Updated: Nov 25, 2021
In the wild sport of Skijoring there are many questions floating around about what type of shoes your horse should be wearing, if any at all...
It is best to consult with your farrier what options might be best for your current situation, but here are some ideas to start the conversation
"You can always go barefoot" - Barefoot hooves actually have tremendous grip on the terrain. Even on slick surfaces, they can get a way better grip than a traditional plain horseshoe. If your horse can handle being barefoot, this is a great option. Not only does it aid in the natural flex of the hoof while running, it prevents snow balls from forming inside the shoes.
If your horse cannot handle being barefoot, there are many other options. These include shoes that have borium welded onto them, ice nails, and cleats/studs, etc. There are many benefits to each of these options, as well as some draw backs.
An important thing to remember with any shoe option is the chance for snow-balling. This occurs because the snow gets packed inside of the horseshoe, and essentially freezes into a hard ball. This can make even walking a difficult task for your horse. While most snowballs will release during galloping, this can be dangerous for the skier in the sport as they fly back at them. Snow-balling can be remedied by either applying snow rims or poppers under the shoe.
"Without a hoof, there is no horse" - No matter what you decide to use for horseshoes during the winter season, or lack there of, it needs to be suited to each individual horse and this is where the expertise of your farrier comes into play.