This is a question often asked by new owners and not always followed by long time horse owners. The answer is normally every 6 weeks. On occasion shoeing is needed sooner when the farrier is using corrective shoeing over a period of time to what we call, “getting the foot back to where it is supposed to be, as when it was born.” The horse was not born with heels too low, the hoof out of balance inside and outside, a different degree of angles on each foot, crumbly, dry, splits, cracks and chunks of hoof torn out and so on. But these are the problems we see on adult horses and here we can safely say that 8 out of 10 horses, or better, will need some type of corrective shoeing.
Let’s take this young paint horse, Doodle Bug at age 3, as an example. Doodle spends her days in a grassy pasture but is very active running around on her own. She goes on an occasional ride and works out in a sandy round pen. With this limited amount of activity, her shoes always start looking bad about every 6 weeks, but the shoes are still on. If we wait much longer the shoe will come off with chunks of hoof attached, which is not what we want. Here Doodle is overdue at eight weeks time.
Photo 1 shows healthy hoof wall growing out past the shoe on the outside (lateral side) as we are pointing to. Clearly she needed new shoes at 6 weeks to avoid this.
In photo 3, Casey on the right is explaining our evaluation process; “6 Steps to Balancing the Hoof & Horse for Sound Shoeing” procedures with assistance from Ken Moody, of South Carolina on our Television. show “Horseshoe’n Time.
In photo 5, he notes that the cleft of the frog can be a dirt trap acceptable to pack in unwanted manure and moisture that causes thrush. To help eliminate this, he recommends the farrier “half -moon” this area using a hoof knife.
In photo 7 the hind foot is perfectly shaped, the frog trimmed and ready to finish the nails.
In photo 9, only the foot on the left has been re-shod. If you look real close and compare the angle with the foot on the right, you will see there is just a slight difference. This slightest difference will determine whether your horse is balanced or not. A balanced hoof will ensure a balanced horse from head to toe and a safer and happier horse.
In photo 2, the nails of this front hoof are becoming loose causing the shoe to shift, which is a danger to the horse and rider.
In photo 4, Casey points out that the inside heel of this hind foot is beginning to turn in which can be corrected in several shoeings.
In photo 6, after the hind shoe was shaped and the foot was trimmed, the shoe was heated in the gas propane forge so the hot shoe could be placed directly on the hoof wall. This will indicate if the foot has been properly trimmed for the shoe and helps to seal the rasped hoof from bacteria and kill any bacteria present. In this case, a little more hoof from the toe region will be trimmed away. Note: Hot shoeing is only applied to the hoof wall, not to the sole and should only be performed by a trained farrier with experience.
In photo 8 the front foot is perfectly shaped and re-shod. Note this hoof also an indention on the left, no doubt from the mischief she gets into. With healthy hoof growth it will eventually be trimmed away in several more shoeings
Photo 10, here Doodle gets a finished job by guest farriers and brothers Mark and Philip Horney of Carthage, North Carolina as the Horseshoe’n Time camera and co-host Angela Vaught watches carefully.
This information is being provided as part of the Horse Owner Education program we have at the research center. Owners are always welcome to visit, ask questions and bring their horses for a free evaluation in hopes that they learn more about the care and maintenance of the most important part of the horse – the lower limb and hoof!
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