Whether you’re an experienced horse owner or if you often see horses being ridden in your nearby area, you’re likely to be familiar with the trotting noise that come from a horses’ hooves.
This noise comes from the shoes that horses wear, and the reason why they wear them can vary depending on the horses’ health, activity levels and the surroundings in which they are kept.
If you’re unsure whether your horse needs shoes or how to care for them, read on to find out about hoof care for horses to ensure that their feet are kept healthy:
Why do horses need to wear shoes?
Horse shoes are essential for hooves that are regularly in contact with rugged flooring, such as concrete or other rough surfaces. This is because their hooves can be damaged from uneven or hard flooring, putting the animal at risk of standing on objects that damage their natural hooves.
What are horse shoes made of?
Typically, horse shoes are made of steel or aluminium and are attached by nailing the shoe to the horses’ hoof. These materials are sturdy and can maintain their shape, but the style of horse shoe that your horse needs will largely depend on their breed.
Some horse breeds use different shoe styles on their front legs than they have on their hind legs. It’s not uncommon for the hind legs to be fitted with a horse shoe otherwise known as a caulk, which includes extra steel materials to prevent excess wear-and-tear damage.
Do horse shoes hurt horses?
Because the horse shoes are attached directly to the hoof, many people are concerned that applying and removing their shoes will be painful for the animal.
However, this is a completely pain-free process as the tough part of a horses’ hoof doesn’t contain any nerve endings. The animals don’t show any signs of pain or aggression as the horse will feel a similar sensation to the feeling that we get when our fingernails trimmed!
How often do horse shoes need replacing?
A horses’ natural hoof is also constantly contracting (much like our lungs!), so ensuring that their shoes are properly fitted and checking that they are wearing the correct size will avoid the chances of the shoes becoming painful for your animal to wear.
You also may be surprised to learn that a horse grows a completely new foot in the span of one year, so it’s essential to replace your horses’ shoes as they may grow out of them sooner than you realise!
As you can see, shoes are essential for any horse that is regularly exposed to rough or hard flooring. It doesn’t hurt to apply them, but it could cause injury if they aren’t worn and result in pain for your animal. We provide horse insurance policies to protect you from unexpected and expensive vet bills if the worst should happen.