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 Post subject: Horses slipping on snow
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
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As much as I like to take Blue out in the snow, I am now wondering if any work, ground or under saddle, is a good idea on snow and ice, even without shoes. I talked with a friend the other day who told me that a horse at their boarding barn had to be euthanized because of a broken pelvis. I believe it happened when moving quickly. The vet told her that this is a very common injury because horses can't spread their hind legs when they slip apart. I had never thought about this possibility before. :ieks:
Any thoughts on this?

Birgit


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:53 pm 
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Actually I never see my (barefoot) horses slipping on snow, except when they race around the pasture and then slip while taking a turn when they get their 5 minutes - but they never get so wild with me, only with each other, and it's seldom (I have only seen one of my horses fall twice or three times in all those years). If the surface is icy, they sometimes do slip, but then I don't play wild games or even encourage anything faster than walk.

So whereas those injuries sound totally scary, I don't really think you have to worry about letting a horse move on normal (non-icy) snow. :smile:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:55 pm 

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Thanks Romy, :)
what you say makes sense to distinguish between ice and snow. Come to think of it, the vet who had seen lots of fractured pelvises works on a lot of performance horses, esp. reining, cutting, cowworking etc. and I bet those sports increase the risk a lot.
I'll just not encourage wild play when the weather is questionable.

Birgit


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:05 pm 
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I ride or play when there is snow, i made no exeption. But...yes there is a but...
When there is ice or the snow get icy then i dont play wild games or go for a ride.

When your horse is barefoot, he won't slip just because of he is barefoot. His feet are made for this. When a horse is walkinig his feet will go in and out. A very short discription ;) because of that the snow will fall of again when he lift up his feet.
So you wont have much snow under it, so he wont be slippery. When you walk outside with your own shoes, you will slip because the sole get full of snow.

When you have ice then there is a difference. Then you need spikes, under your own shoes, carwheels or horse if you wanna go faster then walk.
As long you let the horse go and find their own way of walking there is no problem at all. When they are in a hurry you can get trouble.
But it is the same for humans, we can walk over ice slowly in our own speed. When we are chased whe will fall down.
Also quick turns are not so good, but most horses wont do that because they know what ice can do to them, they are not stupid :funny:
But you have give them the time to get experiences with snow and ice. So they can learn how far they can go and how to move.

i see unfortunately lots of horses kept inside when there is snow and ice. And sometimes they sneek out and start to run. They will fall down because they dont know exactly what snow or ice can do. And then you get problems.

Let your horse always outside even when there is snow and ice. Don't push them let them free and let them find out by themselves how it works. if you do this from the beginning when it start to snow, you wont get any problems as long you don't force them.
You can see by the snow pics one of my shetty's he is always going with the sled, we even trot and galop on tracks where it is possible and save.
He had never any trouble with a faster speed, when he thinks it is not possible and i think you can do it, we dont...
When he think i can go faster and i agree ofcourse, ;) then he may go faster.
I let him choose, so far it is save for both of us.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:32 pm 
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I was worried about going for a walk the other day, because especially the streets were very icy. I decided to give it a try and chose very carefully which side of the road I would walk so not to cross too much of the ice. My horse is still very young so he looks a lot left and right sometimes, not caring about the ground before him. When we had to cross the first patches of ice, he slipped once or twice, then he snorted, bowed his head low, licked the ice and then slowly crossed over. From then on, he watched his step more, bowed low whenever there was ice on the path and walked carefully. Sometimes he took the icy patches too fast for my taste, but I think we both learned an important lesson. He learned what ice looks like on the street and in the field - and I learned to trust the instincts of my horse.

If I had never taken him out in the snow and the ice, he would have never known the differences between deep powdery snow which can be traversed by bunny hopping, or sticky wet snow which gets very tiresome to walk through, or the icy crust beneath the snow which cracks under his weight, or the icy patches which can be walked upon when done very slowly.
Whenever I enter a deeper part of snow now, he takes his nose down to touch it, tests the support with his front foot and then follows me into it - and he has a lot of fun in the snow!

I think snow and ice can indeed be dangerous, but avoiding it all along does the horse no good either...

Volker.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:16 pm 

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Location: Western Cape, South Africa
mmmm...snow and ice, how about rocks, deep sand, brush and slippery mud?
This again has us looking at what our horses experience as they grow up. Barefoot can cope with all terrains, but the horse must have experienced it to know how to place their feet in order to move safely over or through the terrain needed. Obviously if the horse can experience it without a rider then he can place and balance as he see's fit.
We have no end of differing terrain where I live and it was interesting to see how Morgan coped with deep beach sand (hated that at first and lifted feet very high) and mole hills (the ground just gave way! :funny: ). During these times I gave him the word "careful" every time he needed to pay attention to the footing. At first this was followed by some manipulation of his body via my seat or hands to place him or slow him down and make him pay attention rather than just run through the terrain. Now he has this vocal cue it is easy to get him to stop and pay attention to what he is doing with his feet. I've even had him stop and look at his feet with a yelled "careful" when the whole herd rushed across a barbed witre fence that was on the ground.
It can be rather fun to experiment with steps/stairs and boggy areas to see how they figure it out, what starts as worried and rushed becomes a known entity.

I have also seen a horse break it's leg by rearing and coming down on wet grass (with shoes on) and the leg slipping out sideways, and also running up a concrete ramp that was wet and slippery. These things can happen even with the best management , just like you or I could trip on a pavement any given day......
Barefoot has the traction as long as the horse is looking where it is going and paying attention. So if you are worried about the terrain, expose him to it where you know he feels safe and won't get a fright and the ground is good. If he tends to be silly sometimes then obviously avoid hard and icy areas.
One thing I have learned (especially coming down big sand dunes and hills) is that horses don't want to fall over anymore than we want them falling with us, if they feel unbalanced or in danger of falling, they will make a plan to get off that terrain. :funny:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:50 am 
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My horses are meeting snow for the first time this winter.

When we go out, I am walking Stardust because he's still figuring it out and has the ability to fall over when it's dead dry in a sand arena. He's big and doesn't have the greatest balance, and isn't always strong enough to keep himself from going down if he loses his balance. And he's got shoes on and they can slip.

The blonde bombshell, on the other hand, I am letting do her thing off lead when we go for walks. She's a hoot! She gets going full barrel but is really sure footed. She navigates show covered terrain remarkably well, seeming to have a sixth sense about what might be underneath. The only time I've seen her off kilter was when she hit a fairly big patch of ice (we've got a whole series of little springs/seeps that freeze into sheets of ice at the bottom of the hill near where we walk when we're walking like decorous grown-ups and not gallumphing around like lunatics... :funny: ) -- she was really funny as she skidded forward -- her eyes got really big! :ieks: :funny: But she caught herself well.

I think shoes vs. barefoot makes a big difference -- and I think horses that are used to working in varied terrain develop a sense of how to negotiate it when it's got snow on it pretty well. I think Inge's advice is great -- we are learning about it, at the speeds that are appropriate for each horse, erring on the side of slowness with Stardust until we get all of these shoes off of him and he begins to get used to having bare tootsies.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:53 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
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Great input all around. Since Blue is always outside 24/7 and is barefoot I guess I shouldn't worry about it. Her pasture is on a slope but she does have lots of experience negotiating it.

Birgit


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:09 pm 
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Well, I just had to open my big mouth...

I just got back in from taking the kids for a wander.

We came out of the paddock, SD on lead and Circe at liberty.

She decided that she was bored with where we usually went and instead headed down the hill right to the big honkin' sheet of ice (nicely hidden under about a half inch of snow).

She hit it and promptly fell over.

Stardust was so surprised, he promptly fell over.

And he knocked me off my pins, so I promptly fell over.

This was us:
:ieks: :ieks: :ieks:

This was me once everyone got up:
:x :razz: :x :lol: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

We don't have a shred of dignity between us.
8)
Leigh

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:16 pm 
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:funny: sadly not on film for us :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:10 pm 
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.... BAHAHAHAHAH :funny: :funny: :funny:
I'm only allowing myself to openly laugh cuz no one got hurt ;) but know that your adventures nearly had me laughing aloud at work this morning. I can only imagine the looks on your faces.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:00 pm 
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:funny: :funny: :funny: :funny:

Leigh, that's another coffee-out-my-nose-all-over-my-keyboard incident ...

:x :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :l:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:29 am 
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I'm still laughing.

And crying, that I didn't have a camera on us -- we could all retire after winning the grand funniest home videos prize... ;)

It's our very own Icecapades! Kristi Yamaguchi, eat your heart out!

:funny: :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:01 am 
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:funny: :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:29 am 

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Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Leigh, really funny, and thank goodness no one was hurt.

I think barefoot improves traction, but it's not foolproof.

Daniel fell over piaffing to a mare who wanted his children, I was walking him along the lane (during his still entire days) and she ran the hedge alongside.
He got up and pretended it did n't happen.

Our field is hills and banks, quite steep, I see lots of Arthur slides down the hills, mostly because he's been racing and gravity takes hold of his weight. He has the stopping distance of an oil tanker at sea.

Ben has some problem, initially glut max but proved much deeper, he can't just walk it off, we think from slip or slide at turnout.
Most of my injuries have been not looking where I'm going or thinking I am athletic and falling over hurdles I intended to jump!
Padding required. Buy big trousers and stuff pillows inside to protect bottom and spine? xx

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