Steel vs. Aluminum Shoes? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 06-02-2009, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Steel vs. Aluminum Shoes?

So I was wondering who uses what on this forum, aluminum or steel horse shoes? Why?

Some of the more annoying ladies at my barn think that if I put aluminums on my horse that she'll move much better and then I'll "win all of the classes." This sounds like BS to me. I know they are much more expensive than steel shoes and I have read that they wear down much faster. And these are the same women before that told me that I didn't have to worry about aluminums for my horse. Now all of a sudden they are pressuring me.

What do you guys think?
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post #2 of 33 Old 06-02-2009, 05:02 PM
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I think that aluminum shoes were designed for horses who do better with a very light weight shoe like racing TB's. If I am not mistaken, I think most of them wear aluminum. I personally prefer steel because when I do shoe my horse, it is because I am doing a lot of high impact actions (running and roping) on rocky or very hard ground. I need the hardiness of a steel shoe that will last a long time and not get bent or anything. For someone who does not need the security of steel or the low weight of aluminum, I think it is all a matter of preferance. If your horse is doing well in steel, then why change it?

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post #3 of 33 Old 06-02-2009, 07:52 PM
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Well I can give you a good opinion on both since I work with thourgbreds and ahve done other disiplinces.

First and foremost yes aluminum is lighter but they worp easier and need to be changed more often. They are generally used for throughbred for there light weight. But they get shod every 4-six weeks. Most of the time they get new shoes before they race. That can be every two weeks. But it rarely goes that often. You also have to consider that the average race horse is only out of there stall may be two hours at most and spend the rest of the day in the stall.
One other thing is that your black smith may charge more, the cost of aluminum is higher then steel.

As for steel it is more pratical for every day riding. Since the average riding horse goes out in the paddock and deal with rocks and harder surfaces. Steel can take it alot better. They will also last longer. It can also save you money because they can generally be reset for another use. So they can almost go 12-1 4weeks were as aluminiums need to be changed each visit 6 weeks because they warp easier.
That and if you have a heavier type breed aluminum will not with stand the weight well and you will end up haveing a spread shoe.

Also they weight of the shoe isn't that much diffrent. My horse performs on them just fine

I hope this was helpful for you
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post #4 of 33 Old 06-02-2009, 08:13 PM
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I've had experience with both. Aluminums like some said are often for racing (you won't see steel shoes on a race horse) but they are more expensive and wear down sooner. Depending on your farrier they can be anywhere from $15 - $50 more for a set.

I have used them on my OTTB after trying him barefoot for years with much discomfort on his part. His feet were too small and beat up to accept steel shoes w/o a risk of them being torn off. The aluminums were lighter - so easier for his foot to hold as well as if they DID get torn off based on his lack of hoof, there would be less damage to the remaining wall. The negative is that aluminums also have awkward vibrations - I.e. The impact w/the ground causes an odd reaction in the way that the energy travels as compared to steels. Don't believe me? Take an aluminum shoe and a steel shoe and tap on concrete and see how it feels in your hand in how it vibrates from the impact. The difference is minimal, however to some horses it makes a difference and they may move differently on harder surfaces (less of an issue in softer show-ring type footing). Some horses are also more likely to have reactions to the aluminums in the form of abscess (my OTTB of course who absecess if the wind blows in the wrong direction did...nothing major, and less than when he was barefoot, but once we switched to steels and he had enough hoof, he was fine).

Again the difference is minimal. The way it affects your horse's movement is also minimal. Bear in mind that if you go with aluminums, that you will need to have your horse reshod more often, and they offer less support/protection to the hoof wall b/c of the lighter weight and different metal so often not as good for horses w/crappy feet - other than like I used them - one set to get his feet some protection until they could hold a steel shoe.

It's really in my opinion a matter of persoanl preference. Good luck!

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post #5 of 33 Old 06-02-2009, 09:45 PM
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I say barefoot, better control better traction better everything. Shoes stop the horse from fully feeling and functioning.
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post #6 of 33 Old 06-02-2009, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chella View Post
I say barefoot, better control better traction better everything. Shoes stop the horse from fully feeling and functioning.
agreed - IF the horse can stay sound barefoot. MOST can, but some TBs (as well as other breeds) have issues. Unfortunately breeding the soundness back INTO a breed is far harder then breeding it out of the breed.....

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post #7 of 33 Old 06-03-2009, 12:19 AM
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Very interesting to read about peoples experiances with shoes etc.
I live in what is mostly a dry area , and all of mine are barefoot. My farrier , who learnt his trade in Canada would argue that the need for a shoe or not would depend ,in part , on climate ,diet and work . Horses feet where I live have a tendancy to be very hard due to there being little moisture in the ground , in fact one of my horses who is barefoot now never went barefoot in the UK .
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post #8 of 33 Old 06-03-2009, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by CJ82Sky View Post
Again the difference is minimal. The way it affects your horse's movement is also minimal.

Interesting that I switched from the normal steel to the aluminum ones on my former dressage horse. He had chronic seedy toes and found that the aluminum were not only more comfortable for him but they altered his gait less than the steel ones. He had to have shoes or his feet would fall apart. I got way too much lift/knee action with the steel ones and a more natural gait with the aluminum ones.
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post #9 of 33 Old 06-03-2009, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Spyder, let me ask you this....was the difference in your horses gaits noticeable enough to make you place higher in shoes, etc. I ask this because that is the sole reason these ladies at the barn are all of a sudden telling me that I need to do it. One of them even said "Maybe you would start getting first instead of seconds and thirds". B! Last time I looked second and third wasn't bad, and this coming from a lady that HAS aluminums and places no higher than fifth every time. (ok my rant is over).

But I just don't know if I can justify the cost. And it's not like I'm going to the Olympics or anything, just local shows. And I think there are just some horses that move better than others. One of the horses I am up against is a super expensive horse. I would hope for that kind of money that she would move better than my horse, you know? So are aluminums really going to change my horses gaits so dramatically that I beat out a $50k horse? My gut says no but I like hearing everyone's stories and opinions.

CJ82SKY, why do some horses have reactions to aluminums?
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post #10 of 33 Old 06-03-2009, 03:59 PM
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Honey, I don't think it really matters which you choose. Sometimes, you get a horse that performs better with lighter shoes but they are few and far between. If you are happy with your horses feet the way they are now, then I wouldn't worry about changing because honestly, I don't believe either that it will improve a horse's gait enough to place higher in the ribbons (most of the time). You could probably have your horse barefoot or in those big clunky boa boots and still go out there and whoop that girl any day. ;) Maybe she is jealous and thinks that if she can get you to spend more money without really seeing any improvement then she will get her revenge or something, I don't know. I don't understand people sometimes. I personally wouldn't worry about it because if you are in it to have fun and that is what you are doing, that is what matters.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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