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Pulling shoes for winter? questions...

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  • Pulling shoes for winter? questions...

    ...how many do this? I have never lived anywhere that had a winter to speak of, but now that I do, I've been told it is safer to have my gelding barefoot for the winter months - as he will have more traction on ice/snow. OK. We did this Tuesday, pulled off all 4 shoes, he walked off fine, turned him out in the indoor, perfect. I came out Wednesday night to ride - walked out of his stall all funny, felt uncomfortable/not as forward/confused upon working in the indoor. Not lame, but not normal.

    I'm sure he may need his feet to toughen up - ? He lives in a stall w a run, which has a gravel/dirt mix in the run.

    I'll call my farrier to see what he thinks, just wondering what your experiences have been. This horse is and has been super super sound with no issues- and I would like to keep him that way He has always been shod all around for the year I have had him, he had fronts but not backs when I got him. Thanks!

  • #2
    I live where it snows, and over the years, I've found different things work best for different horses. I've had horses that I could pull all four shoes without issue, some that needed a week or so to get used to being barefoot, others that needed snow pads. I just had my farrier put snow pads on my two guys' fronts, and pull shoes and trim their back feet.

    My horses have access to turnout 24/7, and when the ground freezes hard it can be like walking over rocks, so they seem to need the shoe/pad combo on their fronts for protection.

    When my horses were in a boarding situation and only had to deal with soft footing I would routinely pull all four shoes in the winter.

    Like I said, it depends.....

    Comment


    • #3
      My guy had soft soles and flat feet after getting his shoes pulled (fronts only. Folks where I am pull shoes in the winter unless the horse has issues that require it to be shod 365 days a year). He was super ouchy and would tender foot his way over gravel, and generally act NQR on anything harder than the sand in the arena.

      My farrier recommended treating the soles with Farrier's Fix 3x a week to help his ouchies. Worked very well to toughen up his feet and get him comfortable again. I believe Durasole will do something similar, but it is a little less friendly to the person doing the application.

      The Farrier's Fix has done wonders to toughen up his feet and I noticed a difference even after the first application!
      Last edited by VaqueroToro; Dec. 13, 2012, 04:11 PM. Reason: Forgot some detail.

      Comment


      • #4
        If he has had shoes on for a longtime going barefoot could be a shock to his poor little tootsies. It might take him a week to toughen up. There are things you can paint on. I'm not sure if they really help, but it makes us feel better.

        I always try to get the farrier to leave them a little long. They may chip, and break off but in the process the foot has time to toughen. Some farriers have a problem with this. It's not always neat.
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          thanks! I kind of don't want to deal with it and don't want him to be uncomfortable. I'll grab something like the Farrier's Fix and give it a week - I don't want him to suffer if he just doesn't do well barefoot. Is it dangerous for them to be shod and on snow/ice? What are snow pads?

          Comment


          • #6
            Get some Durasole and follow the directions. It has a money back guarantee.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              sweet! thanks

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dmj View Post
                Is it dangerous for them to be shod and on snow/ice? What are snow pads?
                Shoes can be slick on snow or ice. Borium/ice nails/studs/drive in pins or similar can be used for traction. My guys don't do well barefoot, so in the winter we switch to shoes with tungsten pins in the heels for traction, with snowball pads. Snow pads will help push snow out of the feet so it doesn't form a hard ball, which is uncomfortable and unstable.
                As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  good to know. He's so sound in just basic shoes - I'm in the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' camp, and the only reason I took shoes off of him was because I had visions of him pulling a Bambi on the ice :O

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    With shoes without studs ( and the smaller the better), Bambi is a distinct and dangerous possibility.

                    Snow pads are designed to help prevent snowballs from forming in shod feet. I prefer the rim type pads as opposed to the bubble pads. the bubble pads have been known to buckle inward (or upward) creating problems.
                    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm in the Northeast and always ask the farrier to shoe my mare with rim pads in front, and shoes with borium all around.
                      Around here the ground get very hard in the winter when there is no snow, it gets icy, etc. etc. She's much more comfortable, and much safer, with winter shoes on.
                      I tried to pull shoes once in the winter (with a different mare), when I was boarding at an indoor...but the footing in the pasture/ turnout was so rutted and hard, my mare was terribly uncomfortable, and I was concerned she'd bruise her feet or worse. I felt so bad, after 4 weeks, I called the farrier for winter shoes.
                      I prefer rim pads to snowball pads.
                      Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Keratex hoof hardener is a great product for toughening up feet. I have had great results with it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tradewind View Post
                          Keratex hoof hardener is a great product for toughening up feet. I have had great results with it.
                          Good stuff for the wall, but twice the cost of Durasole and not half as good at hardening the sole.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dmj View Post
                            ...how many do this? I have never lived anywhere that had a winter to speak of, but now that I do, I've been told it is safer to have my gelding barefoot for the winter months - as he will have more traction on ice/snow. OK. We did this Tuesday, pulled off all 4 shoes, he walked off fine, turned him out in the indoor, perfect. I came out Wednesday night to ride - walked out of his stall all funny, felt uncomfortable/not as forward/confused upon working in the indoor. Not lame, but not normal.

                            I'm sure he may need his feet to toughen up - ? He lives in a stall w a run, which has a gravel/dirt mix in the run.

                            I'll call my farrier to see what he thinks, just wondering what your experiences have been. This horse is and has been super super sound with no issues- and I would like to keep him that way He has always been shod all around for the year I have had him, he had fronts but not backs when I got him. Thanks!
                            It depends on the horse entirely. My Arab has never worn shoes a day in his life and I doubt I'll ever shoe him. We do endurance and foxhunt barefoot. He's never had an issues with snow and ice or traction on any surface really. I don't notice him slipping any more than the shod horses when the footing is iffy. He does have hoof boots for the couple of endurance rides we do where the footing is gravel for miles on end. Even then, he does fine on gravel for a good 10 miles. However, trotting on gravel for 25-50mi takes its toll without some kind of protection.

                            My ex used to pull his geldings' shoes for the winter. They wore shoes from about May-August. We're in Indiana so the ground doesn't really get terribly hard and frozen until December/January. Their feet always had the fairly soft fall ground to acclimatize to being barefoot again. They never had an issue with being barefoot for the winter.

                            However, they had done the barefoot for the winter thing for years and they did have several months of soft ground before the ground got really hard. If your guy has been in shoes for years and years straight, he will likely need some time to acclimatize to being barefoot again, especially if the ground is already hard.

                            The majority of horses (there are some exceptions...TBs often have terrible feet) will do just fine barefoot for most activities. A lot of it depends on what you're willing to put up with getting him comfortable being barefoot. A lot of times it can take a year for a horse to be *truly* sound barefoot in the way he was shod. A lot of people give up too quickly and put the shoes back on.

                            My best friend transitioned her gelding from shoes for most of his 12 years to barefoot. He is *almost* sound in all situations. He doesn't do well on rocky trails still so he wears hoof boots for those times. He went from ouchy on relatively soft farm fields barefoot in the beginning to happily trotting on pavement now. It has however, been almost a year of transition. It will probably be another 6mo or so before his feet have grown out 100% and he has an entire hoof that has never seen a shoe.

                            Is it safer in the snow barefoot? In some ways yes. However, it depends on the shoes. If you have borium on them and have snow pads, its not necessarily such a big deal.

                            If your guy has never been barefoot on gravel, I'd say that's probably why he's sore.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I second trying the Durasole. It is really good stuff.

                              Growing up in PA as a kid we always pulled shoes in the winter. It was what everyone did in my area. We didn't have any issues with traction and very little with snowballing in the hooves.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                                I second trying the Durasole. It is really good stuff.

                                Growing up in PA as a kid we always pulled shoes in the winter. It was what everyone did in my area. We didn't have any issues with traction and very little with snowballing in the hooves.
                                we always did in Michigan, too. I wonder now if because we did it every year, so horses were only in shoes 6-8 months a year, contributed to it being easy. Then came WEF LOL
                                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                ---
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I've had horses in the Midwest my entire life (Ohio and Wisconsin), and I have never pulled shoes for winter. Neither has anyone else I know. Some people do snow pads or shoes with something on them (NOT borium, which can actually cause them to plant and not be able to pivot, which can cause soft tissue injuries). I keep my horse's shoes exacty the same in all seasons. He has bare hind feet now for reasons unrelated to winter (I pulled his hinds in summer), and he will stay that way. I do think he has better traction on pavement with the bare hind feet, but I wouldn't pull his shoes specificially for winter if I did not otherwise have a reason to.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I had a horse who needed to keep his front shoes on one winter for injury purposes, and while his rear end traction was perfectly fine on hard-packed snow, his front end slid everywhere.

                                    all of mine went barefoot in the winter. I just didn't wan't to deal with/pay for snow pads and studs. But all of mine were used to it, and we weren't working hard in the winter anyway. I also saw it as a chance to give their feet a break from shoes, and my farriers agreed.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                                      I've had horses in the Midwest my entire life (Ohio and Wisconsin), and I have never pulled shoes for winter. Neither has anyone else I know. Some people do snow pads or shoes with something on them (NOT borium, which can actually cause them to plant and not be able to pivot, which can cause soft tissue injuries). I keep my horse's shoes exacty the same in all seasons. He has bare hind feet now for reasons unrelated to winter (I pulled his hinds in summer), and he will stay that way. I do think he has better traction on pavement with the bare hind feet, but I wouldn't pull his shoes specificially for winter if I did not otherwise have a reason to.
                                      Same here, but I'm on the East coast. We don't get a ton of snow or ice but I've never changed anything for the winter. My horse would be unrideable without shoes so it's not an option for me.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I didn't have time to read all the other posts (just killing time on a Friday till work ends in 5 minutes) but wanted to respond quickly.
                                        I pulled my TB mare's shoes last winter because I was pregnant and not riding. I saw many advantages to it:
                                        a) saved $
                                        b) gave her feet time to grow out (she tends to pull shoes and therefore her feet get a little chewed up from time to time)
                                        c) kept snowballs from packing her feet when I couldn't exactly get up to the barn to pick them all the time (let alone bend over anymore when I was there!)

                                        It worked out great for me, and I decided to do the same thing this year! Now, my horse has flat TB soles, but for the most part she will stay sound barefoot for light riding or trails, so if I decide to ride over the winter I'm still OK. I also have a pair of Old Mac boots to use if I need to. Primarily though I plan on taking the winter off myself so it's really a win win I think

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