The Future of Horse Shoeing, A Personal Perspective

We have known for some time that horse shoeing was changing from the all brawn and no brain rap and tap shoer to well educated and trained farriers. Todays economy demands changes based on the most cost effective way to maintain our horses. We have shod horses for years to protect hooves from hard terrain on horses that were used hard. There are still horses that work hard and perform to the max. but there are many horses that have been turned to pasture due to the tremendous cost of transporting, feeding, vetting, farrier work, etc.

It is my opinion that the “Barefoot” philosophies that have risen in the past few years are truely about the money rather than the horse. Many horse owners have embraced the trimming methods of maintenance for horses that are not being used. I believe that we as farriers must accept the public demand and become better educated on how to maintain the barefoot horse. Hoof mass or “sole depth” is a major key to a strong hoof. “Toughening up” or asking the horse to endure painful trimming is just wrong. Study x-rays and become familar with the internal structure of the hoof. There must be a correct balance with removing too much hoof and leaving too much hoof.

Useing or working horses need shoes many times for not only protection but for performance enhancement and control of movement. Therapeutic shoeing of the diseased or injured hoof is a whole new ball game. Often many of these cases can be corrected with proper trimming and many require high tech shoeing work.

Blog to be continued.

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