The cold season is here with us, and horse owners have one more bit to worry about: taking care of their equine friends’ hooves. These are the structures that are going to be the barrier between you and your horse’s body on one side, and the icy and snowy ground on the other. It’s, therefore, imperative that they’re taken care of and fully protected from the snowy ground and its accompanying chilling cold.
So, what are the experts saying about hoof care? How do you keep your equine friend's hooves healthy and secure throughout the winter season? Below are our tested and proven tips:
Make Earlier Plans
Before the winter season can kick off, you need to have plans in mind on how you’re going to deal with the extreme weather conditions. Talk to your farrier about the various equine shoe options available for your horse. Remember to seek solutions specific to both your weather conditions and terrain.
Avoid Foot Concussion
Horse owners should be very careful when riding in winter. In fact, even thermal imaging often fails to find equine legs during extreme winter cold. This is possible because there isn’t lots of peripheral circulation down there. Therefore, whenever you’re planning on going on a trail ride, beware of excessively straining your horse down the trail. If you're not careful, foot concussion is more likely to happen during the chilly months.
In places where extreme cold has frozen the ground, your horse may get some bruising. So, decide whether you want to ride your horse in soft ride boots or if you want to pad his conventional shoes to make it easier for the horse to feel comfortable in them.
Beware of Snow Balling
When it comes to horses, snowballs are another thing to worry about during winter. Snowballs, when inside a horse’s shoes, can lead to sole-related injuries, however small. Use padding to prevent snow from accumulating into the frog or sole areas. While flat leather pads keep the snow out, urethane rim-type and bubble padding force out any snow that’s already in.
Make Adjustment to Blankets Fit
Make sure that your horse's blankets are never ill-fitting. If they are too long or don't sit right, you risk injuring him if his leg, shoe, or hoof catches on straps that are too long.
Image source: flickr.com
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