How to Know if Your Horse Needs Shoes

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Understand that keeping your horse unshod means you need to take extra care of his hooves.,
Schedule regular appointments with the farrier.,
Understand the purpose of filing and rasping.,
Be aware of the process of filing and rasping.

Keeping a horse unshod is not a means of saving money; an unshod horse needs just as much, if not more, hoof care than a shod animal. The hoof needs regular expert filing in order to smooth away chips and cracks before they spread and become a major problem. The hooves also need regular rasping to even out wear and maintain a healthy weight-bearing surface., A barefoot horse requires the farrier’s attention every four to eight weeks to ensure the hoof stays in tip-top condition. Much like our own finger nails, hooves grow all the time and require trimming to remove snags and cracks.

, The aim of filing and rasping is twofold; it maintains a healthy hoof by getting rid of damage, plus it helps keep a good shape to the hoof. Think of the difference between a lady wearing stilettos or flat pumps. Heel height changes the angle of the ankle and how you walk, and for the horse, careful trimming will help to reduce stress on the horse’s legs.

, The farrier with use nippers to trim away excess horn where it has grown faster than it was worn away, and then a file or rasp to make sure the surface is even and buff away cracks. His or her aim is to make the wall of the hoof an even thickness all the way round and keep the fetlock at the correct angle.

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