December 13, 2012

The Snowball Effect

With the first snow comes issues that I've only heard about when it comes to horses and winter.  The days are short and dark, my energy level is low and I feel unmotivated to start much of anything.  The barn schedule is still clashing with my visits, I can't seem to avoid feeding time and the frenzy of the mare paddock.  The last couple of days Dani has had snowballs on her hoof sole.  She's barefoot so I wasn't expecting this!  Her layered blanket has come in handy, I put the extra layer under the outer one and am confident she will be nice and warm in the night.

The snowballing is worse on her front hooves.  The first day Steve was with me so he hacked away at the ice and my mare went from 15.1 back to her regular 14.3.  LOL just kidding.  I worry about her pulling a tendon with the wobbly snow pack under her feet but I can only come out once a day.  While in the snowy field I don't think it's a huge issue but inside and on flatter ground I'm sure she doesn't like the feeling.  I only had hoof oil with me so I globbed that onto her hooves in the hopes that it would prevent the snowballs or make them fall out easily.
Picture not my own but alas, when I went to get a photo of the
snowball on her hooves they didn't exist!!!

That night I did research on this issue.  For shoed horses they have pads that are placed between the horseshoe and sole that have a little pop out that will push snow out and prevent the packing.  I don't want to shoe her, have no desire at this point unless I find she needs it in the future.  I search high and low and found everything from Crisco, to PAM, melted mothballs packed into the sole and frog and then Musher Secret (a waxy substance used for mush dogs to prevent snowballs).  It's pricey and there is no local dealer.

The next day she had even more snow compacted into her hooves, still worse on the front but the back hooves were built up too.   It took forever to get the ice out of her hooves, apparently the hoof oil did not help.  I sent and email to my farrier and received a very prompt reply.  WD-40.  Hmm.  That could work!  I have to clean out the feet really well with a pick and a wire brush and then coat the sole and frog with WD-40.  I'll cross my fingers that this works since then I can just use this when it's going to snow and make sure that the snowballs don't have a chance!

I put the WD-40 on this evening, Wednesday 12/12/12.  It felt weird spraying my horses sole with WD-40 but my farrier said....  Today there was no snow compacted into her feet.  It may have gotten too warm to compact the snow and keep it in her hooves.  But I will keep you all posted as to how this farrier prescribed remedy works.  On a warmer day I intend to wash her feet well and then apply the good hoof oil so her feet don't dry out form the water repellent-ness of WD-40.  I'd love to hear of others remedies, surprised this occurs in unshod horses as well!  I just have to say though, Dani is so tolerant of having her hoof held for a REALLY long time!  What a good girl!!


Camryn said...

Looking forward to hearing more about the WD40, guess it's like duct tape and can be used for anything!

Reddunappy said...

If you dont like the idea of the chemicals in WD40. Cooking spray works.
Dont feel guilty about the time crunch and no horse time. It is Winter and that always happens.

Horseyhabit said...

Thats good to know, I just always had a hoof pick handy at the door to the barn!

AmberRose- Girl With a Dream said...

hmmm that WD40 is useful for everything, seems to be u can use it on everything!

look forward to hearing more

Emmi said...

Wow WD40 sounds great, I may need that for my horses hooves too. I am also right there with you on feeling unmotivated, this time change is really hard!