I'm "horse-sitting" for the barn where I board. Last night we got 2-3" of sleety, yuck but this morning it was beautiful out and the yuck had turned into fine layer of very powdery snow, so I let everyone out since nobody wanted to stay in.
Checked on everyone mid-day, everyone was fine, so I replenished hay and left them to playing in the snow. Arrived a bit early tonight as temps had dropped to the negatives and was horrified to find the two horses in shoes, mine and a giant warmblood had HUGE ice balls on their front hooves.
Warmblood's were the worst, probably 5" thick, so I started with him. I chipped at the ice balls for 45mins with a hoof pick and it wasn't doing squat. I had a few sets of toasty toes in my tack box, so I activated those and convinced the warmblood to stand on them. Didn't do a dang thing, so in desperation since I couldn't leave him unable to walk, I got a bucket of water, held his foot up and poured the water on the balls with a feed scoop. That loosened/melted them enough I was able to chip them out. Horse was of the opinion that I was one nutso lady (oh the looks he gave me), but other than making ME hold up his dang big, heavy feet didn't care what I was doing.
Brought my horse in, no better luck trying to chip the ice/mud/hay/yuck balls out so I figured I'd do water. Yeah right, his utter fear of water extends to it being poured on his feet, so I fought with a terrified, rearing horse while pouring water on his feet, my feet, all over the aisle, all over me. Then still had to try and chip the mess out of his feet.
I am beyond cold, exhausted and filthy, oh and if you pour water all over the barn when it's below zero..... you get your own, personal, skating rink. So the barn aisle is now covered in shavings so nobody will slip.
Is there a better way to remove ice balls? It's only going to be worse tomorrow so if I can't come up with something better, the horses in shoes are going to be stuck in the barn all day.