Is it really necessary to shoe horses? Do shoes come in a variety of styles? Is your horse in need of new shoes? This page explains why horses need shoes, gives some background information, and offers sensible advice on whether or not to shoe your horse. Continue reading to find out more.
Horse hooves are mostly composed of keratin, just as our fingernails. As they continue to develop, it is necessary to trim and file them on a regular basis to keep them in good shape. Horseshoes are designed to assist keep your horse’s feet in good condition by reducing wear and strain and helping to avoid hoof breaking.
Traditionally, horseshoes have been made of bent metal (more information on blacksmith supplies) and fastened to a horse’s hoof with nails. The horse is not harmed in any way by the procedure of driving the nails through the hard portion of the hoof.
Horseshoes have existed since the dawn of human-horse cooperation. Native Americans and ancient Asian riders used to cover their horses’ whole hoofs with thick leather boots. Horseshoes were also made of leather by the ancient Romans. They referred to them as “hipposandals” because of their shape. Variations on this shoeing technique are becoming increasingly popular nowadays.
It’s been estimated that the first mass-produced horseshoes appeared in the 13th or 14th century. However, old Etruscan graves and ruins include hand-made bronze horseshoes going back to the year 1000 AD. Iron was the metal of choice at this point in history since it was readily available.
Horses in the wild do not require shoes. Their food is exactly what it should be, and they’re free to roam across a variety of largely dry terrain. The soles of wild horses’ hooves develop thick and robust as a result of their frequent travel across rough terrain.
Soft, heavy earth in pastures does not provide horses the same amount of footwear as dry, parched ground did. Horses who eat primarily grain, walk on soft surfaces, and have minimal mobility tend to develop hooves with thinner bottoms and are more brittle than other types of domesticated horses. As a result, their hooves are more prone to breaking and cracking than to wearing down evenly and smoothly over time.
Stall-bound horses confront additional difficulties. Ammonia from urine collection weakens the keratin in the hoof wall. Changing your shoes will do nothing to help. Stall management and cleaning are critical for a variety of reasons.
Those who work in the field of farriery are well-versed in the anatomy and physiology of the hoof, as well as its construction. A small portion of their duties include shoeing horses. Your horse should have his hooves trimmed and shoes adjusted or changed every two months by a licensed farrier.
Preventing orthopaedic problems is made easier with frequent farrier visits. Ligament injuries, Navicular disease, contracted heels, sand cracks, bruised soles, slipper foot, tendonitis, laminitis, flat feet, and corns are just a few examples.
Real farriers are educated in veterinary medicine as it relates to horses’ limbs and feet. Before permitting your farrier to work on your horse, make sure to examine his or her qualifications. If you haven’t been properly taught, we don’t advocate doing your own farrier work. Injuries and lameness can be caused by poorly trimmed hooves.