Should You Shoe a Horse in Winter?

As the seasons change, your horse has different needs, in both health care and equipment. During the summertime, horses need to be kept cool, among other things. In winter, they need both warmth and stability. This raises the ever-popular question: should you shoe a horse during winter? Here, we will take a look at some of the ways winter shoeing can be of great benefit to your horse.

Traction on Ice

The cold, hard winter ground can be slippery even without snow or ice present. Shoeing will allow not only for horse hoof protection but for increased stability in cold conditions. Hooves grow more slowly in winter and thereby can be worn down much more quickly. And when conditions are icy, it’s more important than ever to have the animal wear shoes. Everyone appreciates being able to walk around in winter without slipping, especially your horse!

Protection from Damage

Wild horses don’t need shoes because they don’t “work” the way domesticated horses do, and wear down their hooves far more slowly. Domesticated horses, however, wear down their hooves more quickly than they grow, and that’s why they need shoes at all. A farrier will want to maintain your horse’s hooves and shoes most especially in winter, so that any problems can be identified and treated right away.

Easier Hoof Care

Farriers will generally recommend that a horse is shoed in the cold and icy months of the year. Just like during the rest of the year, horse hoof protection is of utmost importance. The hooves need to be checked regularly, picked out, and maintained. Wearing the shoe keeps the hoof in a stable condition. This means that care is easier and more predictable for the farrier. Any problems with the hooves can extend to issues with the feet, legs, and even muscles, so keeping shoes on the horse in winter will allow the farrier to more diligently and meticulously care for your horse.

Whether or not you decide to shoe your horse in wintertime, you will want to understand all the risks and benefits of choosing to keep the animal barefoot. Making an informed decision is the best thing you can do. Speak with your farrier about this issue and listen to his or her advice. You love your horse and only want to provide the best care, so be informed, listen to your farrier, and make the decision that will suit you best.