Winter in the Lower Mainland struck fierce, and particularly long this year. The cold weather doesn’t seem to want to give way to spring just yet, and icy fields and paddocks are risky business for horses during turn out. Training in the early mornings before daily temperatures rise is also prime time for slipping. How do you prevent your horse from succumbing to this sometimes nearly invisible foe?
Horse Shoeing For Winter Weather
Just like humans benefit from extra grip on the bottom of their boots in winter, properly shoeing your horse for icy conditions can make all the difference. Adding studs called “corks” to your horse’s shoes will help them find their footing a little easier on ice on days when below freezing temps have turned his field or paddock into a skating rink. It’s always best to discuss with your farrier the best shoeing options for your horse and needs.
Spread Sand To Prevent Slipping
Spreading sand, straw, and even manure over ice gives your horse better traction. Horses are smart creatures and know when conditions are less than optimal, so they’ll do less when possible. But when it is time to mobilize, a gritty layer will combat treacherous ice.
Minimize Training To Reduce Risk
During particularly bad cold spells, consider exercising your horse less frequently to decrease the possibility of injury. Head out two, to three days a week instead of five, and wait until the weather has reached peak temperatures for the day in hopes that most of the ice will be melted.
Roll Out the Red Carpet To Prevent Slips
Keep old rugs stashed in the barn, then roll one out over particularly icy patches and you’ve got yourself a ready-made walkway for your horse. Make sure to mind the backing and positioning so it won’t slip; trailer or stall mats work as well.
How do you manage icy conditions to ensure your horse’s safety? Share with us!