Let’s bust some winter hoof care myths. This inaccurate information has been circulating for far too long! You may have heard it from your barn buddy or neighbor, but that doesn’t make it a fact. Your horse and farrier will be much happier if you know the facts!
Hoof Care Myths
#1 You should automatically pull your horse’s shoes in the winter.
Your horse likely wears shoes for a reason. Before you get them pulled, talk to your farrier about the consequences of having them removed. The frozen ground can be hard on their feet and cause bruising. Some horses wear shoes to help with poor conformation. There are plenty of other reasons not to remove them.
You should, however, consider snow pads or studs. Snow pads will prevent the hooves from packing with snow, while studs add traction to the shoe.
Your horse may be a good candidate to go barefoot, especially if they aren’t in heavy work. Your farrier should help you through this decision though!
#2 Mud causes thrush.
Not exactly… mud doesn’t cause thrush, rather a combination of urine, manure, and wet conditions does. If their field or stall is dirty and they’re constantly stepping in it, then they may develop this fungal infection. Their risk can be greatly reduced by scooping manure up daily!
#3 Your horse can go months without a trim in the winter.
It is true that horses’ hooves tend to grow slower in the winter, but please don’t assume they can go months without a trim. Hoof growth is also influenced by their health, environment, and amount of exercise. Your horse’s circumstances may be different than the next. Create a schedule with your farrier. They may only need a trim every 8 to 12 weeks, rather than the 6 to 8 weeks in the summer or spring.
Most myths are created by lumping all horses into one category. Remember, what works for one may not be effective for another. When it comes to your horse’s hooves, your farrier is your best friend!