How Often Should You Shoe Your Horse?
Why is Reshoeing Important?
A horse’s hooves can still grow even when they’ve got shoes on, which is why a regular schedule of reshoeing is needed. As the hooves grow, any nails that are holding the horseshoe to the hoof will get looser and this can be incredibly painful. Reshoeing provides an opportunity to strengthen the application as well as keep their hooves in good condition.
How Can I Tell When My Horse’s Shoes Need Resetting?
If you don’t have your next reshoeing appointment booked in, there are a couple of signs you can look out for so you know when it’s time to re-shoe and rebook an appointment with your farrier.
- The hoof looks out of shape in comparison to the horseshoe
- The horseshoe seems warped on the hoof
- You can see loose nails pushing up from the hoof
- The horseshoe is very thin or worn out
Once you start to notice any of these signs, it’s important to make sure you schedule a reshoeing. Ignoring any of these signs could ultimately lead to your horse’s hooves becoming damaged, as well as causing bone problems.
How Does Reshoeing Work?
Your farrier will start by removing the horseshoe, trimming the hoof growth underneath the shoe, shaping the hoof and nailing or gluing the same shoe back on. Sometimes, your farrier might need to reshape the shoe, depending on the wear and if any damage has been caused.
There are times when shoes will need to be completely replaced, but most shoes can be reset as long as there is no excessive wear to the metal. If your horse is regularly riding on grass or soft land, there’ll usually be no need to replace it. If, however, you’re riding your horse on harder surfaces such as gravel and rock, they could thin down quickly.
Should Your Horse Wear Shoes or Go Barefoot?
Horseshoes only became popular once horses were domesticated and, as a result of carrying more weight, needed their hooves strengthened to cope with the additional load. Some people believe that horse hooves are strong enough without a shoe, so they go barefoot.
While the center of the horse’s hoof is sensitive, the outside is extremely tough and doesn’t feel any pain. However, there are many advocates of barefoot horses that claim hoof problems can be sorted with more natural ways and with the talented help of a farrier. These methods include changing a horse’s diet and natural trims to the horse’s hooves.
Should You Shoe Your Horse?
It’s essential that all horse riders should pay careful attention to their horse’s footing and the levels of comfort available. If your horse’s hooves are getting worse, your farrier may advise gluing on horseshoes instead of nailing them on.
If your horse is regularly carrying heavy loads or navigating difficult surfaces, horseshoes exist to strengthen and keep their hooves safe. Special horseshoes can also be used to provide extra grip in snowy or icy conditions.
The Dangers of Horseshoeing
While horseshoeing should be a safe and relatively simple process when it’s carried out by an experienced farrier, things can go wrong if they aren’t done correctly. Poor work by an inexperienced or rogue farrier can cause damage to your horse’s hooves. In addition, if your horse’s hooves are already worn and brittle, applying horseshoes with nails could cause additional damage.
Nails can sometimes be inserted incorrectly which can cause long-term damage. If a trim hasn’t been carried out correctly and the horseshoe is improperly placed as a result, your horse could cause damage to itself every time it walks. Having horse insurance can help protect you from any unexpected vet bills that might arise as a result of poor reshoeing.