Everyone likes to rock their own style of shoes, boots, heels, sneakers, sandals, crocs, or even some fish flops if you’re brave. They have many purposes – speed, sturdiness, ease of cleaning, weather-ability, etc.. The main reason people wear shoes is safety and comfort. The same goes for horseshoes.
What is the Purpose of Horseshoes?
Your horse’s safety is always a priority, and horseshoes provide just that. Horse hooves naturally wear down with use and can lead to problems with balance, speed, and comfort. The keratin of the hoof resembles human fingernails – they are a tough protein that protects soft, vulnerable skin underneath (in the horse’s case, the inner soft skin is called the “frog”).
Horseshoes keep the horse’s hoof from wearing down unevenly and provide protection from moisture, overuse, and cracking. As I mentioned before, poor hoof condition leads to a variety of health and walking issues, so horseshoes are very important to performance and safety. They also provide traction and can even correct walking habits.
Do Racehorses Wear Different Types of Horseshoes?
Just like different types of running shoes for humans, horseshoes can vary based on the needs of the horse, the trainer, and the surface that they’re running on. Since racehorses work hard, the safety of their hooves and legs are a must. Lightweight horseshoes are key to helping the horse run at top efficiency.
Aluminum horseshoes are a popular choice for racehorses since they have great traction and are lightweight. Toe grabs can also be attached for additional traction at higher speeds. If a racehorse does get injured, corrective shoes are worn for healing and good form.
What Are the Different Types of Horseshoes?
Your horse may benefit from a specific type of horseshoe depending on their activity and condition. Let’s go through a few of the common ones:
- Regular Horseshoe
- The most common design – also called a keg shoe if made by a machine. It supports and protects a normal horse hoof.
- Bar Shoe
- As the name implies, this shoe has a bar on the back for extra support in the back of the hoof, heel, and leg.
- Heart Bar
- Heart bars have a v-shaped piece of metal that supports the frog. They are usually fitted for horses who have laminitis, a crippling disease if not treated. There can be padding between the metal and the frog for added comfort.
How Is the Horseshoe Put on the Horse?
Farriers are people who are trained to put on horseshoes. They use nails to secure the shoe to the hoof. Although it may sound scary, the attachment process is painless if done the right way. It’s similar to cutting human nails – we don’t feel it.
Once attached, the farrier will file down any hooks or sharp edges for the best fit. The hoof will continuously grow, so once it goes beyond the horseshoe, it’s time to re-fit.
How to Choose A Farrier
Before choosing your farrier, you may want to ask them some questions:
- Are they certified?
- What is their experience?
- Do they have experience putting on all types of horseshoes?
- Where did they learn how?
- Do they re-fit on a regular schedule?
- Can they identify any hoof-related issues if they arise?
- What is their price?
Finding a good value is important, but going with the cheapest option before doing more background research isn’t always the best choice. Your horse’s safety should come first, and the team at BRD Vet Rx is ready to help when you need it. View our products or contact us today for all your horse health care needs.