EQUUS - - Prevention -

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.

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