Does the sound of sleigh bells set your nerves on edge, anticipating a wreck on the icy patch down the road? Do you dream of the day next spring when you will be able to see your horse below his knees? Do you lie awake at night designing heating wires that can be implanted in horseshoe pads to melt the ice balls? Have you dreamed of sandpaper inserts for custom hoof pads? If so, you are not alone.
Winter sends snowbound horse owners into a tizzy. There is too much to think about: tangled blankets, frozen water tanks, and snow depths that allow horses to walk over fences. Then we have to worry about horses slipping on ice or balling up in snow, or we just generally feel insecure about whether or not we should pull our horse’s shoes.
With the help of an opinionated group of farriers from around the world (including a few from Scandinavia, who thought that having to ask about winter shoeing was absurd), The Horse presents 10 suggestions that might help you survive a winter without ulcers. Try to master all 10 tips; then pray fervently for a mild winter anyway!
Get out the calendar. Look at past years’ calendars, and try to remember the dates of First Frosts, First Snows, and First Real Snow. "Real Snow" is the stuff that hits the ground and stays for more than a few days, if you live far enough north to have that type of snow.
With calendar in hand, discuss with your farrier when to initiate any changes in shoeing for winter. Find out if the farrier is planning to be away during the winter (many farriers migrate with show clients to southern states) and what sort of schedule your ho