The Horse.com http://www.thehorse.com/articles/34819/top-winter-hoof-care-tips?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=lameness&utm_campaign=11-05-2014
discusses winter hoofcare and advises that there is little circulation in the lower leg in winter. Obviously they’re imaging shod legs. But why would less circulation result in greater concussion? They only say harder ground can lead to sole bruising. Would be nice for a technical article like this to support their assertions.
“Beware of foot concussion Turner advises owners to take caution when riding in the cold. “Using thermal imaging in winter, we frequently can’t find horses’ legs,” he says. “There’s not a lot of peripheral circulation there. So, if you’re going on a trail ride, use common sense about pounding your horse down the trail; foot concussion prevention may be compromised during winter.”
Fleming adds, “In areas where it gets really cold and the ground frozen, horses that are fine during summer may get sole bruising. Keep that in mind, whether you need to put them in soft-ride boots or, if you’re doing conventional shoeing, putting pads in.””
I once removed the shoes from an Arabian horse, in the dead of winter. As I was handling his feet to remove the shoes I noticed his front legs were ice cold. Once the shoes were off, the legs warmed up noticeably in a matter of minutes. The owner was shocked. The hoof is a highly developed insulating mechanism. If it doesn’t have metal nails conducting cold directly into it and the ciruclatory elements (capillaries), the temperature will not be lowered, and will travel up the leg to keep the leg warm.