3 Winter hoof care tips

Simple ways to keep your horse’s hooves healthy and sound.
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1. Hooves grow more slowly in winter than at any other time of the year. Why exactly isn’t clearly understood, but it’s likely related to reduced activity and circulation. Defects and cracks may take longer to grow out. This makes it even more important to set and keep a regular schedule of farrier visits during the winter.

2. Frozen ground can be as unforgiving as concrete and lead to hoof bruises. A horse with a bruise may be slightly “ouchy” or outright lame
and you may not know the cause until his sole is pared down to reveal a telltale dark spot. Hoof pads can help existing bruises heal faster and prevent new ones from forming.

3. When wet snow packs into shod hooves, it melts slightly when it touches the sole, then refreezes against the cold metal of the shoe. Over time, this process can lead to the development of “ice balls” in the center of each hoof that leave the horse teetering precariously with every step. Popular home remedies to this problem include coating the hoof with cooking spray or petroleum jelly, but a much more effective solution is to apply specialized anti-snow pads that pop accumulated snow from the hoof with each step