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Does My Horse Need Shoes?

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Question: Does My Horse Need Shoes?
Answer: Whether or not your horse needs shoes depends on the health and integrity of the horse’s hoof, the terrain the horse has to travel on and the discipline it will be used for.

If you pleasure ride or driveing on trails or in an arena with good footing and your horse’s hooves are healthy and strong, shoes will not be needed. Watch your horse carefully for signs of discomfort. Your blacksmith may find evidence of stone bruising if the horse’s soles are cleaned up. Or there may be excessive chipping or other problems. These might be signs your horse needs some protection or further care than basic trimming.

If you plan to head out on rocky trails, shoes might be recommended. Icy conditions might require the use of shoes with corks on the bottom for grip. If you will be riding or driving on roads a lot, such as during parades, shoes with borium might help prevent slipping. Pavement can be very slippery for a horse.

For jumping you might want shoes with studs. If you are just starting out in the jumping ring, your horse probably won’t need shoes. But if you are going to be very competitive and your horse needs traction maneuvering sharp turns and landing high jumps, shoes might be in order. Sports like horse trials, driving competitions, speed games, and long distance rides might present conditions where shoes are recommended.

The best person to consult whether or not your horse needs shoes is your farrier. Tell your farrier your plans and discuss whether you really need shoes at the level you are at.

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