Choosing the Perfect Horseshoes
- By Ray La Foy
Horseshoes have become synonymous with good fortune.
Having them on your horses feet has little to
do with attracting good luck, but a lot with
answering to your steeds needs.
Horses in the wild do not require shoes unlike
domesticated breeds of horse. Those horses that are
not worked out and trained regularly on hard ground
do not need them. If a horses foot is hurt, you
will not be able to ride it. In order to maximize a
horses use, horseshoes are needed in order to
protect the horses feet. In their absence, the
hoof walls can crack. And a horse with sore feet will
be of little use.
One must check all four of the horses feet
everyday. You need to pick them out and ensure that
no dirt, stones or other foreign objects get stuck.
Daily cleaning of the hooves is essential to proper
hoof care, as well as going a long way in preventing
any infection in this part of the horse. Failing to
clean your horse's hooves on a regular basis puts him
You must also check if the hooves get loose or no
longer fits properly. Shoed horses also require the
visit of the farrier about every 4 to 6 weeks. Each
visit would mean placing new shoes. A horses
hoof grows, just like our nails, thus the shoe will
stop fitting correctly after some time. The functions
and movements of the foot must be taken into
consideration when fitting shoes.
Commonly used for shoes are steel and aluminum. Your
farrier can help you decide which kind is best for
your horse. To make them lighter and to give them a
better grip, a groove underneath are placed on most
shoes. Those placed in the front limbs are circular,
while those on the hinds are diamond-shaped.
Few horses have perfect conformation and many have
improper feet. Many horses have boxy feet or club
feet while other may have broad flat feet and some
have feet that turn in or out. And these
characteristics of a horse's foot should be properly
addressed. Some of these characteristics are
dependent on the breed of the horse. Shoes must fit
to accommodate the horses foot.
Having the shoe is one thing, but a proper shoeing
job is another. You should not try putting on your
horses shoes on your own just to save money.
The farrier is a trained professional in this aspect,
and he has a more extensive line up of equipment and
instruments that will suit the needs of your horse.
He has tongs, pincers, pullers, nipper, pritchels and
a special hoof knife for paring and trimming the
foot. He will have the right size of nails to fit
every size and type of shoe.
Domesticated breeds of horse are dependent entirely
upon humans for their maintenance and comfort. Horses
are subject to many ailments. Foot diseases may cause
severe lameness and may be made worse by owner
neglect, so dont take horseshoeing for granted.
Horses and Ponies
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