Most winters we’d have a soft layer of snow on the ground. This winter? We’ve alternated between mud and frozen. The mud softens up his feet and the hard ridges in the ground are punishing.
This week my farrier was out to trim him (and to drain the abscess o his right hind)and we agreed that while in general he does much better barefoot, this winter has been trying. When the ground goes into its rotational freeze I’m going to try putting hoof boots on him to give him some padding and protection. I’m also buying stock in Magic Cushion as I’ve found that packing his feet when he seems sore draws the abscess out right away and packing it once an abscess has drained encourages healing.
So why don’t I put shoes back on him? Because other than this episode of bruising his feet have never looked better. His hoof walls are thicker, his hooves are growing better and his frog is healthier. If I put shoes on him I’ll have to go through the whole cycle of growing out those nail holes in the spring.
How many of you keep your horses barefoot and what do you do when the ground is so hard?