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Equine Shoeing Problems

Equine shoeing is the preserve of the farrier -a specialist in equine hoof care.  Equine shoeing involves trimming and balancing and fitting of equine shoes on healthy hooves. Skills and knowledge ranging from adjusting metal to knowledge of the equine physiology and anatomy of the horse’s feet are required.
Whether or not your horse requires shoeing will depend on the type of work he is required to do. Gentle outdoor riding conditions or riding in an arena will probably not require equine shoeing if the hooves are strong and healthy.  Equine shoeing protects hooves from cracking, breaking up or bruising.   If your horse is required to in ride rocky terrain, ride in icy conditions or on roads/pavements, jump competitively, or take part in equine sports such as horse trials, driving competitions, speed games and long distance riding, you will need equine shoes.
If your horse wears shoes and you wish to avoid equine shoeing problems, it is imperative to engage the services of a farrier with a good reputation.  Equine shoeing problems will be avoided if a sense of excellence is applied to the preparation of feet, assessment of potential lameness problems, and fitting appropriate shoes, including remedial features where required.


Why problems could occur whilst shoeing:

  • Having a young nervous horse which may kick – this could be because the horse has not been properly introduced to being shod – it is not in a horse’s nature to stand on three feet as he is a “flight” creature when confronted with fear so it is essential that the farrier gains the horse’s trust
  • Previous unpleasant experiences such as pain
  • The noise and smell of hot shoeing
  • The sounds of hammering

Symptoms of Equine Shoeing Problems
• A troubling change in gait
• Shoes become loose in a short time
• The horse hits his fetlocks or pasterns causing bleeding
• Lameness

Causes of Equine Shoeing Problems
• poor fitting
• incorrect shoes
• close nails
• excessive hammering on a sensitive horse
• improper clinching
• trimming too short


Diagnosis and Treatment of Equine Shoeing Problems
Get your vet to check out your horse’s hooves for treatment of problems caused by shoeing. These could range from navicular disease, laminitis, puncture wounds, thrush, bruising, ringbone or poor balance.
Then ensure that your shoeing strategy involves
• engaging a farrier who is prepared to take time to gain the horse’s trust
• who prepares the shoe to fit the finished hoof, not the hoof to fit the equine shoe
• who does not nail on a shoe and then just rasp off excess hoof around it
• ensure your horse is not in pain when the farrier is doing his work
• ensure shoeing is renewed on time and not allowed to go overdue
Anticipate and avoid potential problems by picking out each hoof every day, removing rocks, dirt and other foreign matter.




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