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Barefoot horse snowballs badly, making him lame?

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  • Barefoot horse snowballs badly, making him lame?

    My QH gelding has some iffy foot issues in general. He needs a specific trim with a high heel. But his feet are in great shape with great concavity. Which leads to my problem, he snowballs badly and walks like he is dead lame because of it. This is the first time I've really had to deal with more than an inch or so of snow this season, and I can't remember if it was much of an issue in previous years.

    He gets snowballs to the point he is just standing on packed snow which makes it difficult for him to walk. He takes short ginger strides and it looks painful for him to walk. He was fine walking on the frozen mud ruts earlier this year though. What can I do to prevent these snowballs? Is it normal for him to look lame when he has them built up? He walks out sound (I think) after I pick them out. I don't have anywhere to trot him besides the aisle to see if he is sound at the trot.
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

  • #2
    Yes, walking on snowballs can make them move really strangely.
    My Equestrian Art Photography page

    Comment


    • #3
      Poor guy Have you considered the rubber snow rims? They work fairly well and don't cost much.

      Comment


      • #4
        Oops, he's barefoot, nevermind!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by SAcres View Post
          My QH gelding has some iffy foot issues in general. He needs a specific trim with a high heel.
          By definition, he is already lame.
          But his feet are in great shape with great concavity.
          High heels and a deep cup to the sole and you wonder why he is betting snow packed in his hooves..........
          Which leads to my problem, he snowballs badly and walks like he is dead lame because of it.
          I would expect no less.....
          He gets snowballs to the point he is just standing on packed snow which makes it difficult for him to walk. He takes short ginger strides and it looks painful for him to walk. He was fine walking on the frozen mud ruts earlier this year though. What can I do to prevent these snowballs?
          1. move to a more temperate climate, or
          2. Shoe the horse with a 'winterized' shoeing package consisting of shoes with traction added and anti-snowball pads, either full(bubble) or rim(tube) pads
          Is it normal for him to look lame when he has them built up?
          It would be abnormal if he didn't.

          He walks out sound (I think) after I pick them out.
          No surprise there........

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            No, by definition he is not already lame. Lame, by definition means unable to move normally. My horse moves out just fine when he is being trimmed correctly.

            I realize his high heels plus concavity lead to snowballing issues, sorry if I didn't make that clear in the OP.

            Thank you for clarifying that it IS normal for him to look so lame when he snowballs like this. I honestly wasn't sure if it was normal.

            I was hoping to get around actually showing him as it very rarely snows here and I don't know of any halfway decent farriers in the area. (although if someone would like to suggest a good farrier in SE PA please let me know!). My current one only does plastic/composite shoes...

            I'm assuming there isn't anything topical I can put on his feet or any type of hoof packing that would do the job. What about boots? Although I'm guessing I would have issues with the treads packing and causing the boots to build snowballs or become slick.

            I feel terrible about this, winters have been so mild lately I just haven't run across the issue, although I probably should have known since he packs mud in his feet as well (but of course that doesn't make him lame!).
            come what may

            Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes, the packed snowballs put a ton of pressure on their sole.
              Some people try cooking spray, Crisco, WD-40 and the like to help keep the snow out but I have never seen it work.
              Boots will probably have other problems in the snow.
              If his feet need to be this upright and cuppy, you'll probably have to shoe him with snow pads to help the balling issue.
              As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

              Comment


              • #8
                I carry a hammer or rubber-mallet with me when I go out to see my guy. If he's snowballing, I just whack the snow out of his hooves with the hammer/mallet. When I lived on property with him, I'd do it twice a day or as needed. It takes a few hours for the snow to build up and pack into hooves, so twice a day - at feeding time - took care of it.

                I've heard people using PAM in their horses' hooves to try to stop it from building up but I'm not sure how effective that is.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SAcres View Post
                  No, by definition he is not already lame. Lame, by definition means unable to move normally. My horse moves out just fine when he is being trimmed correctly.
                  Sorry, but you already stated that to be 'sound' your horse must be trimmed a certain, specific, way. Since sound horses are 'sound' over a range of hoof lengths, pastern angles, etc, your horse is, by definition, lame.

                  I realize his high heels plus concavity lead to snowballing issues, sorry if I didn't make that clear in the OP.
                  Since you already knew that, then the solution should also have been obvious to you, right?

                  Thank you for clarifying that it IS normal for him to look so lame when he snowballs like this. I honestly wasn't sure if it was normal.
                  You're welcome. As an experiment, tape a tennis ball to the bottom of your feet. Now walk around. To make the experiment easier, first cut the tennis ball in half.
                  I was hoping to get around actually showing him as it very rarely snows here and I don't know of any halfway decent farriers in the area. (although if someone would like to suggest a good farrier in SE PA please let me know!).
                  Might want to start here: www.pafarriers.com
                  My current one only does plastic/composite shoes...
                  That is not the definition of a 'farrier'.
                  I'm assuming there isn't anything topical I can put on his feet or any type of hoof packing that would do the job.
                  Not for very long or with very much efficacy.
                  What about boots? Although I'm guessing I would have issues with the treads packing and causing the boots to build snowballs or become slick.
                  Good thinking.......
                  I feel terrible about this, winters have been so mild lately I just haven't run across the issue, although I probably should have known since he packs mud in his feet as well (but of course that doesn't make him lame!).
                  Bet it would if it balled up like snow does.......

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Ok Rick fine, I really don't feel like arguing, my understanding of the definition of "lame" in the equine industry is a physical abnormality of the gait. But if you want to call him lame, go right ahead.

                    No, the solution wasn't obvious to me. Why assume that? Just because I know what is going on with my horse's hooves doesn't necessarily mean I know the best way to fix said problem.

                    Thanks for the link. I'll look into it. Are there any specific qualifications, certificates, etc I should look for? I've been using the same person for several years, I have no clue how to go about this.

                    Ok, so what do you call a person that applies plastic/composite shoes to horses? Trimmer isn't the right word, as they obviously do quite a bit more than trim.

                    I'm sure mud would make him lame if it balled up like snow but it doesn't so what is your point?
                    come what may

                    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't understand the attitude of these farriers.

                      I know mine is pretty good, she doesn't have time to go to message boards and be snarky or whatever it is. Her work speaks for itself, not her big mouth. Seems like Rick and Tom just hang around waiting for someone to post a hoof thread.

                      My horse has weird feet too and needs a specific trim. If she gets it, she's fine. If not, she's off. I wouldn't call her lame. She's got weird feet.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We knock/pick the snow out everytime we see the horses. I agree with those who say that when it gets really balled in-- a hammer is your best tool.

                        I've also known people to load the clean hoof up with vaseline before the horse was turned out. I haven't been around enough to know it that works, but people do it.
                        ~Veronica
                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                        http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SAcres View Post
                          Ok Rick fine, I really don't feel like arguing, my understanding of the definition of "lame" in the equine industry is a physical abnormality of the gait. But if you want to call him lame, go right ahead.
                          Just to be clear, if your horse is not trimmed to a rather precise set of parameters, does he limp or otherwise show any gait alteration?
                          No, the solution wasn't obvious to me. Why assume that? Just because I know what is going on with my horse's hooves doesn't necessarily mean I know the best way to fix said problem.
                          What other options were/are there. You either move, shoe, or boot, right?

                          Thanks for the link. I'll look into it. Are there any specific qualifications, certificates, etc I should look for?
                          Tenure, experience, references, type of horses in the custom, what is done for continuing education, professional organizations membership and activity, veterinary recommendations{perhaps}, How your interview goes, does s/he carry with him/her a forge and know how to use it?, etc. Additionally, if you have the time, it is a good idea to find out where the farrier will be working in your area and when and then just go and watch and listen.

                          Ok, so what do you call a person that applies plastic/composite shoes to horses? Trimmer isn't the right word, as they obviously do quite a bit more than trim.
                          a partial care, hoof care provider.

                          I'm sure mud would make him lame if it balled up like snow but it doesn't so what is your point?
                          Point being that you gotta compare apples to apples, not apples to road apples.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            IMO- i would find a regular farrier, have him apply shoes with rim pads. I have a horse who cannot go bf and he snowballs without the rim pads( one year it snowed early and i did not have his rim pads on yet-so i found out the hard way). it might be an expense but it is cheaper than letting him pull a tendon, or other injury.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pal-o-mino View Post
                              I don't understand the attitude of these farriers.
                              I don't expect you would.

                              I know mine is pretty good, she doesn't have time to go to message boards and be snarky or whatever it is.
                              For me, sometimes its knowledge sharing, sometimes its advice sharing but often its just amusement and entertainment. As concerns the horse, and particularly, hoof care, I consider it to be a moral imperative to counter fools and their foolishness and/or stupidity.
                              Her work speaks for itself, not her big mouth.
                              Of course, we are to take your word for that, right?

                              Seems like Rick and Tom just hang around waiting for someone to post a hoof thread.
                              Perhaps, because unlike most others who post on hoof threads, Mr. Bloomer and I have demonstrated more than a modicum of skill, knowledge and ability in the area of full care hoof care. What's your excuse?

                              My horse has weird feet too and needs a specific trim. If she gets it, she's fine. If not, she's off. I wouldn't call her lame. She's got weird feet.
                              Your opinion is not relevant to the facts. The fact is, you have just described a horse that is, by definition, lame. Now you can call it 'off' or you can call it 'tadpoles' but manure by any other name is still manure and it still smells.

                              Let me know if that's too tangental for you and I'll clarify the analogy for you.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Rick Burten:
                                1. move to a more temperate climate


                                Really? So helpful.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by ActNatural View Post
                                  Rick Burten:
                                  1. move to a more temperate climate


                                  Really? So helpful.
                                  Thank you. I thought so too. (insert ROTFLMFAO! here)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Amazing he has time to post on a message board. You'd think a farrier as great as he (thinks he) is would be busy 'round the clock. He must be shoeing and posting at the same time. Yeah, that's it.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by pal-o-mino View Post
                                      Amazing he has time to post on a message board. You'd think a farrier as great as he (thinks he) is would be busy 'round the clock. He must be shoeing and posting at the same time. Yeah, that's it.
                                      Absolutely. I learned multi-tasking from women such as yourself. LOL!

                                      So Pal-o, do you consider foolish and stupid to be multi-tasking? As the saying goes, 'if the shoe fits.........'

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Rick Burten View Post
                                        Absolutely. I learned multi-tasking from women such as yourself. LOL!

                                        So Pal-o, do you consider foolish and stupid to be multi-tasking? As the saying goes, 'if the shoe fits.........'
                                        You're the self-proclaimed shoe expert. You'll have to let me know.

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