1. Many horses, depending on their career or lifestyle, don’t need shoes. Consult your farrier and get his advice. He’ll decide if your horse needs shoes based on a number of factors. Your farrier should ask you some questions like the following to help you both decide what to do:
· What kind and how much work is your horse doing?
· What kind of footing do you ride on?
· What is the footing in your horse’s turn-out like?
· Do your horse’s feet chip short or grow long when barefoot?
· What time of year is it that you are considering?
· Does your horse have any tendon or ligament injuries?
· Does your horse get abscesses or stone bruises easily?
· Is your horse competing, and if so does he move better with or without shoes?
· What is your budget?
2. Get to know your horse’s feet inside and out. Knowing your horse’s feet can save you time and money. If something starts to change, like a new crack or change in shape, you should be aware of it right away.
3. A change in your horse’s feet means a change in something else. If you notice a change in your horse’s feet, you should look at management and other factors that could have changed such as diet, environment, a new farrier, illness, fever, stall cleanliness, lameness, or weather.
4. You can avoid many situations where shoes are lost by changing the turn-out or management routine. If your horse is coming in from the field more than twice a month with missing shoes, you need to change something.
· Does your horse have on a good quality bell boot that fits correctly?
· Are your pastures deep and muddy?
· Are there any other horses in the field that your horse is not getting along with, causing them to run around inappropriately?
· Is your horse being left out for too long and getting restless?
· Are the shoes that are on your horse the right size, or are they too big, leaving too much steel out behind him to grab with a back foot?
5. Not all shoes are created equal. The best shoe for one horse is not necessarily the best shoe for another horse. Every horse and every hoof is an individual. Some of the factors that your farrier should consider when picking out the right shoe for your horse are the shape
of the hoof, the job of your horse, the type of footing you ride in, and your riding discipline.