You undoubtedly know what a horseshoe looks like. Even if you have never ridden a horse, you likely are familiar with their shoes.
Why do people put these things on horse hooves?
The main reason to show a horse is to help keep their hooves in good shape. The horse’s hooves are the same thing that your fingernails are. On the bottom side of their hoof, you will find a soft spot. This area can be injured when the horse is being ridden or is running across ground that may have a rock or something on it.
The shoe protects the hoof and prevents injury.
The steel shoes are the most common, but racehorses weigh aluminum versions.
What else do we not know about the horseshoe?
How Much Does A Horseshoe Weigh?
The average horseshoe weighs about 2 pounds and 8 ounces. These shoes do come in weights up to five pounds.
A farrier is called to shoe the horse. They nail these shoes onto the hoof of the animal, and then they bend the nails over so they do not protrude.
There are no nerve endings in the hoof so the horse does not feel any pain or discomfort.
Because the hoof is made of the same thing as human fingernails they grow like human fingernails.
The shoe has to be replaced when the hooves grow out and overlap the shoe. This usually takes four to six weeks.
Benefits of Horseshoes
By putting shoes on a horse, you will reap certain benefits.
These benefits include:
- The shoes protect the soft portion of the hoof from being injured
- They help improve the balance of the horse
- They help the horse have increased grips and traction on certain types of ground
The Cons of Horseshoes
- The horse that is not properly shod is more likely to injure its foot than one that is barefoot or properly shod
- The cost of the shoes and the farrier to put them on
Unshod or Barefoot Horses
When horses are kept in a soft pasture the ground is not rough enough to naturally wear down the hoof. Keratin grows quickly and you will have to keep the hooves of a barefoot horse trimmed and filed to keep them strong.
Leaving the shoes off of your horse will save you from having to spend about $120 every four to six weeks. In a year that can really add up to some savings.
Barefoot horses are more likely to suffer from stone bruises and other injuries. A stone bruise can cause a horse to favor their foot and if you continue to work them after they have a stone bruise it causes extra pressure to be placed on the other leg and foot and the result can be a twisted ankle or worse.
Why Do Racehorses Wear Aluminum?
The aluminum shoes are lighter and they give the animal a more natural feel than the steel shoes do.
The aluminum shoes weigh close to two pounds than five. Racehorses and barrel horses need to be as swift and surefooted as they can be. The aluminum or titanium shoes are less bulky and lighter so the horses can run faster.
Aluminum shoes cost more than steel shoes.
Sometimes a steel shoe can be used more than once if the wear on the shoe is not too great.
An aluminum shoe cannot be reused so you need a completely new set of shoes each time you have the horse shod.
Did You Know
- Male horses have more teeth than female horses
- Putting horseshoes on a horse that has a problem with balance can increase the confidence of the horse and remedy the balance issues
- The average horse weighs 1000 pounds. With that amount of weight putting pressure on the hooves and ankles, it is not a real surprise that horses injure their feet often, especially when they are walking on hard surfaces.
- If a horse has to walk on asphalt very often their hooves will wear down faster and they will have more issues with painful feet
- Horse hooves can crack and split making them painful and making it unsafe for the animal to try and run
- Putting shoes on a horse may not be brain surgery, but it does require skill and finesse. A farrier has to complete four years of apprenticeship with an approved farrier before they can register with the Farriers Registration Council
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Do Horseshoes Cost?
To have hooves trimmed and shoes put on will cost you about $120 dollars.
Does It Hurt The Horse When Shoes Are Put on Them?
It does not cause the horse any pain when they get shoes put on.
What Do They Call A Person That Puts Shoes on Horses?
They are called farriers.