Problems With Shoes
 By Saferaphus   •   26th Nov 2016   •   792 views   •   1 comments

To shoe or not to shoe. The debate rages on. But whether you believe itís okay for horses to wear shoes or metal should never touch their hooves, there are a few problems that shoes, and usually only shoes can cause. Most of these are reversible. But if they are left long enough, it is possible to cause lasting damage.

A corn is a bruise. A corn can be caused by a stone, but a shoe placing pressure on one spot on the horseís hoof is a more likely culprit. Most bruises happen on the sole of the hoof. A corn occurs between the sensitive and insensitive layers of the horseís hoof. So while a rock may cause a bruise on impact, a shoe will cause bruising over time. Corns are most common in the forefeet, and near the heel of the hoof. Shoes that are too small for the hoof, shoes that are left on too long, or are improperly placed can cause. Any time there is uneven pressure between the hoof and the shoe, corns can form.

A horse may become lame if it has a corn, but sometimes they arenít detected until the shoe is removed. Corns can become infected. When corns occur, the horse needs have its shoes removed, and if there is an infection, it should be drained and treated. Depending on the location and severity of the corn, it may be best to leave the horse unshod until the corn has healed.

Contracted Heels
Contracted heels are almost always caused by poor shoeing. They can be caused by rapid toe growth combined with bad trimming, but they are more likely to be caused by poorly fitting shoes. The forefeet are more likely to be affected, and that might be because we are more likely to shoe the fronts than the rear hooves. Shoes that are too small, left on too long, or otherwise donít fit the hoof make the hoof grow narrower and the toe get longer. The heels become pinched and if they are left without correcting the problem, the heels can not expand. This causes restricted circulation in the hoof and impacts the overall health of the hoof.

Correcting contracted heels takes time. The shoes should be removed, and the hooves should be trimmed regularly. While 6 weeks is the usual time period between trims, a horse with contracted heels may have to be trimmed more often. Thrush may be a problem in deeply grooved hooves so it should be treated. And keeping the hooves in a healthy moist state may be helpful. If shoes are an absolute necessity, your farrier can fit the shoes to encourage heel expansion and prevent the toe from becoming elongated.

Hot Nails
There are cold nails and hot nails. Your horse might pick up a cold nail in the ground. But being hot nailed, or as itís sometimes called, quicked, can only happen when a farrier puts shoes on your horse. Usually, the nail is driven up through the insensitive wall of the hoof. But a hot nail can end up in the very sensitive area bordering the hoof wall. It can hurt immediately - and your horse will probably tell the farrier when it happens. Or the nail can be positioned in a way that it takes a bit of time before it seats against the tender layer. Either way, removing the nail is the only way to relieve the pain.

Cracks, Chips and Soreness
Generally, we shoe our horses to prevent soreness and to provide grip. But, transitioning from shod to barefoot can make a horseís hooves tender. This usually resolves itself with time. Shoes can also prevent cracks and chips. But when they are removed, the nail holes may cause more cracks and chips. And, if a shoe becomes loose, the horse can step on a nail, or twist the shoe under its hoof so it chips or becomes bruised. All of which could be avoided if the horse wasnít wearing shoes in the first place.
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Saferaphus
Golden Spirits  
My main problem with shoes is that it does not allow the hoof its natural flexion. Also the hoof has a natural arch to it. This is important in adjusting to terrain, moisture, absorbing shock, etc. If you put a steel shoe on a horse, it doesn't allow the hoof to do its job... Shoes never really made sense to me, and none of my horses have ever had any issues. And trust me... I've had plenty of horses.
  Nov 26, 2016  •  807 views
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