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Pulling shoes for winter? questions...

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  • #21
    I live way up north and if my horse is going to have an easy winter I usually pull shoes. I think it really helps the foot heal and strengthen, I find if I have shoes on for a long time the nail holes get weaker and weaker with every new pair. That being said, if I have a horse that has had shoes on its entire life barefoot doesn't always work for them. I would give it two or three weeks and see how it goes.


    • Original Poster

      thanks to all. There is a lot of chunky gravel on the property where he lives - as well as in the run off of his stall - he's just not comfortable walking on it. I know it's only been a few days, but I think I am regretting this decision. Can he cause real damage to his feet walking around on this stuff w no shoes? I reallllly don't want him to bruise or abscess


      • #23
        You of course dont HAVE to pull shoes.

        I have one whose get pulled (and he is the show horse, who goes in 4 the rest of the year), and one horse who simply cant be without shoes.

        The one WITH shoes wears snowpads in all 4, and also has studs in all 4. Many farms will not turn a horse out with other horses if they have studs on their hind shoes, so this is something you will need to discuss with your barn owner.

        The ones who gets his shoes pulled takes about 2 weeks to toughen up. Use something like keratex and follow the directions closely. It makes a nice fast transition. Of course, I feel my horse is slightly better with the 4 shoes, but I dont want to risk him slipping onthe ice and breaking a leg if I dont have to. Snowpads are a MUST if you bring a horse inside from outdoors. Snowballs in the feet = deathtraps on cement. I would also ensure the horse gets his feet picked out before walking into the barn if he has shoes on to prevent slipping.

        Im sure your horse will be fine with shoes, rims and corks/studs and having the feet picked before walking into the barn. Its often barn policies as they have to share paddocks etc. that time of year where the horses have studs.


        • Original Poster

          thanks - you guys are truly a wealth of information! He doesn't go out with any other horses. I will ask my farrier about the snow pads/studs. As a silly aside - he seems much shorter to me without shoes on! I'm 5'9 and he's a shade under 16hh - he needs all the height he can get lol


          • #25
            Originally posted by dmj View Post
            thanks to all. There is a lot of chunky gravel on the property where he lives - as well as in the run off of his stall - he's just not comfortable walking on it. I know it's only been a few days, but I think I am regretting this decision. Can he cause real damage to his feet walking around on this stuff w no shoes? I reallllly don't want him to bruise or abscess
            Chunky gravel aka stones do you mean? Yes, they can cause bruising which could lead to abcesses. I might have taken that into consideration before I pulled the shoes! The only stones we have on are property would be in the driveway, where my horse rarely goes, and then stone dust (cinders) in the outdoor ring. With my particular horse's feet, anything more would probably be an issue. In the meantime maybe try painting his soles with turpentne until you get shoes back on?


            • #26
              You can try using a hoof boot to ease the transition. I have done this successfully with the Easyboot Trail and with Old Mac's, although the Easyboot Trails are definitely easier to put on and off. I put them on my guy when I pulled his front shoes after never pulling them in nearly 10 years. He wears them when he is turned out or walking on the gravel driveway, and then I take them off when he is on soft footing or in his stall. His feet have been hardening up nicely, without causing him a lot of discomfort, and I'm able to use the boots less and less without him getting ouchy. It might be something to consider.


              • #27
                I always pulled my guy's shoes in the winter. He has good hooves and the only time he wasn't in soft footing in the winter was the short walk over gravel from his dirt paddock to the arena. He'd be a little ouchy for a week when going over it but then he was fine.

                I remember the farrier telling me that horses without shoes (unless shoes are modified for winter conditions) had a better time on ice and snow than if shod. Something about the hoof being able to expand and something about that reducing force over area, like why people should army crawl over an icy river instead of walking over it...it was over ten years ago so I'm forgetting.

                Anyway, my guy is now permanently bare-foot and has no problems *knock on wood* being outside in snow and ice. He comes in and there's no snowball build up, unlike the other horses with shoes.


                • #28
                  my horse cannot go bf in winter ( or ever) i use snow rims and whatever traction my farrier feels like using. but i DO need traction. Good Luck.