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Discussion on Frozen hoofs

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Lori
Member
Username: maggienm

Post Number: 914
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Thursday, Jan 8, 2009 - 2:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

This past week as I have been struggling to pick the ice out of my horses hooves, trying to dig the ice out of the sulcus. It occurred to me that one of the problems I hear about horseshoes is that they restrict the movement of the frog.
It seems the firmly packed ice and snow would restrict expansion and contraction even more than a shoe.
Is it harmful to the frog or foot if this ice isn't cleaned out? I was able to get the ice/sno off the sole but not out of the sulcus.
An observation I have noticed is the horse with deeply dished feet seems to toss the icepacks out of her feet more often and more thoroughly than the horse with flatter feet.

Just wondering?
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Fran C
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Username: canter

Post Number: 1817
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Thursday, Jan 8, 2009 - 4:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lori, if you can stand it, try picking up the hoof like a farrier would between your knees and put your hands over the ice. Usually it will soften enough to pick out somewhat easier. It also helps to put the horse in a bedded stall for a few minutes after bringing them in. Not sure if it's the heat from the hoof or the shavings, but that also seems to work to make the ice soften a bit.

I don't know if it's harmful not to pick out the ice, but I can't imagine it's comfortable for the horse
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3507
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Thursday, Jan 8, 2009 - 5:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lori, to get the ice balls out I have to use the claw of the hammer (carefully) when it comes out it is all clean.

I think your idea of constrictions and expansion is off a little bit. Most "natural trimmers" think mud and dirt packed in the frog area is good...I can't remember why, but I think for support. Some go as far as saying leave it in there for the most part. A shoe is placed on the wall, so the theory is, that is what keeps the hoof constricted. snow/ ice packed in the sole isn't going to keep the hoof from expanding...I wouldn't think, as the hoof wall is not constricted. If it is above the wall plane I could see and have experienced sore soles from excessive pressure, but that was just with thin soled Hank.
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Lori
Member
Username: maggienm

Post Number: 915
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Thursday, Jan 8, 2009 - 7:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yeah, I think maybe the cold was getting to me.
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Grace
Member
Username: gr8care

Post Number: 11
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 - 9:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Since we don't deal with a LOT of winter weather in our area, I'm certainly no expert. BUT--I was told that you can spray "PAM" (non-stick cooking spray) on the bottom of the hoof to eliminate packed ice-balls.

Does anyone know if this really works? We typically get struck with ice storms in early spring, so it would be nice to know ahead of time.
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 2263
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 - 9:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

One thing I noticed this winter with my current trimming schedule is that the horses have had very few snowballs in their hooves. There may be some snow, but it hasn't built up to the point of them walking like on stilts. I try to lightly rasp and do tweaking every 3 weeks. One has very flat feet, the other 3 I would say are average hoof concavity. It may be just that we haven't had the right kind of weather for the snow to build up,(we've had all kinds of weather!) but so far, so good.

I'll keep watching, and try to report back at a later date.

I've used a small hammer to knock out the biggest snowballs, and then I have an old wooden handled screwdriver with a very large end on it that I do more chipping & digging with.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 4402
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 - 10:19 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

When we lived in Truckee, CA where we got a lot of snow, and very variable temperatures, we had a lot of problems with snowballs. The worst ones were in feet that had shoes, as the metal seemed to cause the snow to really freeze and stick to the shoe. However, all the horses got them. I tried Pam, WD-40, shortening - everything I heard of. All worked for a limited amount of time, the WD-40 best of all, although I think it was probably the worst for their feet.

Imo, it's dangerous to leave the balls in their feet as it would be so dangerous for a horse to twist a leg; it's like a horses walking on high heels. They do melt off, usually, when the horse is in a stall; but I used to get them out with a screwdriver. Just dig from the toe and get under the ice ball, then just "pop" the ball out.

The only thing I could do that would keep the balls from forming after more than an hour, was to put snow pads on the horse. These work great, but also have some drawbacks.
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Lori
Member
Username: maggienm

Post Number: 918
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 - 11:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

What my little brain was thinking about is the hard packed snow in the culcus.

It is soo hard to get out, I was wondering if it is hard on the feet to leave that, not the snowball itself.

thanks
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 4405
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 - 11:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh, I've never had that stay in; all the snow popped out together. I'm surprised it doesn't melt out. I think I'd be concerned about it staying in there. It would prevent any spreading action of the frog, wouldn't it? Also, it seems like it would be like a rock and be so hard and possibly sharp that it could cause the foot to be sore.

How about pouring a little hot water on that area to melt it out. If the horses are where the ice and snow will pack in again, how about cleaning the area out really good and packing in some oakum or even clean sawdust or cotton to keep the snow from filling the area up again? Just thoughts; I'm sure no farrier!
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Lilo
Member
Username: lilo

Post Number: 1011
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 - 6:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have not had snow packing in my horse's feet since they are barefoot. In fact, I only struggled on winter with the horses being in shoes - after that, I would pull shoes in the fall. Now, my horses are barefoot year round.

However, I remember taking one or two milk jugs with warm water with me to melt the ice and get the horses off their "stilts".

Lilo
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 4410
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Saturday, Jan 10, 2009 - 11:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Bare feet don't pack as easily as shod feet. Also, the packing only occurs under certain snow conditions. In my experience, if it stays really cold, the snow won't pack; it's just when there is a lot of flucuation in the temps that the snow seems to pack. When it warms up and the snow gets slushy and wet, it packs too.
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Lori
Member
Username: maggienm

Post Number: 920
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Monday, Jan 12, 2009 - 1:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The horses have several acres to roam in so I can't remove all the snow. It has been -30 or colder for the past 2 weeks.

It is just where the snow is packing so hard in the culcus that I am concerned.
I am sure it has packed in there during past winters, but this year seems particularly hard to get out.
It is probably all the thinking/learning about trimming that has me wondering.

thanks for your thoughts.
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