Hoof Care Winter Facts
by Debora Johnson
Facts and Suggestions:
- If possible pull your horse's shoes and let them go barefoot.
- If shoes must be worn in the winter months: use snow pads (stops snow balls in the shoes). Metal shoes are like a magnet to snow and your horse will be walking on stilts. Snow balls can cause the horse to slip and fall, sole bruises, and strain on the tendons, ligaments, joints, and soft tissues.
- Use shoes that have borium or have your farrier add borium studs into the shoes. The borium provides your horse better traction on the ice and snow if shoes must be worn.
- Mud and moisture can cause bad cases of thrush. Pick out your horse's feet several times a day.
- Use thrush buster or some other product to reduce the growing of thrush. I have used both Thrush Buster and White Lightning.
- Stable your horse in dry bedding if possible for several hours a day or provide a sheltered area where they can get in a dry place. This will provide a moisture free environment which minimizes thrush.
- Hoof growth slows down dramatically in the winter months. Instead of seeing the farrier every 6 weeks my horses can go 2 1/2 months during the winter. Just remember that all horses are different. You will have to decide what works for your horse.
My farrier of more than 20 years, Don Roof, has taught me this over the years. We have never had hoof problems in any of my horses. Our horses are out in the winter and only are stabled in really bad weather: high winds, ice, deep snow, sleet, or heavy rain. Otherwise they are in the paddock area or at pasture with access to the sheltered barn. They are checked in their stalls in the morning and in the evening. They are given supplements in their stalls and small amounts of grain in the morning. This ensures that each horse gets their own supplements, meds and grain without being bothered or bullied.
For More Information:
Trail Horse Hoof Care