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!
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.