Frozen Ground and Your Horse's Hooves: What to Watch For

January 14, 2019

Frozen Ground and Your Horse's Hooves: What to Watch For

In some parts of the county, the frozen ground is a welcome occurrence! Flies and annoying pests are gone, snow might be coming, and the earth gets time to rest. BUT - your horse’s hooves might not appreciate it so much.

Frozen ground is wickedly hard - harder than any concrete or asphalt road. It also likes to freeze rocks into place, creating little spikes in the ground. Your horse won’t be able to kick them out of the way, so tripping is a risk, as are nasty bruises from landing on one of those - even at the walk.

You also need to be diligent around muddy pastures that have frozen. As the ground freezes, the hoof prints created in the mud freeze, creating small mountain ranges in the pasture. Not good for hoof soles, and the possibility of injury is there if your horse twists a leg.

Ice is the third big concern when the ground is frozen, as a falling horse often leads to major traumas. 

When it comes to your horse’s hooves and frozen ground, you can support his hoof health in a few ways. 

    • Use hoof boots on the barefoot horse and use pads on the shod horse. Create a nice barrier between anything that could bruise the sole and your horse’s hoof.

A hoof pad inside a hoof boot can help to support your horse. 

  • Check his digital pulse daily, any increase or abnormality tells you something is going on in the hoof. You can learn how to do that here, with a handy video!
  • Use a gel pad or cushion pad in conjunction with your Veterinarian’s plan if your horse does come up with a bruise.
  • Eliminate your horse’s exposure to icy ground. 
  • Keep an area of your farm, like a round pen, groomed and fluffy for turnout on frozen days if the paddocks are not safe. 

Cross your fingers for an early spring!

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