The phrase “shod a horse” refers to providing or fitting a horse with shoes. The hooves must be prepared before the shoe is attached. Many horse owners allow horses to go barefoot without horseshoes. The owners often site nerve damage due to the vibrations from the horseshoes. Other owners believe that nature shapes the hoof in a manner best suited for each individual horse. Added weight, reduced function and problems with traction are other reasons not to shod a horse. Owners that are insistent on shodding horses should avoid these eight mistakes.
- Blocking Not Allowed: Blocking is when the farrier nails on a shoe and then rasp off excess hoof. Avoid modifying the hoof to fit the shoe. Encourage the farrier to design the shoe to fit the hoof instead. Slight trimming to fit the shoe may be necessary, but should be kept to a minimum.
- Inconsistent Practices: Horses should be shod in a consistent and timely manner. Overgrown hooves may result in injury and pain for the horse. Inconsistent shodding practices is a form of neglect.
- Lengthy Nails: Do not choose long nails. Select nails that are shorter than the coronary band. Longer nails may lead to damage.
- No Change in Angle: The lines of the hoof should be aligned with the angle of the pastern. The center of the fetlock, pastern and hoof should appear in a straight line. Nails should be placed in a parallel line and height.
- No Injuries Please: An injured horse may put the farrier in danger. The injury should be allowed to heal first. Veterinarians are trained to handle injured animals, if additional assistance is required.
- Short Shoe: Do not utilize a shoe that is too short. The shoe should protrude from the heel of the hoof by about the thickness of a dime. This adds protection to the hoof.
- Too Many or Not Enough Nails: More than seven nails in a horseshoe are too many. Not enough nails and the horse may lose a shoe. The average number of nails in a horseshoe is six. Prevent the farrier from adding nails past the fourth nail hole.
- Train the Horse: Do not take a horse that misbehaves to a farrier. The horse should be trained first. A farrier cannot do a proper job of shodding the horse if the horse will not hold still.
*Photo courtesy of Finishing Touch by June Marie at Flickr’s Creative Commons.
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