Walk into any tack store and you can smell the hoof care section before you even get there. Pine tar, petroleum, formaldehyde, and a long list of secret (and often smelly) ingredients tickle your nostrils. "Oh, well, it’s good for him," you sigh, remembering how many pairs of jeans you’ve ruined with hoof ointment, and the time you accidentally pushed back your hair with a brush covered in pine tar.

We have a long shelf of products that have been on the market for years. Many of these tried and true products are brushable "goop" that are believed to moisturize the hoof, often by using pine tar or petroleum.

A word of warning: No matter how much you love to brush on that Hooflex, or Rainmaker, or whatever your favorite moisturizing agent is, beware of applying it the day your horse is scheduled to be shod. Your farrier hates getting it on his or her clothes (or hair) just as much as you do!

Remember that the sensitive heel bulbs are frequent sites of cracks and scrapes from over-reaching or forging. Glycerine or lanolin agents such as "Dry Hoof Solution" are nice to have around when the heel bulbs start to take a beating. And remember those bell boots!

A new list of higher-tech (and higher-priced) products has been formulated to counteract environmental hazards that compromise your horse’s natural hoof health. The horse which lives in a dry climate such as Texas, but is bathed daily, has its hoof walls sanded for showing, and constantly has hoof blacking applied, is getting conflicting signals from its environment. Alternating messages of "Send more moisture!" and "Dry me out!&qu