldehyde is in situ.
Keratex Hoof Hardener also contains an inorganic complexing agent. One end of the molecule of this agent co-ordinates onto a nitrogen atom in the keratin molecule: the other end forms a ‘large lump’ in the keratin helix, thus effectively adding an aggregate to stiffen the horn.
Finally, Keratex Hoof Hardener contains a plasticiser, to stop the horn becoming brittle, and it also contains a powerful disinfectant to assist in maintaining general hoof health.
Keratex Hoof Hardener should be applied daily for the first week, every second day for the next three weeks, thereafter every 3 or 4 days for maintaining healthy strong hooves. Apply to the lower half of the hoof and to the white line area and sole, making sure to avoid the frog, heel and coronet band.
Keratex Hoof Hardener is available in 250ml plastic bottles, with a brush included in the pack.