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Short Shoes
  2005 Richard Klimeshl   Copyright Information


Do you have any knowledge on the proper way a horse is to be shoed when turned out all day.

My vet does not like that my horse has short shoes in the front; however, the farrier insists that this is the correct method for all day turnout so he does not put pressure on the hoof and trough a shoe. I have a Palomino, he is in with 5 horses. I have owned him almost a year and and he seems to have a weakness in the front right hoof. He has a crack and a piece of hoof missing (maybe a half inch) on the very front part of his toe to the shoe. It just seems to get to the boint where is is almost grown out and he will trip again and create the same problem over and over again. It does not extend up the hoof but concerns me a great deal.

I am afraid that he trips because the shoes are short and this problem is becoming repetitive. Can you provide some guidance on how he should be shoed.

thank you

Hi Kathy,

Your vet is right for recognizing that "short shoes" are not good for your horse and your horse is lucky that you are concerned enough to look for other options.

Horse For Sale by Cherry HillWhether a horse is being turned out all day or not, if he needs shoes then he should be shod for optimum balance and support. You can find out what that means here: Good Shoeing.

Short shoeing is when the heels of the shoe are held very close to the heels of the hoof. This practice can adversely affect movement and lead to lameness and permanent hoof problems. For proper support of the hoof the shoe typically extends back past the heels and is wider than the hoof at the heels to allow the hoof to expand as it grows.

Many farriers use short shoes and fit them "close" (leaving no expansion room) to minimize the risk of a horse stepping on a heel of the shoe and pulling it off. This is a risk, but is not as big a one as most people think. You can find out more about lost shoes here: Lost Shoes.

If you are not riding your horse, or if you are only riding on soft footing, such as an arena, your horse might be better off without shoes than being shod with short shoes.

Another consideration is that barefoot would make a safer situation for the other five horses that your Palomino is turned out with - being kicked with a shod hoof can cause a more serious injury than being kicked with a bare hoof.

Regarding the crack and chip on your horse's hoof ( I am assuming it is on a front hoof ). It would be imprudent of me to suggest a shoeing option without seeing your horse, but what you describe - a crack that does not extend up the hoof wall and a 1/2" chip missing near the shoe - does not sound that uncommon or serious...for a barefoot horse. But for a shod horse to have a chronic crack, and especially a chip that won't grow out, makes me wonder if there is something going on inside the hoof wall that is weakening it.

Your Horse Barn DVDYour horse could be tripping because of short shoes, but I can't see where tripping would prevent the crack and chip from growing out - the shoe should protect the hoof and if the hoof is healthy the crack should grow out in one or two trimmings.

My advice to you is to find the best farrier in your area and have him/her and your vet get together with you to examine your horse and devise a shoeing/trimming plan. Here is an article on finding and good farrier: Finding a Farrier

And here is a website to help you find a farrier in your area: Find a Farrier.

Best of luck!      

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