Horse shoes are quite literally shoes used to offer the horses hoof protection from excessive wear and tear that modern pleasure, work and sport horses can undergo.
The Need For Horseshoes
- Traction - Horse shoes offer a more certain footing by providing grip, this is enhanced with the use of studs which are screwed into the shoe. There are a variety of studs available for different types of ground conditions.
- Protection - Horse shoes help to protect the integrity of the horses hoof which when under excessive stress would otherwise deteriorate.
- Horses Gait - The use of certain shoes can help to improve or enhance a horses own natural gait, for example that of the Saddlebred or Tennessee Walking horse.
- Corrective Shoeing - Careful adjustments to the horses hoof and type of shoe can significantly improve a horses way of going and also help with any bone disorders.
Shoes Are Made Of
- Plastic - Plastic shoes are very light and are often used for horses with damaged hoof walls as they can be glued on instead of nailed.
- Aluminium - Often used for racing due to the lightness of the shoe.
- Rubber - If the horse loses a shoe then a rubber shoe can be fitted to help protect the hoof until a new shoe can be fitted.
- Steel - This is the most common type of horse shoe available and is very strong and hard wearing.
Horse Shoe History
The use of hoof protection has long been established although the exact date that hoof protection actually started cannot be truly identified. In Roman times the use of a Hipposandal was used, this was a piece of tough leather cloth that was wrapped around the hoof and fastened. Later during the Crusades of 1096 the practice of nailing on horse shoes was fully established although exactly when the practice of nailing the shoes began is unknown.
Specialist Horse Shoes
There are many variations of the traditional horse shoe available, that can be used for specific disciplines, assist horses with specific veterinary ailments and conformation weaknesses.
- Heart Bar Shoe
A heart bar shoe is a continuous circle that also covers the frog area. This increases frog pressure and is often used for horses with Laminitis.
- Egg Bar Shoe
Shaped like an egg this shoe increases the ground bearing surface of the heel and is often used for horses with Navicular disease.
- Rolled Toe Quarter Clips
Assists in the horses break over action and reduces pressure on the toe.
- Straight Bar Shoe
Enlarges the ground bearing surface at the heels, by forming a bar that runs straight between the two heels. Therefore offering support to low heels protect the seat of corn.
- Racing Plates
These are lighter than traditional shoes and are often made of aluminium.
- Polo Shoes
These have often been tailored to help reduces the shoe from causing speedy cuts.
Good Luck Talisman
In many cultures horse shoes are considered to bring good luck and protection. Some cultures believe that the horse shoe should point down to bring good luck and in others the horseshoe should point up. The horseshoes are often painted to add to their significance and hung in places where they are clearly visible which is often on doors.