What is the best way to keep snow from packing or snowballing in the hooves? I have both shod and unshod horses. The shod one is the one I am most interested in finding a means to keep snow from packing in his hooves on a daily basis. Thanks for all suggestions.
something like wd-40, Pam or other non-water soluble substance has been rumored to help. Clean off the hoof super-well first & dry, then apply.
Tonight I put Keratex gel on my un-shod mare's soles when I saw her come in a-wobblin. I had it around & vaguely remember that it helped. It is especially disturbing b/c they get let in for dinner & do a mad scrabble as they enter the barn. There are matts, but it still looks dicey.
I've never had any luck with lubricant sprays.
I like the bubble type snowball pads for shod horses. Others like the tubing type rim pads, but those haven't worked as well for me.
I don't usually have a problem with snowballs in barefoot horses.
As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.
As others have said, snow pads are pretty much the only thing that really works to prevent snow/ice balls. HOWEVER, I found that Hoof-It will work pretty darn well and I can apply to the shod feet at any point in the shoeing cycle.
The link above is for a "hoof repair" product that can also be used for hoof pads. It is easy to use, just mix a powder and liquid together and apply to a CLEAN sole. It has repair uses but can be used for pads. I use them for really rocky rides. The easiest time to apply it is right after your horse is shod and is standing on mats or concrete. But most times I just put the horse in cross ties and clean the foot with a tiny wire brush and a dental pick to get under the shoe. Then I mix the two components and apply over the sole and frog. For snow pad use I take the time to shape the Hoof-it while it is still pliant so I have made a very concave surface, smooth, no edges that ice/snow can get under. It works!
The reason a barefoot doesn't hold snow badly is that it is relatively concave, no deep crevices for the snow to pack into. The flatter foot drops ice balls off easily. A high heeled foot with deep grooves hold snow more. On a shod foot the show and ice pack in under the inner edges of the shoes, and more packs in and the ice ball locks in. With the hoof-it you press the pad material under the shoes edge and shape the pad so it make the hoof bottom into a shallow concave surface with no right angles or crevices.
Unlike many types of pads the foot stays dry and clean under this pad. And you can pry it out later with a screw driver or just leave it until the next shoeing. I've been using the stuff for years now. It will hold up to a 100 mile rocky ride or 6 weeks of normal wear. I really like DIY stuff. We get little snow here in Southern MD and I keep my guys shod year round due to gravel road riding. So I like to be able to add pads as needed.