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Riding outside, in the snow... how to prepare ring/horse shoes?

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  • Riding outside, in the snow... how to prepare ring/horse shoes?

    I'd love to not board out this winter.

    At home, I don't have an indoor. We get snow. Lots.

    As a kid I took lessons at a barn down the road year round. In winter, we rode outside. The trainer just plowed the "arena" and we actually were able to jump on the snow when the "footing" was good. Sometimes we couldn't ride, other times we could. I don't recall any issues with snowballs but I was really young.

    So what do I do to my "ring" to make it rideable? DH has a tractor with a bucket, a rototiller and a drag. Also has a brushog and a post hole digger, but I don't think those are helpful in this situation.

    Footing is a sand/clay mix that is sometimes too slippery when wet in the spring/fall. It is makeshift until we get our new place organized.

    What "snowball" solutions do you have? Two horses are shod (one up front and one all around) and one is barefoot. DH can put snowball pads on them but he says he isn't sure which pads are most effective. He can also do borium or I'll do studs, whichever is most effective.

    Basically, I want to keep one in work, and get 2 fit if at all possible.

  • #2
    Two different issues. Ring prep is pre-snow. For the ring, you can add Mag Chloride to keep it from freezing, but if you don't have great drainage, it won't work. I don't add anything, and I don't have fabulous drainage, so it freezes. I do try to drag it flat BEFORE the freeze so that once it snows, there are no divets and ruts to catch feet under the snow.

    Horse prep is post-snow.

    So long as we have snow, I can ride. The horse has popper pads in front, rim pads in the back and little caulks all around on the heels.

    Forgot to add, barefoot is great in the snow.

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    • #3
      The only problem I have ever had with riding in the winter, is not with the horses feet, but the condition of the snow.
      Once you have ridden in the snow, the paths/tracks that you make will then ice over.
      If it snows again, you now have snow over ice, and you cannot see the ice.
      I have a 10 acre field I used to ride in and I managed to find good fresh snow most of the time.
      Now I'm old and board out for the winters....

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      • #4
        Quick fix to prevent snowballs= Pam cooking spray! Just clean hoof, spray and then ride!
        ---^v---^v---^v----------------------^v---^v---^v---
        For a moment there, you bored me to death

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by IFG View Post
          Two different issues. Ring prep is pre-snow. For the ring, you can add Mag Chloride to keep it from freezing, but if you don't have great drainage, it won't work. I don't add anything, and I don't have fabulous drainage, so it freezes. I do try to drag it flat BEFORE the freeze so that once it snows, there are no divets and ruts to catch feet under the snow.

          Horse prep is post-snow.

          So long as we have snow, I can ride. The horse has popper pads in front, rim pads in the back and little caulks all around on the heels.

          Forgot to add, barefoot is great in the snow.
          I think the ship has sailed on ring prep. But if we get a warm day I'll have DH drag it. We got a TON of rain before it froze/snowed so dragging it was an absolute mess/waste of time and was pushing the sand down beneath the clay. MagChloride is a nice idea but I'm pretty sure the ground would freeze here no matter what and our drainage is marginal. I'll pass on the word about the pads!

          Fortunately one maybe two will be able to be barefoot.

          Originally posted by Mallard View Post
          The only problem I have ever had with riding in the winter, is not with the horses feet, but the condition of the snow.
          Once you have ridden in the snow, the paths/tracks that you make will then ice over.
          If it snows again, you now have snow over ice, and you cannot see the ice.
          I have a 10 acre field I used to ride in and I managed to find good fresh snow most of the time.
          Now I'm old and board out for the winters....
          I don't recall this being a problem when I was a kid riding, but I may not remember it. Do you think that dragging it would help? I have fields I can ride in but was hoping to be able to do ring/dressage work as well. I WANT to board out but I prefer the care at my place.... and by not boarding out I'm able to have 3 nice horses instead of one. I may board one out for the first part of spring... we'll see.

          Originally posted by pinkme View Post
          Quick fix to prevent snowballs= Pam cooking spray! Just clean hoof, spray and then ride!
          I'll give this a try! Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            If you drag for smoothness, you want to "float" the top. For me, that means using the smooth side of the chain harrow/drag down, with some tires thrown on the spikes to hold it down on the dirt.

            A second, probably better option, might be dragging a large front-end loader tire behind the tractor, or a pair of them, to smooth out rough dirt in the ring or paddocks. Tires work pretty good even on some frozen top ground, just leveling the dirt off. I do the slop paddocks too, when just the top layer is goopy, kind of smoothing things off like frosting a cake. When it refreezes, the whole surface is a lot nicer Smoothed top dries quicker in spring weather too.

            With one tire, I just use a shorter chain behind the small (Ford 8N) tractor, and it smooths tracks and hoof holes. With two tires, I run the longer chain thru the clevis on hitch, hook a tire on each chain end with a chain loop thru the center of tire. They tend to self-adjust behind me, smooths a wider track, or does a double drag, saving trips around the ring or down the lane for the horses in deep snow. Don't want horses to go over a buried fence!

            We have big equipment tires (from loader, backhoe) with the sidewalls cut out. They still weigh much more than the old Ford tractor tires, so they do a much better dragging job in smoothing.

            Either dragging method is good in not mixing the levels of fill. Teeth down would be VERY BAD when using the chain drag on your ring. Just makes everything soup.

            Horses in work get rim pads with ice studs in the shoes. Ice studs give good grip, snow rim pads work better for us, in snow removal. Allows good hoof cleaning with no sole covering. Usually get two shoeings from a set, but frozen, rough mud might tear them up some. Our mud is clay, stays HARD and sharp once frozen. Bubble snow pads get mud and other gunk under them on the not-snowy days outside. Some kinds of snow can be stickier than others, but both pads do remove the snow from hoof.

            Pam or vasaline stuff, only works for a short time, 20-30 minutes. Often not even that long. Not worth the effort, if riding horses regularly.
            Last edited by goodhors; Dec. 9, 2009, 12:59 PM.

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            • #7
              hmm well I suppose dragging the ring after you ride would be wise if it has snow. That will prevent tracks from developing and making icey uneven ground.

              As far as feet, no shoes is best in snow- no balling up ever! and the traction is pretty good.

              If you have shoes, pads are I guess your only option- but they still ball up. Get the ones that are domed out a bit.
              We put borium on our shod horses for traction

              as for jumping in the snow- I don't have a problem with it, but it has to be a certain type. I am not sure if there is anything you can do to keep all snow in jumpable condition, just play it by ear. Its best if the snow if fresh and powdery.

              Comment


              • #8
                I am a professional farrier and I would recommend a shoeing package of borium shoes used in conjunction with snowball pads to provide the right combination of traction and prevention of snow pack. I use borium dressed shoes on a daily basis primarily for traction but also the life of the shoe is greatly lengthened saving you $. I purchase all of my borium shoes from The Blacksmith Shop in VA (www.theblacksmithshop.net) and have found them to provide the highest quality borium shoes (work is guaranteed). Hope this is helpful. Stay Warm!

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