What is the actual purpose of shoeing a horse? My trainer and I were talking about it last night and it just made me think. If a horses hoof is properly conditioned to harder ground, there is no need for shoes? So, why do people still shoe horses?
I think the non permanent shoes are good for say, XC, or really rocky trail riding? and what not. But there is no need to have them be permanent?
Why do you, or dont you shoe your horse(s)?
I heard the original purpose of horse shoes was because back in the middle ages when horses were stalled for long periods of times, they needed the extra support for their hooves.
My horse has horrible feet, and there is in no way conditioning or supplements that will fix it. He was just born that way.
I think breeding has become so involved in looking at other points of the horse that they don't focus on the 'survival' aspects horses need (such as hard good formed feet).
I guess you could call shoeing one of those 'unnecessary fixings' but really... this day in age, there are some horses that need them in order not to have feet the size of dinner plates and walls so thin they can give you a paper cut O.O
i notice that with leaving paul without shoes, he stumbles a lot over the stones in the driveway and on tough trails so during the spring and summer, i'll shoe him and during the fall and winter, just have him trimmed. when it's icey out, the shoes act just like ice skates and i don't want him to fall and hurt himself.
If you never put the shoes on in the first place, wouldnt his feet just have adjusted naturally?? :?
Some horses don't adjust very well at all, it has a lot to do with breeding.
My girlfriend has Standardbreds. One of her standies has sturdy feet and has never needed shoes. Her other standie has very sensitive feet and needs shoes. She has tried everything from supplements to barefoot farriers and she still stumbles over rocks.
Some horses need shoes for corrective treatments, others are just not able to produce hard enough feet to be comfortable barefoot.
I personally shoe all my using horses in the spring and summer and leave them barefoot at all other times. The only reason that I shoe them then is that we have cattle in the summer and spend a lot of time on rocky roads and pastures. Some of the work we do is at extreme high speed and shoes just help protect them a bit more when running full tilt down a gravel road after a cow. All other times, I leave them barefoot because it is more comfortable and secure for them. We also do a lot of town riding and barefoot is much safer on paved roads. Plus, some of my horses keep their feet worn almost perfectly. My QH Denny has not had his back feet even trimmed in over 4 years because they wear down as they should.
My gelding 2-Pak, from the time he was 2 and was started riding until he was ten, we tried everything we could come up with to make his hooves strong and adapt them to the rocky terrain here, but he still stumbled around and refused to walk on gravel because they hurt his feet, and his hooves were always cracked, no matter how well we kept them trimmed. At ten, we finally decided to just start shoeing him. It hasn't solved all of his problems (he still can be a little ouchie on really rocky areas, and won't attempt anything beyond a walk on gravel, so we have to use hoof freeze to numb his feet.) but he's definately better and happier.
My mare, Magic, came to us with badly split hooves... one front hoof is actually split in two places all the way to the hair line. We've tried keeping her well trimmed and her hooves conditioned, and finally our farrier suggested some shoes with clips on them, that will help hold the hoof together so it'll stop splitting and cracking. We just put her first shoes on her two days ago, so I couldn't tell you how well they'll work or not yet, but we've had the same farrier for quite a few years, and I trust his judgement.
Ruby has had shoes on before, to help with a crack she had in her hoof and then for sensitivity on rocks, but this year, we didn't shoe her, since she's mostly being ridden in a sandy arena and hasn't been too bothered by rocks.
Tanner we most likely won't shoe, and Bandit and Dante both have really hardy 'pony hooves' (like my farrier calls them) that usually don't need much more than the ocassional trim.
I say it depends on the horse. A lot of horses have basically had their hooves bred right out from under them, and some horses just need corrective shoeing. I've tried temporary shoes and, quite honestly, I can't say I'm impressed. Every temporary shoe we've had on 2-Pak, he's lost it, or destroyed it, or it rubbed his legs raw, and in the long run, it simply cost more and had more negative sides than regular shoes.
Hmm, I guess I kinda understand it now. But if riders ride on gravel and roads and all that enough to put shoes on there horse, then why do they put shoes on in the first place, because the horses feet will harden up the more they are worked on the harder ground. It just doesnt click. I think some people put shoes on just because.
SMRobs -- isn't it great having a horse that you never have to trim?? Wow, I wish I had the time to ride that much.
JillyAnn -- I agree, some people do put on shoes just because -- just because other people do, just because it a tb, just because they don't think about it at all. However, some people do make a conscience, thought-out choice to put shoes on their horses. Maybe you and I don't agree with it, but we horse people are all rather opinionated aren't we? You will notice on my posts I always encourage barefoot and free movement. But that just doesn't work for some people. I haven't figured it out either, but neither can I figure out why people that don't show or clip their horses put them in stalls and put blankets on them. I'm definitely pro au-naturel. I have yet to see a situation where I agree that shoes are the better solution, but I have yet to see a lot of things I think.
I guess I am a little opinionated. :oops: I too have never seen a situation where a horse NEEDS to have shoes. So I guess I was just really wondering WHY people put shoes on there horses. I am glad that someone else sees my point too though. :lol:
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