Q:I have just moved to a new stable and my mare was shod by the yard’s farrier. The farrier says I have to make an appointment for her next set of shoes at the time she is shod.

I don’t want to do this as I usually call the farrier when the mare needs shoeing as I don’t always ride and the shoes aren’t always worn out. However, he says unless I re-appoint on a regular basis he won’t shoe my horse.

A I am afraid I would have to agree with your new farrier. Most farriers like to make appointments when they are at a visit. Horses should be shod every five or six weeks. Just because your mare’s shoes aren’t worn out doesn’t mean she doesn’t need to be shod.

A horseshoe is put on to protect the foot, but the horn continues to grow under that shoe. Unfortunately it doesn’t grow at the same rate. Most horses grow more toe than heel and the shoe gradually gets pulled forward during the shoeing period.

If the shoe isn’t removed and the horn trimmed, damage can start to occur to both the foot and the leg.

The long toe puts pressure on the flexor tendons at the back of the leg. These tendons put excessive pressure on to the navicular bone within the foot. Also, as the shoe stays on longer it begins to slide inside the horn working the nails loose which tears the horn.

Unless a horse is shod on a regular basis the foot will always be torn and broken and it becomes difficult to keep shoes on. This is a no win situation for both your farrier and your horse.

Also, as most farriers are extremely busy, you will find it much easier to get an appointment when booking early. Remember that your horses feet could suffer if you wait until she loses a shoe.