Help your horse keep his shoes on!
A horse shoe isn’t forever - hooves grow, nails loosen, horses play. But if you have a horse that seems to be yanking his shoes, consider these factors:
Your horse’s overall health and hoof health. Your Veterinarian and Farrier can help you access these things. Brittle and dry hooves are prone to cracking, which may play a role.
Your horse’s Farrier schedule. Waiting too long between Farrier visits means your horse grows a lot, then is trimmed a lot, so he’s going to extremes between visits. A shorter time frame between visits means that your horse stays more comfortable and doesn’t hit those extremes.
How wet is your horse’s environment? Too wet or too dry can lead to the horse shoes coming off before they are due. Try to avoid letting your horse soak in mud or water or the opposite.
Speaking of mud, it won’t actually yank off a shoe, but it will make the front feet stick, which makes the hind feet more likely to catch the front and remove the shoe.
What’s the fly situation like? If your horse spends a lot of time stomping, his shoes will be more likely to come off. Use fly boots in combination with other fly control methods.
How balanced and sound is your horse? The unbalanced horse has the same problem as the horse in mud, his hind feet might be faster than his front. Here, a trainer and a Veterinarian can help you.
Does your horse have a vice? Kickers and weavers put undue strain on their legs and hooves and shoes. Address the reasons for the vice and perhaps the shoe yanking will abate!
As you are uncovering the reasons for your horse’s shoe pulling shenanigans, be sure to use bell boots for prevention, and a hoof bandage if the shoe is pulled.
The horse’s hoof is an amazing structure, with layers and layers of tissue and function. The hoof wall is the barrier between the bones inside, as well as the soft tissue structures that hold your horse up!
The hoof wall is a changing structure, as is grows about 6 to 9mm a month. In a year’s time, most horses will have totally regrown their hoof wall. The majority of tissue in the hoof wall is keratin, and it’s about 25% water. If your horse is shod, the horse shoe nails go through the hoof wall.
In some parts of the county, the frozen ground is a welcome occurrence! Bugs are gone, snow might be coming, and the earth gets a time to rest. BUT - you horse’s hooves might not appreciate it so much.
Frozen ground is wickedly hard - harder than any concrete or asphalt road. It also likes to freeze rocks into place, creating little spikes in the ground. Your horse won’t be able to kick them out of the way, so tripping is a risk, as are nasty bruises from landing on one of those - even at the walk.
It’s almost inevitable that at some point, your horse will need his hooves soaked or iced. Common reasons for soaking a horse’s hoof include an abscess, white line treatment, or even icing for hoof bruises or laminitis. The best way to get this done is also the easiest way - with a Soaker Sack.