It has snowed almost foot here! FINALLY IT HAS SNOWED.
I have every intention of taking my guy for a snowy trail ride today. I do have a question though!
He has winter shoes on his front feet, they have little stubs on them. He has gel pads on his shoes as well. Will that collect snow/ create a slippery or dangerous situation? Any advice or thoughts on riding shoed horses through the snow? I want to do this as safely as humanly possible.
So your horse's shoes have studs, correct? That should help with the traction in snow. As for the gel pads, I'm not familiar with those, but then again I'm only a few months into owning a horse with shoes so I'm still learning about them. For the winter my farrier put special pads on my horse, she calls them "snowball popper" pads. They keep big balls of snow from building up on the bottom of the hoof inside the shoe and making your horse feel like he's walking on a big hard ball. I'd recommend you look into them, or ask your farrier about them. They are the black pad pictured to the right:
Oh, now I know what you're talking about. Here's a pic of what my horse had previously, before winter came. It's an aluminum Natural Balance PLR shoe with a special plastic pad between the shoe and the bottom of the hoof. In between the pad and the bottom of the hoof my farrier uses dental impression putty. (You can see a little bit of excess putty sticking out at the back of the hoof.) The purpose of the pad and the putty is to make sure that the horse's frog can still sense the ground when he steps. (My farrier calls it a frog support pad.) I'm guessing what your farrier is doing with the pad and the "gel" is similar to this.
Now my boy still has the NB shoes, but the snowball popper pads instead of the frog support pads. I would advise asking your farrier about them if you want to ride in the snow. Imagine yourself trying to walk with a superball in each shoe. That's what it can feel like to the horse if he gets a buildup of snow in the shoe.
I'm considering rubbing vaseline on the plastic parts before going out today. Does that sound like it would help?
It probably won't hurt and would probably help for just today, but I still say ask about those popper pads before the next time your farrier comes out (in case he/she needs to order them). They work REALLY well and then you don't have to take the time to rub Vaseline every time you want to ride. :)
Just out of curiosity, does your horse wear regular shoes or NB shoes?