This is such a great photo if I do say so myself. It was taken on my iPhone, so nothing that flash, but it captures a moment of real love between two horses. A father and his daughter. Let me explain the context first.

Muff has had seedy toe for quite a few months. Seedy toe, also known as White Line Disease, is caused by a bacterial infection that enters the inner hoof wall through a crack or separation. Usually the farrier will pare away the hoof to expose the affected area to air. The idea obviously being that the nasty bugs will die off once they’re choked by exposure to oxygen. The farrier might also recommend treatments with copper sulphate or white lightning. Two or three trim cycles later, the seedy toe should be cleared up. That’s the theory anyway.

Well, Muff’s seedy toe was in fact getting a little worse each time the farrier visited. And he was beginning to get a cloven hoof because the farrier was chipping away each time he trimmed. So after the last trim, I decided to try an alternative remedy – organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) and tea tree oil.

I used a syringe from the local vet and used a rasp to blunt the needle. Using diluted apple cider vinegar, I washed out the affected area. The syringe literally went up a hole in his hoof – this had been eaten away by the bacteria – but as it’s dead tissue, the syringe didn’t hurt him and it was also blunt. Next, I diluted a few drops of New Zealand tea tree oil in water and syringed this into the affected area.

By doing this, you flush out dirt or sand that may have become embedded in the seedy toe and ensure it is clean. Both ACV and tea tree oil also have anti-bacterial properties, which help to combat the bugs. Then I took a piece of cotton wool and soaked this in diluted tea tree oil before packing into the cut out section of the hoof. I then wrapped Muff’s hoof in Vetrap bandaging tape. Fortunately, I had dark blue and dark green Vetrap – Muff would not have liked pink!

Muff spent a week in the round yard rather than the mud and dirt of the paddocks. I treated his hoof every day and, one week later, no more seedy toe and healthy tissue is evident. Now that he’s back with the other horses in the paddocks, I bring him up to the stables every other day to check his hoof.

It was so cute to see him reintroduced to his foal, Saffy. I took him to the arena for a bit of schooling and was about to let him out to join the herd when Saffy rushed over to the arena fence and they had a loving reunion. Just look at how Muff has his eyes closed and his head bent down and resting on the side of Saffy’s muzzle. They stayed together like that for a few minutes. You could feel the love between them and how happy Muff was to be back again with Saffy.

Muff (on left) reunited with his foal, Saffy.