Winter horse hoof care – be proactive not reactive!

I am definitely just about OVER this crazy Tennessee winter… cold, ice, snow, and worst of all, MUD.

Repeat with me… “just a little while longer, just a little while…”

One thing that’s making the winter slightly more bearable is keeping up with proper horse hoof care.  Being proactive is definitely easier and better than having to be reactive when problems arise.

The following tips for winter hoof care will greatly save you time, money and hassle in the long run.


  • Let pastern hair grow. Pastern hair protects the hoof head in winter. Keep a hairdryer handy to dry legs if scratches (a lower-limb infection caused by prolonged contact with dirt and moisture) becomes a problem.
  • Think ahead. Meet with your farrier to discuss any adjustment of the shoeing or trimming schedule over winter.
  • Create safe paths. Chart the safest paths between stalls and turnout area. Consider using landscaping materials, such as pea rock or wood chips, to “pave” the paths to provide better traction in light to moderate snow conditions.
  • Increase turnout time. Allow your horse maximum turnout time to get used to footing changes.
  • Check blanket fit. Make sure that your horse’s blanket fits properly and straps are snugly in their keepers. Remove any excess strap length. Your horse can catch a shoe heel on blanket straps and become entangled.

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