Trimming Tips in Extreme Weather Conditions
Whether it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit and humid in Texas, or minus 10 in North Dakota, extreme temperatures affect how people take care of themselves. Just as humans prepare their bodies for intense winters and summers, horses, and their hooves, need active preparation and attentive care to maintain their health during these seasons.
First and most importantly, note that hooves tend to grow slower in extreme temperatures, whether it be high or low. Especially in the dead of winter, feed grasses have fewer nutrients and the horses do not receive as much exercise, both factors slow their bodies’ circulation. With this in mind, try to keep the same hoof care routine, because, like a human haircut, trimming keeps hooves even and avoids growth distortion. It’s also beneficial to keep the horse on its regular trimming schedule since it’s mentally used to it, and throwing off the routine can alter a horse’s muscle memory. However, you may not have to remove as much foot when trimming during severe hot or cold weather because the foot doesn’t grow as much. Perhaps trim a quarter of what you typically would.
The moisture content of your horse’s stomping grounds should also be on your radar when the weather changes. If you know a major shift in the weather forecast is about to take place, prepare the hooves for the changing moisture levels to prevent bacteria build-up and to keep the feet strong and healthy. When the heavy rain season is just around the corner, apply a pour-in pad as a preventative measure. Pour-in pad materials like Equi-Pak CS are an effective barrier to prevent overhydrating or dehydrating hooves. Moisture is lost and gained through the soles, and fluctuation between wet and dry is the hardest thing on the feet.
Talk with your farrier about how weather changes, from wet to dry or vice versa, can affect a horse’s hoof health.