The NoseBag HQ's randon stuff, Horse Care Tips

Winter Hoof Care

Horses leg and hoof on sandy surface

Winter presents its own problems for every horse owner, and they are often rather different to Summer hoof care problems.

The fairly constant wet weather which is synonymous with the English winter, cause wet pastures and saturate the feet. For many owners, stabling during the winter is common practise – I too stable my horses overnight during the winter. This, however, means that the feet get saturated during the day, often in muddy, sometimes clay soil, which holds the shoe (if shod) and can put additional pressure on the hoof wall, to retain the shoe, as the horse pulls the foot out of the mud every step.

The other half of the time, the hoof wall drys out in the stable. Both through the lack of mud and water, but also the bedding helps dry out the foot. This constant wetting and drying of the hoof wall are very similar to constantly washing and drying our own hands. The skin starts to crack and become sore.

Trying to combat or minimise this extreme drying and saturating of the hoof wall can improve the integrity of the hoof wall, improving shoe retention, and reduce the risk of the wall cracking – wether shod or not. I personally use Silverfeet Liquid throughout the year. The hoof oil is easy to apply to the hoof, and starts to soak in quickly, without saturating the hoof wall. Appling the hoof oil before turnout is possible as it doesn’t wash off in the mud as soon as you turn out.

Daily picking out of the feet is an obvious and essential part of your horses routine, not only to check for foreign objects – stones etc but also to remove mud, bedding etc which is held within the base of the foot.

Hard, frozen ground can also cause issues, such as causing bruising to the sole of your horses’ foot, as the rutted ground can be unforgiving for sensitive feet. A hoof hardener like this one can help with this.

No matter how you try and tackle your horse’s hoof care during the winter, regular attention from a qualified farrier is essential. The saying ‘No Hoof No Horse’ is as true today as it has always been