How To Tell Your Horse Needs a Hoof Trim



Why choose wikiHow?
When you see the green expert checkmark on a wikiHow article, you know that the article has received careful review by a qualified expert. If you are on a medical article, that means that an actual doctor, nurse or other medical professional from our medical review board reviewed and approved it. Similarly, veterinarians review our pet articles, lawyers review our legal articles, and other experts review articles based on their specific areas of expertise.

How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes

Four Methods:

Whether you shoe your horse or not generally comes down to its specific needs and what kind of terrain you have it walk on. Some horses do just fine without shoes, while others need them to live a comfortable, pain-free life. When determining whether or not your horse needs shoes consider how much discomfort your horse has, whether the horse's hooves get a lot of wear, the type of work your horse does, and your horse's hoof anatomy.

Steps

Using Shoes to Alleviate Discomfort

  1. Look for behavioral signs that your horse has sore or bruised hooves.When your horse's hooves hurt, the animal can show this discomfort in a variety of ways that it moves its body. Signs may include:
    • At rest the horse will keep shifting its weight, resting different feet in turn.
    • The horse may never stand more than a few minutes on each foot.
    • The horse may show a mild lameness when walking on rocky ground. Each step might be cautious or it may refuse to move in some cases.
    • The horse may appear to step cautiously or slowly when walking because the undersides of their hooves are tender.
  2. Check each hoof for signs of damage.Pick up each hoof and inspect the sole, frog, and bulbs of the heel. Look for red, inflamed, or bruised areas, as well as any deep cracks or breaks. Bruises will look like deep red or rust-like discoloration on the underside of the horse's hooves.
    • The sole of the hoof is the round, indented area just inside the front walls. The frog is the ridge at the center of the hoof. The bulbs are the round areas at the back of the hoof, just behind the frog.
    • You may need to pick the hoof in order to see the underlying surface.
  3. Determine whether your horse has a bruised sole.If you can't see any visible damage to the hoof, there still may be an internal problem. To test for a bruised sole, lift the hoof and use hoof pincers to probe for tenderness. Place the pincers so that one head of the pincers is in contact with the sole and the other is over the hoof outer wall so that when pressure is applied, the sole is compressed.
    • If pain is present, typically the horse reacts by pulling the hoof away or vocalizing. If this occurs, it means your horse has an injury to its sole.
  4. Consider putting shoes on hooves that are sore or bruised.Putting shoes on a horse that has painful hooves can give it a lot of relief. Shoes consist of a layer of steel that physically lifts the hoof from the ground. The depth of the shoe reduces the impact that stones can have on the sensitive sole of the hoof. If the shoes are fitted properly and the hooves are trimmed and cared for properly, a shoe can protect the inner area of the hoof from further impacts.
    • You may also consider using soft, external boots that your horse can wear over their hooves. These provide relief and cushioning when your horse is out of the stall.
    • You can also choose to keep the horse unshod and keep it on soft ground until the soreness passes. However, without shoes you will be not be able to use your recovering horse for as many activities and the horse is more likely to tread on stones and cause further bruising to the sole or frog of its hoof.

Using Shoes to Reduce Hoof Wear

  1. Understand that some wear is normal.Horse hoofs grows continually. The ideal situation is one where the rate of growth is exactly balanced by the rate of wear. However, this is unlikely to happen. Indeed, nature takes account of this with the unshod foot by allowing small pieces of weight bearing hoof to chip away, as a means of "trimming" back excess growth.
    • If you are having a hard time determining what is normal wear, you can also talk to your vet about it. Having them come look at your horse’s hooves and discuss their condition with you can clarify what you need to look for.
  2. Look for signs of excess wear.The outer hoof is made from keratin, the equivalent of our finger nails. Cracked or flaking hooves are not painful, just as a nail that chips doesn't hurt. However, cracked hooves can be a potential problem if the crack travels up toward the coronary band. Because of this, the owner of an unshod horse needs to be alert for signs of excess wear. These include excessive chips or cracks on hoof surface where it contacts the grounds.
  3. Take care of hairline splits caused by hoof wear.If a hairline split is spotted, the length, depth, and width needs to be monitored on a daily basis. If it widens to a crack, or extends up past the sole, then seek the advice of a reputable farrier who specializes in hoof care. If the hoof splits then the sensitive nerves, blood vessels, and bone inside can be exposed and this is painful.
    • Shoes can protect the bottom edge of the hoof from cracks and chips, and even hold a split hoof together. An unshod hoof needs regular inspection for the signs of wear that require the support of a shoe to stop a crack traveling upwards.
    • While waiting for the farrier to visit, do not work the horse.
  4. Look for disintegrating hooves.The keratin of some unshod hooves is not strong enough to take the wear and tear of being in direct contact with the ground. If this is the case, the hoof starts to disintegrate and becomes unhealthy. Disintegrating hooves is a strong indication that shoes are required.
    • In the earlier stages the hoof wall peels and crumbles.
    • If ignored some hooves deteriorate to the point that they look like the end of an exploded cigar. This is a sure sign the hoof is not tough enough and needs the protection of shoes.

Determining If a Horse Needs Shoes for Specific Activities

  1. Put shoes on a horse that will be walking on rocky ground.Rocky ground can lead to pain if your horse does not have shoes. It is likely to bruise the sole of an unshod hoof. A shoe elevates the hoof slightly and decreases the impact of uneven ground on the underside of the hoof. Shoes can also help horses grip and confidently navigate uneven surfaces.
  2. Have shoes on a horse that is doing roadwork.Roadwork can wear down hooves without shoes, as it's very abrasive and wears the hoof down faster than it grows. This results in the horse walking on its sole and the bulbs of its heel, which is very painful. If your horse works on the road frequently, it should most likely be shod.
  3. Use shoes to give your horse extra grip.Unshod hooves are best equipped to deal with the natural landscape such as pasture, soil, or grassland. There are many other surfaces horses are expected to work on which do not provide good grip. Shoes will give your horse the grip he needs.
    • An example of conditions when your horse may need more grip is when it is walking on icy ground or pavement.
  4. Make agile movements easier by using shoes.Shoes can come in very handy when there are demands for extreme agility placed on your horse. This includes having your horse do a lot of twisting, turning, or jumping. In these circumstances shoes are advisable.
    • Additionally, studs or cork can be inserted into the shoes to prevent the horse from slipping.

Using Shoes to Fix Poor Hoof Anatomy

  1. Determine if your horse’s toe grows faster than the heel.Some parts of the hoof tend to grow faster than others. If the toe grows faster than the heel, the angle of an unshod hoof changes and throws weight backwards. This causes the bulb of the heel to bang against the ground with each step and causes pain. Putting a shoe on these horses elevates the bulbs of the heel off the ground.
    • With a shoe on the horse will no longer knock this delicate structure when it takes a step, so its pain will be relieved.
    • A horse with this tendency has a long, slipper like hoof, rather than a blocky, upright one.
  2. Know that horses with small hooves are good candidates for shoes.Some horses have small hooves relative to their body size or weight. In these cases, there is more pressure per square inch on their hooves so the hooves wear down more quickly than they grow. These animals require shoes.
    • Talk to your farrier or vet about whether your horse's hooves need to be shod because of their size.
  3. Consider getting your horse orthopedic shoes.A horse with a physical problem with the bones or joints in the lower leg or hoof can be helped with orthopedic shoes. These shoes are fitted by expert farriers and involve creating custom shoes that alter the distribution of the horse's weight when standing. This can relieve pressure on a sore joint and make the animal more comfortable.
    • For example, if your horse has long toes and short heels, these orthopedic shoes can help it to walk more easily. Fitting this horse with a shoe that raises the heel can help to ease the pressure on the inner bone of the hoof, and encourages more weight bearing on the toe.

Community Q&A

Search
  • Question
    How much does it cost to get shoes put on a horse?

    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Expert Answer
    The price of shoeing varies greatly from area to area, but it's usually between -0.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    How often do horses need shoeing?

    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Expert Answer
    Typically, horses will need shoeing done once every four to six weeks for optimal health.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Do you really need to shoe your horse?

    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Expert Answer
    It depends on many factors including what you do with your horse, your horse's confirmation, and any existing issues.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Can horses feel anything in their hooves?

    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Expert Answer
    Yes, horse's hooves have a tough outer layer made out of the same material as our finger nails which they can not feel. However, like your finger nail the inner structures are sensitive and have lots of nerves.
    Thanks!
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Hoof. Ramey DVM. Hoof Rehabilitation Publishing.
  2. Equine Podiatry: Medical and Surgical Management of the Hoof. Floyd and Mansmann. Saunders.
  3. Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Hoof. Ramey DVM. Hoof Rehabilitation Publishing.
  4. Equine Podiatry: Medical and Surgical Management of the Hoof. Floyd and Mansmann. Saunders.
  5. Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Hoof. Ramey DVM. Hoof Rehabilitation Publishing.





Video: Everything You Need For Your First Horse

How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes
How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes images

2019 year
2019 year - How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes pictures

How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes recommendations
How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes recommend photo

How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes pics
How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes photo

How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes new images
How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes new photo

images How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes
picture How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes

Watch How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes video
Watch How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes video

Forum on this topic: How to Know if Your Horse Needs , how-to-know-if-your-horse-needs/
Communication on this topic: How to Know if Your Horse Needs , how-to-know-if-your-horse-needs/ , how-to-know-if-your-horse-needs/

Related News


How to Make Cake Batter Pancakes
8 Genius Ways to Get Better Curls at Home
3 Ways to Have Friends
Rebecca Taylor SpringSummer 2014 RTW – New York Fashion Week
Detox Vitamins and Nutrients
People Are Pissed That Meghan and Harry Announced Their Pregnancy on a Super Sensitive Day
The Brands That Make James Bond
Not built for cold wars
Ovarian Cancer
This Is How The Bear From The Revenant’ Was Created



Date: 05.12.2018, 17:48 / Views: 32484