6 Tips to Horse Hoof Care in the Winter Season


The winter months are hard for everyone, especially any animals left outside! We know how to bundle ourselves up in the winter and protect ourselves from the cold, but do you know how to protect your horse’s hooves, which are susceptible to damage from the dry winter air and ice? Here are some important tips to keep your horses happy and healthy during the bitter cold winter months:

Know how to combat slower hoof growth

During the winter, your horse’s hooves will grow slower. Whether this is due to the colder temperatures slowing your horse’s system down or the work (or lack thereof) he is expected to perform, this slowing of your horse’s natural hoof growth can be troubling. Slow growth can delay the discovery of defects on your horse’s hooves, so keep your horse’s active with plenty of walks or exercise to be sure that they are not experiencing any pain.

Use sand or wood ashes to help your horse move

If your horse will be outdoors among the elements, consider placing sand, wood ashes, or wood chips to help the horse feel more comfortable. Icy situations are dangerous for your horse, so remember to proceed with caution and be patient!

Keep an open conversation with your farrier

Snow and ice – and cold weather in general – will change the growth of your horse’s hooves as mentioned above. This may result in seeing your farrier less often than usual. Be sure to ask what tools your farrier uses to fix your horse’s hooves, as they are more vulnerable during the colder seasons.

Change horseshoes if needed

Some horses may need to wear different shoes during the colder months. Anti-snowball rim pads, for example, attach onto the shoe without covering the entire hoof, and this may make it easier for your horses to stay active. Talk to your farrier about the best options for your horse, and consider the horse’s activity level as well.

Accelerate capsule growth

Making sure to accelerate the capsule growth in your horse’s feet will help weaker-footed horses stay healthier during the winter. Be sure to have your farrier and vet choose the right sole depth for your horse’s needs! By doing this, you can help protect your horse from moisture-related bacteria during long periods of rain or snow.

Remove obstacles and hazard

This is probably the cheapest way to keep your horses from getting injured during the winter! Take flower pots away from your horses if they are nearby, as they tend to suddenly break from cold temperatures. Make sure to keep the areas around your gates dry as horses can slip if they gather near it. Always stay alert to changing conditions.

About Big R

Bill and Pat Crabtree originated the Illinois Big R Stores in 1964 opening the first store in Watseka, Illinois. To date 20 stores have been opened in Illinois and Indiana; 2 stores in Ohio and 1 store in Wisconsin and we are still proud to be family-owned and operated. Our 12 Illinois stores are located in Watseka, Gibson City, Danville, Tilton, Pontiac, Morris, Pekin, Washington, Rochelle, Homer Glen, Streator and McHenry. Our 8 Indiana stores are located in Warsaw, 2 locations in Elkhart, Rochester, Wabash, Crawfordsville, Michigan City, and Marion. Our 2 stores in Ohio are located in Lima and Findlay. And 1 location in Wisconsin in Burlington. The offices and warehouses for Big R remain in Watseka, IL. Farm and Ranch store owners in the western states started the Big R brand name; they chose the name "Big R" to convey the "Ranch" identity. The Big R group is now comprised of 12 independent owners with store locations throughout the U.S. They all are members of Mid-States Distributing Company of St. Paul, MN. The Mid-States Coop has over 600 stores throughout the United States and Canada.