Removing ice balls from hooves?
 
 

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Removing ice balls from hooves?

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  • How do you remove ice balls from a horse's hooves
  • How to get ice balls off horse

 
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    12-23-2011, 01:26 AM
  #1
Green Broke
Removing ice balls from hooves?

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.
     
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    12-23-2011, 01:38 AM
  #2
Yearling
I've heard if you spray pam cooking spray on the hooves it will prevent iceballs
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    12-23-2011, 01:48 AM
  #3
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delfina    
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.
Try a few careful whacks with the claw end of a hammer at the heel, don't hit the hoof just the ice ball. If that doesn't pop it right off then the claw to pry it up usually works.
If your horse needs to keep shoes on ask your farrier about snow pads or rim pads.
     
    12-23-2011, 02:36 PM
  #4
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by lubylol    
I've heard if you spray pam cooking spray on the hooves it will prevent iceballs
Posted via Mobile Device
Unfortunately, it won't.




Are you able to get any kind of purchase through a corner under the iceball? The more leverage power you can get beneath it, the better off you'll be. Or bringing them into the barn for about 10-20 minutes to warm up will frequently make it slushy enough to help with removal. But they'll reform the minute you turn the horses back out....
     
    12-23-2011, 02:41 PM
  #5
Showing
Horse Hooves Care in Winter is what I can give you in terms of research. I've only experienced it once and it was on a mini. The ice was stuck on there very well but with a few whacks with a chisel, it came off.

Maybe having a spray bottle with hot water (like from a kettle) will help it melt faster?

Try putting vaseline around the hoof. The usually keeps snow from clasping onto things.

Good luck and if you find something that works, let us know!
     
    12-23-2011, 02:41 PM
  #6
Trained
What's worked for me in the past is to focus chipping at the heel so that I can get the hoof pick tip in at the back of the frog, then I pry it out. It is a pain in the butt for sure!
     
    12-23-2011, 02:48 PM
  #7
Trained
I pick feet with a claw hammer most of the winter here, it works really well and once you have the technique down pat it is very quick. A couple of good sharp taps on the ice ball, along the direction of the hoof usually gives you a place to hook the claw in and lever some if not all of the ball out.
     
    12-23-2011, 03:02 PM
  #8
Weanling
My horse doens't have shoes but I use vasaline on the bottoms of his feet, I put it on nice and thick and that helps some. At least it's slippy enough that the ice/snow doesn't stick to firmly.
     
    12-23-2011, 03:09 PM
  #9
Started
Most people pull their shoes in the winter here but I've heard of them tapping the ice ball with a claw hammer and giving a tug with the claw. WD40 or xcountry ski wax on the bottoms afterward.

Mine are barefoot year round so the problem only lasts a few minutes.
     
    12-23-2011, 03:35 PM
  #10
Green Broke
This isn't normal weather for us, generally we get a very light dusting of snow at night and it's gone by mid-morning. Everyone is stuck in the barn today, the whole world froze to a giant ice rink and I landed on my ass twice going back and forth to the spigot to soak feed this morning.

I shoveled out the tiniest turnout so the barn-wrecking pony could be outside and everyone else just got their stall filled with hay. Since the "extra" hay is a beyond amazing, certified, weed-free hay..... not one horse wanted to go outside.

I'll ask the farrier about pads or snow rims since he's due out in the next week or so but the warmblood's not mine so I can't change anything about his shoes unless his owner agrees.
     

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