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Horse Hoof Care
Maximum Hoof Power
Horse For Sale by Cherry Hill
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage

Lost Shoes

  1998 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information


Dear Cherry,

    My horse is always losing shoes.  Why can't the farrier keep shoes on my horse?


Dear F.L.

Horse For Sale by Cherry Hill     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 soundness.

   Without expansion 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.

Your Horse Barn DVD    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.

    Lost 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.


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  2009 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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