Barefoot vs. Horseshoes
When going through the training process, there is always the question of whether or not to shod your horse. There are benefits and disadvantages to both shoeing and allowing your horse to go barefoot, it just depends on the horse’s duties and physical requirements. There are a few simple ways to determine whether or not your horse should be fit with a set of horseshoes:
Natural Foot Structure
Genetics and breed will have a strong influence on hoof health as different breeds have been bred to perform in different ways (i.e.: speed or fashion). A strong hoof structure with a thick a sturdy hoof wall is ideal for going barefoot as they are stronger and are able to withstand more weight and wear. Shodding a horse when it is too young can also lead to a delayed maturation of the hoof, leading to a need for horseshoes permanently in the future.
Need For Traction
The type of work a horse will be doing is also an important factor when considering if shoeing is right for them. Work and performance horses are often better suited with horseshoes as they are exposed to heavy weight and hoof pressure. These horseshoes will also provide the rider with a sense of safety as the horse will be more confident while completing their job.
Horseshoes can also be an effective form of corrective therapy for horses. They can help to realign a hoof when it becomes deformed or injured due to certain circumstances. When lameness occurs as a result of hoof stress and weight overload, shoeing is an effective treatment that offers a huge amount of relief to the horse.