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The Importance of Frequent Trimming

Farrier trimming donky hoof

Keep Trimming Year-Round for Soundness.

   You may not give your horses' hooves much thought in the winter since you don't see them as often and aren't likely riding as much. But maintaining good trimming troughout the year will help prevent soundness issues when you are ready to ride in the spring, as well as preserve his future overall.
  First, even in the off season, they need maintenance. The horse is still using his hooves 24 hours a day to get around and if you don't keep up on their care, you just may have to deal with some set-backs come spring when you do want to ride. Horses can't take care of it themselves when they are domesticated simply because they don't move as much as feral horses. Domestic horses also live on softer, more contaminated footing than feral horses and the lack of abrasiveness contributes to overgrowth. If you have the privilege of owning horses, then it's your obligation to keep up on all their care, even when you can't ride.
   Second, in winter, it's often either muddy or frozen in most parts of the country. Moisture can be really detrimental to hooves.  Let's face it, most of us are more tempted to not pick out their hooves when we are freezing and don't want to get mud on our clothes. A regular check by the farrier/trimmer will not only help keep the mud from staying in the hooves as bad (excess length traps more mud) but will also notice the thrush that is just starting to set in and help you nip it in the bud.
   Third, also on the moisture issue, hooves that get overly long and wet are much more apt to bruise on the occasional ride. Again, hooves adjust to the environment they live on, and standing around on mucky hay does not make for tough hooves. Hooves soften in water, rocks don't. A bruise can fester into an abscess that can take a while to heal, another potential setback in the spring.
   So, while hoof growth does usually slow down a bit in the colder months trims are still needed. Remember that just because a hoof "looks alright" doesn't mean it's not ready for a trim. The goal is to prevent flares and cracks, not wait until you see them.  A good trim may keep the hoof looking nice for a little longer, but by the time they are chipping and cracking, damage is already being done, infections are being invited and bruising may already have occurred.. "Out of sight, out of mind" does not apply to your horses' hooves! 
   Healthy hooves year-round, mean a healthier hooves for a lifetime. Prevention is still worth more than cure, and a few simple trims can make the difference between early retirement and a rideable horse well into his senior years. So please keep your horses trimmed, every 4-6 weeks, he'll thank you for it and so will your pocketbook! Maitenance trims are cheaper and take less time than a vet call for an abscess and time off from riding.
    Frequent trim recommendations are not some conspiracy by farriers to get extra money. 4-8 weeks year round for most horses is perfectly resonable and if you can't afford them year-round, then you may be better off renting a horse in the summer than owning one outright.