HOW TO REMOVE ICE BALLS
Prying a solid chunk of ice out of a horse’s shoe can be difficult, and an ordinary hoof pick may not be up to the task. Leaving the ice in place to thaw on its own is not a good idea— even inside the barn, the ice may not melt readily, and in the meantime your horse is risking serious injury with every step. It may be tempting to go after the hunk with a chisel or a screwdriver, but you want to avoid using sharp objects. You could easily cause a puncture wound to the sole or frog.
Instead, try one of these methods: A small hammer can be effective if you tap the flat side of it gently against the side of the shoe (never the hoof itself). If the ice loosens but does not pop right out, carefully insert the claw of the hammer under the ice below the horse’s heel, and gently pry outward. A hair dryer on its highest heat setting can help to warm up the edges of the snowball so that it melts enough to slide out. Make sure your horse is acclimated to the sound of the dryer before you use it near his feet. Set the horse’s foot into a bucket of very warm water until the ice melts. Make sure the foot is clean and dry before turning the horse back out into cold, wet conditions.