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newowner 12-14-2010 06:11 PM

ice built up in hooves
Okay a little background which will sound like a weather report.....In the last few days we had cold, then freezing rain which turned to rain and melted the snow and turned everything wet, then the puddles, for the most part, frooze, as it has turned cold again but they are not completly frozen.

The horses went out this morning and I guess have been breaking through some spots and have huge ice balls hanging off the fuzz on their feet...that I assume will melt off tonight as the barn (unheated) warms up with their heat. I did get rid of some of the ice balls but the thing that scares me a bit is that their hooves are JAM packed with ice and they are slipping on the mats in their stalls even with a thick bed of of shavings.

I tried to pick their hooves but I cannot budge the ice...any suggestions or is the best thing to do is wait and hopefully the heat will melt that out of their hooves overnight?

mbender 12-14-2010 06:20 PM

Ya that sucks! Mine don't come in for the night so I don't have to worry about them slipping but this morning I was out there and they all had packed snow. Looks uncomfortable but there isn't much I can do. I've read somewhere you can spray their feet with Pam but don't know if it works. I wonder if you could use a deicer? Just on the bottom of their feet where they wouldn't ingest it. ?? Guess we'll both find out.
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Carleen 12-14-2010 06:41 PM

Is there any way you could bring a bucket of warm water to the barn and soak their feet in it to melt the ice? I personally wouldn't want to leave them like that all through the night. And as mbender said, spray Pam on their hooves once they are dry and before you turn them out again and it should prevent this issue.

AdrienneS 12-14-2010 07:54 PM

We use ice picks to get the balls of ice out. They look like pointy hammers and they seem to work great with a little work on your part lol. I've also heard that putting vegtable oil on the hoof and all over the sole helps. I've yet to try it so I don't know if it works, but if you try and it does I'd love to hear about it!

Good Luck!

walkinthewalk 12-14-2010 08:06 PM

I have heard varying degrees of success using PAM and vegetable oil.

When I as kid on the farm, my horses had the ex-cow barn to run in and out of. They would get a tremendous build-up of ice to where they had trouble walking.

I would have to very gently take a hammer and screwdriver to break the top layers off. If the whole thing came off, that was great because I didn't have to finish up with the hoof pick.

I did that every morning at feeding time before I went to school and again at their night time feeding.

With them running in and out at will, it was the best I could do and thankfully no one got hurt from all that ice build-up.

If the ice balls on the fetlock hair grew to more than three or four, I cut them off because they would not melt away until the temps warmed up and the snow had melted below the hair.

I was careful to cut as little hair as possible.

ShutUpJoe 12-14-2010 08:57 PM

I was going to post this..I was! lol

My mini came in and was standing on her hooves odd. I picked them up and she had so much ice that it was a good inch past her hoof. I couldn't get the ice out so I ended up sticking her in her stall so that it would melt. It did but I can't really leave her in her stall all the time because she has COPD and starts heaving.

I think I'll try the vegetable oil you guys think baby oild would work as well?

MyBoyPuck 12-14-2010 10:50 PM

Crisco lasts a little longer than Pam, but it sure is messy.

Gus 12-14-2010 10:52 PM

o gosh!!! never had that happen before (live in desert) I would say soaking in warm water.....

Alwaysbehind 12-15-2010 08:39 AM

Are your horses shod?
If yes, then have your farrier put snow pads on them. They come in a couple of different styles. This will prevent the ice balls from developing.

If your horses are barefoot they ice balls usually pop out on their own pretty easily.

I have never had any luck with crisco or pam. Made a mess and that was about it.

To get ice balls out you simply have to be more determined than they are. MFM has shoes with out pads right now (she came to me that way) and she gets horrible ice balls. Sometimes I have to poke for a while with the hoof pick getting little bits at a time, but they do come out eventually. Just keep working at them.

mls 12-15-2010 09:54 AM

We use a rubber mallet. Anything else can slip and hurt the horse or your hand.

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