Winter Horse Hoof Care

Horses_wallpapers_369 Winter is the time when a lot of horse owners choose to pull their horse’s shoes and let the hoof regenerate. Pulling the shoes and leaving your horse barefoot enhances the overall health of the feet. Hooves tend to grow more slowly in the winter months. However, the unshod feet should be trimmed regularly, 4 to 6 week intervals, with an emphasis on keeping the edge of the hoof sufficiently rounded. The hooves should also be painted twice a week with an appropriate hoof dressing. A little extra care and attention during the winter months when your horse is barefoot will result in a stronger healthier foot the rest of the year. However, there are more than a few of us who ride and compete in the winter months and pulling shoes is just not ever going to be an option. If you are like me and live in a snow filled winter environment you know that training outdoors, and trail riding, can cause problems for your horses feet. The main issue that I have to deal with when I am riding in the snow is “snow-balling”. This is when mixtures of snow, ice, mud, manure, grass, or bedding accumulate in the sole area. It can pack very densely into large rounded ice mounds that are almost impossible to chip out. When a horse is forced to stand or move on snowballs he has decreased stability in his fetlock joint. His weight is liable to roll medially, laterally, forward, or backward. It is extremely fatiguing for his muscles, tendons, and joint ligaments as he constantly tries to make adjustments to maintain balance. It is easy for a snowballed horse to lose his balance and wrench a fetlock. I have found a product that works perfectly for my horse, and is very easy for me to apply by myself. I use the HOOF-it Winter Snow Pad to keep my horse’s hooves clear of debris in the winter. With this pad in place I have full confidence in my horse’s footing while training outdoors in the snow, or trail riding. Let me know if you have tried HOOF-it Snow Pads and how they have worked for you.