Winter Hoof Care for Horses
Even if your horse is taking the winter off, his hooves are still on the clock.
Updated October 19, 2023
Hoof Growth During the Winter
While your horse’s hoof growth may slow down during the winter, it doesn’t stop completely. That means that your horse’s hoof support shouldn’t stop, either. Because hooves grow at an average rate of ¼” per month, the growth that you see at the coronary band now is the hoof that will be supporting your horse next summer.
Check out our timeline in this article on a year in the life of a healthy hoof to see how your horse will grow an entirely new hoof wall over the next twelve months.
Help Your Horse Put His Best Foot Forward
Whether your horse is barefoot or shod, working with a knowledgeable hoof care professional is key to ensuring your horse maintains healthy, well-balanced hooves. Along with setting up a regular hoof maintenance schedule and sticking to it, there are other things you can do this winter to help your horse put his best foot forward now and in the future.
Battle Winter Hoof Health Challenges From the Outside
Whether your pastures will be snowy or muddy this winter, wet weather poses a serious risk to your horse’s hoof health. That’s because frequent shifts from one environment to another – like a wet, muddy pasture to a dry stall – can cause the hoof wall to rapidly expand and contract, which may lead to cracks and other structural problems.
Do your best to limit the number of times your horse’s hooves go from wet to dry and dry to wet every day. Also, there are a variety of topicals that can provide additional support to protect against excessive moisture and harmful bacteria from entering the hoof wall.
Learn more by watching this video on the differences between hoof dressings like hardeners, oils, and sealants.
Build a Strong Foundation From the Inside
Nutrition is an area of hoof health that can’t be ignored, no matter what the season is or what the weather is like. Proper nutrition plays a vital role in helping your horse maintain healthy, resilient hooves, which is why daily support from a supplement is a smart investment all year round.
In fact, research has shown that supplementing with 10-30 mg of biotin per day may help support growth rate and quality hoof wall in horses who struggle with poor-quality hooves. Other ingredients to look for include the amino acids lysine, methionine, and threonine and minerals such as copper and zinc.