Cool Winter Tips for Winter Hoof Care

Long-time northern farriers share cold weather wisdom

If the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the National Weather Service are to be believed, much of the United States can expect a wet winter with above-normal temperatures. 

Depending on where you live, that could mean more snow or rain. Bear in mind that these early forecasts were made in August and their accuracy can be tenuous at best. 

Preparing for a Cold Day

What is certain is the warm blue skies of early September will be turning cold and gray before you know it. Farriers who typically work in frigid parts of the world often set temperature thresholds.

“Unless you’re in a heated barn, my biggest suggestion is don’t shoe in the cold if you can get away with it,” says Ray Steele, a Gill, Mass., farrier. “I have a rule that if the thermometer is below 18 degrees, I call everybody up and cancel the day.”

It’s a question of comfort and quality of work.

“What I’ve always told my customers is, if I’m really cold, all I’m doing is trying to get the job done so I can get out of there,” says the owner of Horseshoes Unlimited farrier supply shop. “I’m not really concentrating on doing a good job. I’m concentrating on just getting it done. If it’s windy, I do the same thing.”

Steele’s neck of the woods averages 53 inches of snow a year. When your area doubles the average annual snowfall of the entire country, there’s going to be a snow day or two.

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Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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