It’s January in New England. That usually means there will be plenty of cold weather, ice and – if we’re lucky – snow. If we are unlucky, in the absence of snow we will have that hard frozen ground. You know, when the hoof prints in the paddock become mini moguls ripe for the ankle twisting.
So what does this all mean for hoofcare? Well, like most things in the hoofcare world, that all depends. It depends on the horse, his environment and what he does for a living. For pasture puff Marshall it means continuing to go barefoot, and his trimming schedule might be stretched out another week. For Keno who is still doing lessons and trail rides, it’s going to mean a full winter package with snow rim pads to keep the ice and snow from balling up in his feet and carbide studs to grip into the ice and frozen ground, providing him and his rider with stability and confidence under saddle in the slipperiest conditions. That will be the package for most working horses here in New England. There are those however that will go barefoot, and will do just fine with a regular trimming schedule and light riding this winter.
It is my recommendation that horses either are shod with winter shoes or go barefoot throughout the winter months. Winter shoes provide superior traction on snow and ice (as well as on asphalt and wet rock or concrete). If your horse spends any time outside with a normal shoeing package on the ice and snow, he stands a good chance of injury due to the very slippery nature of steel shoes on ice. If you have ever witnessed a horse carefully trying to navigate a frozen paddock with regular shoes you will understand my warning. If you haven’t, just take a look at this video.
Horse Slipping on Ice
Here is a horse with a winter shoeing package on ice.
So be careful this winter. Furry side up!
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