Cherry Hill ©
My horse is always
losing shoes. Why can't the farrier keep shoes on my horse?
An occasional lost shoe is a fact of life. In most cases, a lost shoe is
not the farrier's fault, so there is no reason to directly or indirectly blame
the farrier. Shoes do not just "fall" off nor does a horse "throw"
a shoe. Lost shoes usually fall into one of two categories: one, the
shoe is pulled off either by the horse stepping on it with another foot or catching
it on a fence or something, or two, the hoof deteriorates and is unable
to hold the nails tightly either because the horse's hooves are too wet or because
the horse is overdue for shoeing.
Some horses are more prone to losing shoes than others. In one documented study
of lost shoes in one farrier's practice, 80% of the shoes were lost by 20% of
the horses. And certain horses in the 20% group lost most of the shoes.
One client's gelding lost more shoes in one year than another client's four horses
together lost in over 10 years! The average in this study was 1.33 shoes
lost per horse per year.
One of the ironies of lost shoes is that the better a horse is shod, the greater
the chances might be for him to lose a shoe. Some people mistakenly judge
the quality of a shoeing job by how long the shoes stay on. In order to
shoe a horse so the shoes stay on at all costs, a farrier would have to sacrifice
expansion and support, two ingredients that are critical to a horse's long term
and support a horse is at greater risk of developing navicular syndrome, under-run
heels and other conditions that lead to lameness. A shoe that is large enough
to provide proper support and is fit properly for expansion will have more steel
exposed at the quarters and heels and thus may be more likely to be stepped on
and pulled off.
In an effort to keep shoes on, some shoers use eight nails and long, thick clinches.
The trouble with this approach is that if a shoe gets caught on something, long
clinches do not open easily and can remove large pieces of hoof wall when the
horse wrenches the shoe off. This can mean lay-up time and added cost for
hoof repair or special shoes or pads to restore balance to the damaged hoof.
It's better for the hoof if the clinches are relatively small, about 1/8"
square. This type of clinch will hold the shoe on securely under normal
circumstances but should a horse step on the shoe or get it caught in wire, the
clinches will open relatively easily and slide cleanly through the n ail holes
in the hoof wall, letting the shoe come off cleanly without taking chunks of hoof
wall with it.
shoes can be caused by a variety of factors including a horse's conformation,
his way of going, poor riding, deep or wet footing, and poor management.