Monday , June 24 2024
Why do Horses Need Horseshoes

Why do Horses Need Horseshoes? The Reason Explained

In the world of equestrian, horseshoes are quite well-known. A U-shaped piece of metal attached to the bottom of a horse’s hooves is known as horseshoes. The U-shape design replicates the horse’s hoof. Often nails are used to attach a horseshoe to the hoofs. A special type of glue may also be used as a temporary adhesive for the hoof and the horseshoe

Horseshoes And Their Purposes

Traditionally, horseshoes of made of material that is durable and is known to provide support to the weight of a particular horse.

Horseshoes are known to provide a support in the durability of the hoof on working horses. The hoof of a horse is made of a structural fibrous protein called the keratin.  This is the same type of protein of which a human fingernail is made of. The hoof has a soft and tender inner part referred to as the frog. This portion is susceptible to injury. As a horse trots or runs, the hoofs are known to undergo wear and tear over time and also the frog is likely to be impacted. A horseshoe is known to prevent this.

Materials Used To Carve Out Horseshoes

Horseshoes are typically carved out of steel; exception exists in the case of racehorses who are known to sport aluminum horseshoes. The reason is related to utility as aluminum horseshoes are known to be lighter providing an impetus to speed.

Polo ponies and horses used for jumping competitions are likely to wear steel horseshoes. Which are known to provide a sturdy support on their feet. Such horses must traverse long distances quickly.

Horses which are used for racing purposes usually wear aluminum horseshoes. Which is a lightweight material that provides support without weighing down the feet and legs of a racehorse.

Then there are some horseshoes, which are made of copper or magnesium. In fact, horseshoes are also made of plastics in some cases.

A special type of ‘boots’ is also provided to horses in the case of any hoof or foot injury. Which are made of rubber. These boots are known to provide a support in terms of a softer walking surface while providing comfort to the leg.

Do All Horses Require Horseshoes?

The answer to this would be a yes as well as a no. It is essential to consider the horse’s activities when deciding whether to shoe or barefoot it. Depending on the specific utility of a horse, horseshoes are fixed accordingly.

While horseshoes are known to protect a horse’s hooves, in the case of pleasure horses, a horseshoe may not be that necessary. Having said that, there are other specific benefits to take into account.

Horseshoes are known to extend traction for a horse that routinely trots on a slippery ground, snow or ice. In fact, there are specific horseshoe designs that are shaped out for walking on slippery surfaces. A fall for a horse could lead to a leg injury, which can be serious at times. Horseshoes can prevent a horse from falling and suffering a leg injury.

In a case where a horse suffers from a condition that leads to awkward or unbalanced walk. Horseshoes can prove to be beneficial. In such cases, horseshoes can be custom designed to meet the specific needs of a particular horse when it comes to addressing the walking issue.

Horses that are used for racing or performance purposes tend to gain from wearing horseshoes, which add support to a horse’s hoofs or legs. When such horses are used for running in a muddy or wet ground, a far greater stability could be gained by wearing horseshoes.

Then there are horses that participate in dressage competition. Such horses are likely to be wear horseshoes. Dressage typically involves the controlled movements of the horse and how smoothly it transitions between these specialized steps. Horseshoes are known to provide support for dressage horse’s gait. Similarly, domesticated horses, which are used for jumping competitions can benefit from wearing horseshoes. Horseshoes aid a horse when they need to gather pace and evenly while maintaining ideal traction as it moves through a series of jumps.

An exception, however, could be made in the case of pleasure horses, who may probably not require horseshoes. Regular trimming and maintenance could go a long way for them. Attention, however, is required to be paid to check the wear and tear of hooves as one rides over all sorts of footing. In case a horse suffers sore feet, hoof boots can provide protection while riding. The only hitch is that these cannot be worn extensively over longer period. This may encase the feet in a moist and dirty environment. There are other options in the form of nailed-on shoes or glued-on shoes.

When Should We Replace Horseshoes?

If we go into the specifics then an eight-week would be an ideal time for a farrier to maintain or completely replace horseshoes. In fact, the decision is best left up to a farrier as to how long it remains ideal to wait before getting a horse reshod. Depending on the horse’s condition, the interval between farrier visits may differ.

Some common signs can, however, indicate that it’s time to replace a horse’s shoes. For example, if a horse loses a shoe or one notices that one or more of its shoes is loose, this is the time for the horse to be reshod.

A self-inspection could also be initiated by taking some time to lift a horse’s hooves and examining each of the horseshoes. Check particularly to see if nails are still firmly in place or do some of the nails look like they are coming out. A farrier could be summoned to correct any of the issues. A farrier would be the ideal person to look out for worn down or uneven horseshoes.

Do Horses Experience Pain While Fixing Horseshoes?

There is no pain experienced by a horse while fitting horseshoes. If one goes into the specifics of the process, then the nails actually go into the wall of a horse’s hoof. This particular area has no nerves. Also, it depends on the skill and experience of a farrier who remains adept at handling the hooves of a horse.

When Is Going Barefoot Beneficial For Horses?

Horses in their natural habitat are known to be barefoot. In the case of certain horses, they can be allowed to go barefoot.

In the case of domesticated horses that are in an arid climate they can be allowed to go barefoot. If the horse has the option to wander around in a lot of dry fields and meadows, then there is no need for horseshoes to keep its hooves in healthy, natural condition. A young horse, also known as a foal, has quite small hooves that are still growing. Such foals and young horses that can walk can be allowed to move around barefoot until their hooves have grown to their full size.

An owner has all the liberty and may choose to leave their horse barefoot indefinitely. After all it boils down to activities that a horse is likely engage in that the necessity to fix horseshoes is likely to arise.

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