How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes

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Check to see if your horse’s toe grows faster than the heel.,
Know that horses with small hooves are good candidates for shoes.,
Consider getting your horse orthopedic shoes.

Some parts of the hoof grow faster than others. If the toe grows faster than the heel, the angle of the unshod hoof changes and throws weight backwards. This causes the bulb of the heel to bang against the ground with each step and cause pain. A horse with this tendency has a long, slipper like hoof, rather than a blocky, upright one.

Putting a shoe on these horses elevates the bulbs of the heel off the ground. Now when the horse takes a step he no longer knocks this delicate structure so his pain is relieved.

, 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 than nature intended, and the hooves wear down more quickly than they grow. These animals require 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 bespoke 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 him to walk more easily. Fitting this horse with a shoe that raises the heel can help to ease the pressure on the navicular bone, and encourages more weight bearing on the toe.

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