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 digital pulse is one way to get an instant reading of your horse’s hoof health! This pulse is found at the fetlock, and often reflects pain and inflammation in the hoof. Generally speaking, you may not be able to feel the digital pulse if the hoof is healthy and uninjured. However, as inflammation sets in, the pulse begins to strengthen and can often be strong to the point of bounding. This could be a sign of an abscess, a bruise, or laminitis. Your Veterinarian should always be called for any signs of hoof distress to rule out laminitis and start treatments.
The hoof is subject to stones, uneven terrain, bruises, thrush, and more! These are all situations in which a little tea tree and jojoba come in handy.
Always loop your Veterinarian in when your horse develops a hoof issue, to rule out laminitis and other painful conditions.
There are many reasons you may need to pack a hoof. Your horse could have a missing shoe. Your horse could also have an abcess, stone bruise, or your horse worked quite hard on bad footing, or just has sore feet. Be sure that you involve your Veterinarian at the beginning of any hoof distress, as you want to rule out laminitis, which might look like something else.