Editor's note: We are running our popular series on winter clothing (and potentially gifts) for the horse person in your life--or perhaps for you to buy for yourself! In this article we look at coats and pants designed with the equestrian in mind.
Snow and ice do a good job of complicating horse management, from turnout to riding. Horses' hooves are naturally designed to provide a bit of traction in the snow, but on the ice, they're not much help. Likewise, shoes can double as ice skates, and when snow gets packed into the hoof and trapped by a shoe—just forget it.
“Preventing the accumulation of snow and ice around your horse’s feet is an essential component of winter safety,” says Castle Plastic's Lindsey Serafini.
For riding and for general winter care, there are some well-shod options available.
* Mustad Drive-in Studs [Mustad Plug 9, 10, 11 1-2, 12]
Tungsten carbide tip studs offer traction on ice, snow and mud without requiring time-consuming permanent welds on your horse's shoes. They are designed to be long-lasting, so you can often reuse them when it's time for shoes to be reset. Shoe plugs are available in a range of sizes and shapes. Your farrier can help you decide which is most appropriate for your winter-riding or -turnout situation. mustad.com
* Castle Plastics Snoball [Castle Snoball]
Snoball pads are full pads that cover the entire hoof. The round-ball design in the center collapses into itself, toward the hoof, as the horse steps. As the horse lifts its foot, the plastic ball pops out and it clears the snow and ice that has attempted to accumulate. castleplastics.com
* Mustad No-Snow Pads [Mustad NoSnowPads]
These polyurethane pads are designed to keep mud and snow from building up between the shoe and the sole. The cushioned tube sits just inside the curve of the shoe and compresses and expands to push snow out of the sole as the horse walks. Mustad No-Snow pads also cushion against shock-related injuries and can often be reset for the next shoeing. Available from mini to “maxi” sizes. mustad.com
* Castle Plastics Sno Rims [Castle SqToedSnoRims]
Similar to Mustad's No-Snow Pads above, Castle Plastics Sno Rims are also available in square-toed design. castleplastics.com