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Horseshoes and Hoof Care Tips

Horseshoes and Hoof Care Tips

Horseshoes are used to protect the horse’s feet-it’s a simple notion that requires a serious approach. Steel and aluminum are generally used for horseshoes, and most shoes have an underneath groove to provide a better grip and make them lighter in weight.

  • Did you know that the front shoes are circular and the back shoes are a diamond shape?
  • The most important factors for horseshoes are trimming the foot and fitting the shoe.
  • You can personally evaluate four important aspects of shoeing: balance, shape, support, and expansion. This evaluation should be done within a week or two after the shoeing job-all you need is a pencil and level ground for your horse to stand on.

You might choose to remove your horse’s shoes during the winter if you don’t ride as frequently as in other seasons. What is winter like in your area? If your horse needs to remain shod because of snow and ice and being ridden all winter, adding pads under the shoes helps prevent sole bruises. Also, a shoe with added traction provides additional safety. If your region has mild winters, pulling the shoes benefits the overall health of the feet-the hoof has increased circulation, movement, and expansion.

What is the most valuable asset to your horse when it comes to horseshoes? A farrier: One who shoes horses. The name is derived from the Latin word “ferum,” meaning iron. Necessary qualities of a good farrier are:

  • Be clean, mannerly, and punctual.
  • Pay genuine and caring attention to your horse.
  • Exhibit willingness to educate you, the horse owner.
  • Schedule a visit every 6-8 weeks.
  • Offer a complete shoeing service.
  • Work in conjunction with your veterinarian.

Check out the credentials of your farrier. What is his or her level of certification? The level of expertise enables the farrier to perform corrective shoeing as well as other specialized requirements. Select your farrier carefully-choose him on his knowledge of the profession AND on how you relate to each other.

  • Pick out hooves daily. Remove all foreign substances from the sole and clefts.
  • Check the bottom of the hooves to make sure the hoof has not grown over the shoe.
  • Run your fingers over the outer hoof wall. If you feel rough or sharp nail ends, the shoe is probably loose and you need to call your farrier

By administering preventive maintenance and keeping your horse on a regular foot care program, you’ll save money in vet bills and hoof repair!

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