12-09-2009, 09:33 PM
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Erm, I think it depends on the climate. The OP said she lives in Alberta, which isn't all that warmer then here in Manitoba. Our girls are trimmed as regular as it gets, Shay-la is touching them up every 3-4 weeks and we still endure snowballs. I have no idea why, something about the way they snow and ice packs onto each other, maybe if I understood more about weather and the consistancy of snow I would have an answer, but it's definitely a huge issue up here in Canada for shod AND barefoot horses, properly trimmed.
Most people trim their hooves to be very concave, regardless of shod or barefoot, so I would attribute that to being a big part of the problem. Shay-la is trying some "natural trimming" on her old retired mare to see how it goes - it promotes leaving the frog to harden and callous as they do in the wild, and supporting the weight of the horse along with the hoof wall instead of JUST the hoof wall. I can imagine we'll see a reduction if not complete loss in the snowballing.
Anyway, all the tips were good - you HAVE to get the snow out. It can be tricky, but you can almost always find an opening near the heel to get the hoofpick under and get that first chunk out to start you on your way. PAM is okay, but it's so expensive for how little it lasts it's almost completely worthless. It kept my horses hooves snow free for maybe an hour and then right back to the same problem, so what was the point? I'd be more inclined to think shortening would work better.
And the snowballs are definitely a bigger problem in this transitional period of warmish snowfall - once it hits the bitter -30 and -40 temps, it doesn't much happen anymore, the snow loses it's consistancy to stick together.