(This is Part II, to read Part I of this article click here)
Snow Pads: An alternative to bare feet is what’s called the “Snow Pad.” This option is for horses that require the support of shoes and who are ridden regularly during the winter months. This could be a full hoof pad or just a rim pad that follows the guide of the shoe. Pads help prevent the snow from accumulating in the hoof. Generally, hoof pads are used on the front feet while the hind feet are left bare. Snow pads are pretty darn good at reducing snowball build up in an equine's foot.
Caulks and Borium: Many riders choose to add caulks or borium which are studs that stick out of the bottom of the shoes. The concept is to provide traction on icy ground. Again, the back feet are generally left bare. Caulks and borium can be used together with snowball pads to reduce snowballing as well but experts agree that adding this type of traction material to shoes seems to work better on bare ground than on snow or ice.
Hoof boots: A relatively new option that horse owners have is the Hoof Boot. These types of pull-on boots can be found with removable winter studs. Two suppliers include Easycare (easycarein.com) and Stride Equus (www.strideequus.com).
For more information about winter care for your horse obtain a copy of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension recommendations at http://www.esc.rutgers.edu/downloads/fs1142_WinterCare.pdf
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QUESTION: What percentage of horse owners leave their horses barefoot during the winter?
ANSWER: According to www.thehorse.com, fifty-two percent of thehorse.com readers leave their horses barefoot at all times while twenty-one percent of readers pull the shoes off for the winter.
For more horse-related articles by Marcya Roberts click here.