When it comes to owning horses, there are many major decisions you will face. One choice that is strongly debated is whether or not to shoe your horse. There are valid points from critics and proponents of shoeing, so we will look at some of the defining points that can help you choose either way.
Riding or Work?
For most riding horses, there is little need for horseshoes, as a horse’s hoof is very durable. In fact, a horse’s hoof is similar to a human’s nail, but much stronger. As long as the owner keeps up with regular trimmings and watches out for cracks or any other hoof problems, it is typically suitable for a horse to go without shoes.
On the other hand, work horses can benefit from wearing shoes, particularly if they are hauling heavy loads. Not putting shoes on them can actually wear down their hoof and cause problems later. So, depending on the kinds of activities you and your horse will be doing, you should consider shoeing them.
Sometimes, the terrain a horse is walking on plays a determining role in whether they need shoes or not. In snowy or icy weather, shoes can provide better traction. However, in mud, shoes may actually get stuck and can potentially come off.
There are many people who believe putting horseshoes on is unethical and harmful to a horse. However, unless the horse has a severe condition, a good farrier should have no problem safely putting the shoes on. In fact, shoes are attached to parts of the hoof that do not feel.
While nailing is the most controversial option for horseshoeing, gluing the shoes on is another option that fewer people are opposed to. If you are concerned about the ethics of your horse wearing shoes, finding a great farrier and opting for glue could be a better solution. If you want to be certain that your horse will not be hurt from horseshoes, it may be worth avoiding them.
Choosing whether or not to shoe your horse is a highly personal decision. Each horse owner will have a preference, even if their horse doesn’t. Think about the points above before deciding if you want to go through with shoeing.