Preventing Hoof Freeze and Snowballs
 By Winniefield Park   •   15th Nov 2014   •   6,805 views   •   0 comments

My son texted me this morning to let me know that itís snowing where he is working, an hour north of home. As they kept saying in Game of Thrones, Ďwinter is comingí. And if you live far enough north, snow will come with it. Working with horses in the snow is challenging. First, your toes freeze. There may be an upside to this, as you wonít feel your horse stepping on your foot until it defrosts and you have time to look after it. And snow freezes in your horseís feet too. This is uncomfortable, and can cause serious bruising and strains.

For those of you who have never contended with snowballs, hereís what happens. Warmth from the horseís hoof causes a thin layer of water to form as it stands in the snow. The water then freezes, and more snow sticks to the ice. Snow keeps building until thereís a big ball stuck to the underside of your horseís hoof. It can freeze so hard, that itís incredibly difficult to remove. You canít pound or pry the snow/ice out, because you could hurt your horse. Special pointed and curved ice hammers were used by the pioneers, but I wouldnít trust my aim to use one. You canít pour warm water on it, because that will just freeze again once the horse is back standing in the snow. Hot water is out of the question.

Related: Your Horse from the Ground Up - Part One - The Hoof
Related: Your Horse From the Ground Up - The Lower Leg - Part 1
Related: Your Horse From the Ground Up - The Hindquarters
Related: Natural Farrier Website Gives A Holistic Approach to Hoof Care

The problem is worse if your horse wears shoes during the winter. The combination of the warm hoof and chilly metal makes the ice build up hard and fast. The upside of shoeing in winter is that ice pads can be applied between the hoof and the shoe. You can use flat pads, but they might not be ideal and hide whatís going on under the bottom of the hoof. Rim pads are designed so that when any ice builds up, they flex and pop the ice ball loose. They are very effective and they donít cover the entire bottom of the hoof, so you can still get in to clean and check the health of the sole.

There are bubble pads that cover the entire underside of the hoof, and have a flexible half sphere of rubber in the middle that flexes as the horse walks in the snow. All pads need to be checked for wear and cleaned regularly.

Iíve tried a few different things over the years on my barefoot horses and most only work for a short time. Cooking oil, applied with a brush to the bottom of the hoof will prevent the ice from adhering until the oil wears off. It might get you through a half-hour mid-winter ride through the snow. Petroleum jelly is cheap and lasts a bit longer.

Iíve also tried my special pan coating oil, which is a tablespoon of liquid lecithin mixed with a cup of cooking oil. Coat your pans with a very thin layer of this stuff and nothing will stick no matter how you scorch your food. It really doesnít work much better than plain cooking oil for preventing snowballs. Cooking sprays are often recommended. I have not tried this, because I donít like the idea of fine mists of goodness-knows-what around my food, horse or myself.

Do you have to contend with snowballs? Whatís your solution to preventing or removing them?
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 More News by Winniefield Park
RavenSide Studs Record PonyBox Horse Madd Marla
9th Aug 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
It looks as though another jump record, if not fallen, has been well matched. RSS Madd Marla has matched previous record holderís, RSS Another Level record jump of 102.75". Madd Marla also holds current #1 Best Rank and has beat A ...
Miles Ranch Connects PTSD Military Vets with Horse Therapy
8th Aug 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Ex-military personnel who have been on active duty often struggle with PTSD when they return to what is supposed to be normal life. The suicide rate of veterans is alarming. But there are many programs that use horses to help woun ...
Top 15 Summer Horse Products
5th Aug 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
The lazy days of summer are the busiest for many horse owners, although COVID19 may be holding things up a bit. The only annoyances this time of year are the high temperatures and the bugs. Thanks to some great products, most of t ...
Dapples on A Horse Coat Sign of Good health
3rd Aug 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
1Dapples on a horseís coate are often thought of as a sign of good health. And, many a grey owner wishes there was some way to preserve those amazing dapple grey spots before they fade to white. But what are dapples? Why do some h ...
Horse Foam Bit Review
2nd Aug 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Whatís the newest in horse bits. According to Youtuber RaleighLink14, you might want to check out the foam bit. The idea is that the thickly sponge covered bit is much softer on a horseís mouth than any other material. But, says t ...
PonyBox Champion Casual Boho
1st Aug 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
As we headed into the July holiday weekend was Casual Boho held the top ranking spot. The 15 year old Casual Boho is owned by Jumping Bloom Horses. This 16.3 hh mare is by 21st generation Boho Express, a breeding by Fox Tail Forg ...
Love For Wild Horses Org Responsible for California Relocation
1st Aug 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
A herd of wild horses from California has found a new home in the Red Feather Lakes of Colorado. Advocates say the horses are useful because they clear the ground cover that feeds wildfires, and they plan to move more horses there ...
Woman Kicked By Wild Assateague Horse
28th Jul 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Recently, a woman found out the hard way that smacking a cooler-raiding horse with a toy shovel is a good way to get kicked. Which is why you need to take those do not feed that animals signs seriously. ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
194 Members Online 268,704 Registered Members 2,751 News Articles 11,687,480 Unique News Article Views 278,150,344 Website Views