In most normal situations, your horse should be barefoot. However, there are a few cases where shoes may be necessary. They’re designed to give your horse’s hooves extra protection. Find out if your circumstances warrant the use of horseshoes.
1. Traction: Certain riding disciplines require extra traction. Those that participate in barrel racing may need the extra grip around their turns. Even on the trails, shoes may provide traction on tough terrain.
2. Protection: Some horses spend a considerable amount of time on hard, stony ground where shoes can be helpful. A barefoot horse may develop bruises or become sore on these surfaces. Many owners choose to use boots, while others don’t want to deal with the hassle of them.
3. Special needs: Weak hooves may need the support of a shoe to regain proper balance. Certain hoof diseases or conformational faults can distort the foot. Sometimes, horseshoes can improve or manage the condition. They can even prevent lameness.
4. Alter gait: Certain breeds use special shoes to alter their horse’s gait. This is common in the gaited horse world.
Most average horses don’t need shoes and can manage just fine barefoot. Depending on your unique situation, you may have to consider them though. Discuss your horse’s needs with an unbiased farrier. They will be able to point you in the right direction!
Furthermore, make sure you know: How To Properly Pick Out Your Horse’s Hooves! It can be a little harder for those that wear shoes.