Hoof sensitivity on half-frozen, uneven ground?


Hi all!

I've recently noticed that my IR gelding seems to be walking more gingerly on the uneven mud in his run area. His carefulness coincided with a temperature drop here - from daytime temps in the low 50's to daytime temps in the low 40's with nighttime temps sliding down to 30-ish.

His diet is pretty tight - absolutely no grass, ever, no changes in hay or other diet stuff...nothing has changed since he was doing so well in the Fall, other than the temperature drop.
He went from very active, the first one to suggest play to his donkey best friend when they are turned out together, to being goaded into play by the donkey leaping in his face and basically being a pest until he plays with her - haha!!
He's still visually sound, in the sense that he trots on gravel and other surfaces without apparent lameness - it's mostly the way he's been moving at a walk and his lessened activity level that make me wonder how he's doing.


I've read about winter laminitis, and Fabio is very physically sensitive to cold [he gets obviously uncomfortable, no shivering, just body tension and grouchiness, without his blankets even in temperatures as "warm" as 50*] so I proactively got some quick-wraps to keep his front legs warmer overnight. Since the temperature drop, we've been religiously getting getting his front legs wrapped up every night - I can't see much of a change myself, but he LOVES having the wraps put on and he doesn't tolerate fussy things that don't actually make him feel better, so I have to imagine the wraps are giving him some benefits.

Anyway, since seeing how much he likes his current wraps, I've ordered some new ceramic-infused [hopefully warmer!] quick wraps for his front legs and plan to switch the "plain" quick wraps to his hind legs.

Should the wraps stay on during the day, when it's cold, if he's showing discomfort? Or is just overnight enough? I don't want to over-fuss at him, but, at the same time, I want him to be comfortable!!

I don't yet have hoof boots for him, but they are something I hope to get in the future.

Anyway, this behavior isn't all that new for him, he's always been one to step a lot more carefully when they ground is partially or all frozen - not that that makes it ok, but this isn't particularly abnormal for him, this is just the first year I've ever tried to do something about it!

Emily and Fabio
Gresham, OR USA
Sept 2017

case history: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Emily%20and%20Fabio
photos: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=9671

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