Why do horses wear shoes?

Horses wear shoes for a variety of reasons.  Horseshoes were invented and applied more than 2,000 years ago when horses were first domesticated. 

Riders, farmers and cavalrymen began to realize that the work requirements of their horses were wearing down their feet faster than their feet could grow. 

This caused interference in the horses legs, and even lameness, alas, the horseshoe was invented!

Did you know that a horse grows a complete new foot in the span of one year?! Horses need their feet trimmed, and their shoes reset on a scheduled basis, because their feet are always growing.

Also, horse’s feet are elastic, which means that their feet are always expanding and contracting, like lungs when you breathe. This is why a properly fitted shoe is so important.

Wearing shoes provides all of the following to horses and their feet:

  • Protection

  • Traction

  • Gait improvement, and
  • Aide in soundness.

There are two types of shoes:

  1. An open-heeled shoe, which is rounded over the front of the hoof but does not close in the back, and

  2. A bar shoe, that wraps around the entire hoof, even the back of the foot.