The winter months can provide you with some of the best scenic riding that you can experience. This is also a time to take a little extra care of your horses feet.
There are multiple options for protecting your horses feet if you decide not to go barefoot (as I do not recommended to go barefoot in the winter due to the harder ground).
Screw in studs are often a popular choice for riders. They are often seen on horses that compete in areas such as cross country and other types of competitions. If you have ever played a sport you can relate to the feeling of a stud. They resemble the feel of a cleat to a football or baseball player.
Just like anything in life there can be complications. Installing them can be tough and might require the assistance of a professional. On the other end of the equation you also have to determine how often to take them off. I recommend doing so after each ride.
These actually sound like something out of a movie but they are real. And no, they are not made of ice. These nails help in gaining grip with the ice and snow when riding in the winter. One of the benefits is the duration of the nail usage. They can be replaced as often as a normal shoe by the farrier.
There is a downside to these however. They will wear down, especially if you are an everyday rider. When they do so they do not grip as well. This might end you up with an extra visit or two from the farrier this season.
All horse owners know that the frog of a shoe can be dangerous. Thrush can develop in this area and put your horse on the sidelines for a while. Snowball pads can catch some of the less compacted snow and damage the horses feet in this area. The casing can also cause bruising to the frog, which can also put your prize buddy in the stalls for longer than you want.
They are a great way to reduce the clumps of snow during your ride. This pad can be nailed or can be a slip on, and tends to protect the shoe, for the most part.
Hoof grips can also be used. If you have ever used cushion pads when shoeing your horse, you are familiar with this product. This is usually used by horses with sore feet. They do only cover part of the horses feet, this is to give easy access to the frog for cleaning.
No matter what directions you go, make sure to keep a watchful eye on their feet. Doing this will ensure a great ride every time.