View Full Version : snow problems - hoofs packed with snow.

16th Dec 2003, 03:42 PM
so..we have had a surprise hit of snow for that past two days. The 3 horses are unprepared for this
(no winter grip in the shoes to stop snow packing in and preventing the horses walking around on stilettos)

basically what do i/we do?

do we take the shoes off compeltely until january when blacksmith comes again?

do we ask someone to take shoes off, installed grip and nail shoes back on through same holes?? - that idea im not so sure off with because the field is soo muddy i reacon the shoes would just rip off.

sugestions please (other than the greasing idea as i tried that today and it was useless)

how do you all cope those without winter shoes???

the horses have an open stable - half matted half paved. which has no doors the stabling itself i reacon would be too confined if we were to seperate them up and ''shut'' them in...and they have a small paddock then are allowed on all year round when not out in the fields. Paddock - water logged...very muddy...our wood chip idea worked for milder weathers...but for extreme weather was not enough.

oh such a mess!!! :( :( :(

usually elja has in november already the winter tyres on her hooves but new yard, new horse owners, blacksmith lives 3hrs away and wont come down for 3 horses...black smith was in area last week...new owners said to wait until january because evil Anne told them we wouldnt need it...and we do!!!!!!!!!!:(

16th Dec 2003, 03:47 PM
This is just a guess...I have never actually used them, but what about some sort of easy boot. I know some of them have some kind of grip on the bottom of them. Hope that you can figure something out.

16th Dec 2003, 03:55 PM
I have also been advised to give them a try for added grip. Mine is barefoot though.

16th Dec 2003, 04:18 PM
We leave our shoes off during the winter because they are really slippery on the ice.

One thing I can suggest, and it does work, that you spray some sort of non-stick cooking oil on the underside of your horses' hooves, and the snow won't stick. Of course you'll have to keep up with it, or the snow will rebuild.

16th Dec 2003, 04:22 PM
I only know this from it being the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question, so don't all jump on me if it's nonsense ;) :D

But apparently in the Grand National one year there were freak weather conditions and several inches of snow - to prevent the horses hooves' slipping they filled them with butter!

Could be worth a try...?

Lucy J
16th Dec 2003, 04:38 PM
vaseline, smear the soles in vaseline, that should stop the snow balling up.

16th Dec 2003, 04:47 PM
I can confirm that butter does work. We always smoother the soles in Vaseline as LucyJ suggested.

16th Dec 2003, 05:28 PM
I keep my shoes on cos I compete, so I just smear loads of hoof grease or vaseline into the sole of the foot. Then it doesnt stick.

16th Dec 2003, 07:37 PM
I'm surprised vaseline or grease isn't working, is the snow particularly dry and powdery? Last time we had snow I wondered where all the snowballs had come from in the turnout field...:o

16th Dec 2003, 09:50 PM
My farrier has some kind of rubber-ish material that he can put on the sole, inside the hoof, as a pad. It comes as a liquid; he squeezes it onto the sole, and puts something plastic across it so it won't stick to the floor. Then he puts the hoof down and waits about five minutes. When you pull the plastic off, voila! Hoof packed with rubbery material.

If you could get something like that, you could surely apply it yourselves. It could keep the snow from packing in, and it would also help a little with the slipperyness.

16th Dec 2003, 10:53 PM
we have hoof grip...see piccie below. Vaseline didnt work...one..i had a hell of a job smearing it on..then when it was on i walked a horse stright through the paddock quick to see what would happen, he got snow packed up in the hooves then the only thing it did do was make it easier getting the balls out but then the vaseline came clear out too. We had 30cms of snow this morning and wher eits dry snow everywhere its wet snow in the paddock because of the mud :(

our winter ''tyres'' consist of hoof grip, ice nails and studs

16th Dec 2003, 10:55 PM
heres a picture of a horse with grip in the shoes...best thing..you can ever consider using in your set of shoes for the winter...they last about 2 winters. i still have eljas from last last year. which she will have again this year they cost about 5 euros (3.30) a pair and she normally has them from november - march/april

17th Dec 2003, 12:12 AM
The stuff I'm talking about is easily applied at any time *after* the shoe is on--doesn't go between the hoof and the shoe. So it could be done anytime, whether your farrier is coming out or not. It could be done long after the shoe is put on. You could get some of this stuff and use it now, and then put your winter pads in next time they do have a farrier visit.

17th Dec 2003, 08:45 AM
do you know what it is called?

17th Dec 2003, 09:53 AM
I think it's something like Equi-Thane; maybe Equi-Pack. Ah! Equi-Build: it's the second product on this page:

17th Dec 2003, 12:00 PM

17th Dec 2003, 01:01 PM
We dont have that much snow here, and it usually last for 5 days (the last 2 days being slush rather than snow!) We tried Vaseline but as you have found it does s-d all!

We just grin and bear it, pick any large snowballs out of hooves and let the horses get on with it. The largest snowball I found made Dipity about 15.3hh instead of 14.2hh!

You could take the shoes off as bare feet accumulate less snow. I found that the unshod horses had lots smaller snowballs; about 1" or so instead of 3-5"!!

17th Dec 2003, 02:45 PM
vaseline or animal fat :cool:

18th Dec 2003, 10:17 PM
We've got lots of snow of course, and the horses have worn winter shoes since September. They 4 have fixed studs.

In addition, many of the horses have those hoof grip thingies that Floppy posted about.

But whatever you use I reckon the hooves can fill with snow of it's soft, just like it will built up underneath your shoes. Maybe filling the hooves with epoxy (?) or similar will help, as it's smooth.

But I know next to nothing about hooves...Maybe cvb or FjordFia can offer some advice, they have ridden in Sweden a lot!

I would not think taking the shoes off is a good idea in case you get ice on the ground - especially if it's covered with a thin layer of snow! One of the horses at the yard pulled off two shoes the other day, and later fell on her face, cutting her lip really deep!

19th Dec 2003, 08:13 AM
Olavs, I have also ridden in snow alot we have from october until march snow..i live 800m above sea level and we have always a good 60cm-1m....and thats alot of snow for a little icelandic :D

I have just been caught out this year :( as i moved my horse in september to 500m above sea level...and ther eis only a 20cms of snow but because the ground wasnt frozen when it snowed the snow packed up in the hooves big time. But for te horses right now without their winter set of shoes it wouldnt make a difference if they had shoes or not...the only thing we have done to solve problem is to ''shut'' them in at night and shut them out during the day...so if they do develop high heels from the snow at least they can stand bette rin the snow than on hard ground.

19th Dec 2003, 09:17 AM
Reading all your posts now, i have become very grateful for us not being blessed with snow! In nearly sixteen years i have only ever seen a few flakes of snow where i live which melt as soon as they hit the ground!

Hope you find a good cure for 'snowballed feet'! sorry i'm no help.

clepper ~X~

19th Dec 2003, 09:42 AM
Floppy - had a similar worry last year when I got out of sync with everyone else and was late getting snow shoes ! To be honest I wimped out and rode indoors.

Way back when - in the UK - I think it was axle grease or goose grease that was used. Vaseline is just the updated 'clean' version. But Vaseline may not be gungy enough to work like the 'old' remedies did.

I'm guessing that if you pack the hoof with something appropriate - it will act like a temporary snow pad. There's something at the back of my head saying Stockholm Tar - but as my head is full of gunge (ok, snot !) right now, it may be misleading me. :)

I also have some vague memory of people putting old style brand sacks over horses feet.....

Not got this problem this year, as I'm in sunny :cool: Scotland ! (Grey, damp, muddy, dark)

19th Dec 2003, 10:11 AM
Oops, Floppy - I should have read your post more carefully :o

I guess it's easier here - we *know* that we'll get ice and snow so we always prepare :D

Having thought about it again, how about boots? If they are quite smooth underneath the snow should fall off before it builds up too much. I think you can get some with quick-fit bindings. But I don't know if the hooves can be shod or not, or how well the boots last.
And I suspect they would be slippery if you should get ice on the ground.

Are there any wild horses that encounter snow every now and then?

19th Dec 2003, 10:18 AM
As we don't usually ride if is snowing we only normally put grease or hoof oil into the area between the shoe to stop the snow from balling up (it works to stop mud balling too)

19th Dec 2003, 10:38 AM
Originally posted by OlavS
Are there any wild horses that encounter snow every now and then?

Yep - but they don't have shoes on or riders to carry ! Unshod hooves tend to be a bit flatter underneath so don't let the snow ball up as much, and they don't need to carry all the extra weight of a rider on artificial surfaces.

I think it depends a lot on the snow as well. When you are riding on deep snow, any build up matters less as you are still riding on top of the snow and don't hit the ground at all. But as soon as the snow gets thinner, then built up snow acts like stilts and is like being on ice skates :eek: (on stilts :eek: :eek: ).

So obvious the thing to do is go find some nice deep snow and have a nice canter :D Then teleport back to the stables ;) Insist no one actually drives on the roads so the snow stays deep and soft.:p

(oooo - I am missing the snow..............)(Not sure Fifi is - think she prefers having grass to eat !;) )

Sarah B
19th Dec 2003, 01:08 PM
What about hats with a brim or peak to keep the rain out of thier eyes?

19th Dec 2003, 01:58 PM
I always thought that you could use vasaline, to stop the ice getting stuck into the horses hoof.

19th Dec 2003, 03:18 PM

Vaseline works well in theory but not always so well in practice ! What you can find is that it works for a short while but each 'ball' of snow ends up with a coating of the vaseline and once the vaseline is gone, you're back to square one.

No one in Sweden even attempted to grease horses feet - and they get a tonne of snow in the winter ! Its all snow shoes with studs, and pads for the soles of the feet.