The foot of a horse is a complex structure. A keratin substance, which is similar to human nails, grows on the bottom continuously. Horses kept in stables need the extra protection, balance and stability horseshoes provide.
Why Horses Need Shoes
When horses run in the wild, the hoofs naturally wear down over time and keep the feet protected. As horses were bred over the years for performance, trained for dressage or horse jumps for sale and made to live in stalls as opposed to the outdoors, the foot structure of the horse became more delicate. Shoes began to be created for horses to prevent injury to the nail-like structure. Farriers are the people who make the shoes and place them on horses in the modern-day. It isn’t a painful process because there are no nerve endings at the bottom of a horse’s foot.
Different Types of Shoes
The most popular shoe is called the regular shoe. It is the slightly U-shaped horseshoe you are most likely to picture when someone says the name. They are made of steel and have several grooves to allow space for the nailheads.
A rim shoe has a larger groove in the middle to allow for greater traction, which makes it a popular choice among sports where speed and quick turns are essential.
For extra support, a bar shoe can be used. This type of horseshoe has an extra bar that runs across the back which can also hold a broken hoof together.
An egg bar shoe is often made of aluminum for a lighter weight. It gives additional support to the back of the hoof and leg, especially when a horse develops navicular disease.
Horses require hoof trimming and shoeing approximately every four to eight weeks. Keeping your horse’s feet healthy is essential for their overall wellbeing and must become part of your routine.