Your farrier has a huge array of standard and therapeutic options at his disposal to optimise your horse’s health and performance, as Briony Reed discovers
The importance of equine hoof care has long been understood – bronze horseshoes were found in an Etruscan tomb dating from 400BC, and horses in Roman times wore “hipposandals” not unlike a modern hoof boot.
In recent decades, scientific research has finessed the wealth of knowledge in the profession. Dynamics and biomechanics are now taken into account to ensure that whatever your horse’s job, the correct shoeing will optimise his performance and address any imbalances or foot conditions.
Discipline, surfaces, hoof condition and conformation will all affect shoe choice, as will the level of support and grip needed, and shoeing cycle length. Racers wear thin, narrow shoes of light steel or alloy – aircraft grade in some cases – whereas dressage horses working on an artificial surface will have very different weight and grip requirements.