When asking yourself what the cost of shoeing a horse is, a better question may be what are the potential costs of not shoeing your horse.
This is so because, having your horse fit for shoes (also known as being shod) can help fix conformation faults, protect weak hooves and prevent bruising for constant impacts and stones.
The cost of shoeing a horse often is the only factor people take into account when deciding whether or not to shoe their horses.
But when making that vital choice. It’d be vital for you want to look at the bigger picture.
Shoeing a Horse: Should Your Horse Wear One?
There are several factors to take into account when deciding if your horse should wear shoes or go barefooted.
Your horse’s natural hoof health and structure and the level of activity your horse engages in will help to determine if your horse needs shoes or not. Many horse owners keep their horses on a rotating schedule between shoeing and keeping their horses unshod.
Horse Shoe Pros
- Prevents wear and tear
- Adds protection against rocky footing
Horse Shoes Cons
- Buying a horse’s shoes spells out an additional expense
- Poor quality shoes could invariably cause damages to the horse’s goof
- Horses will build up natural protection
- Thicker soles
- Wont allow the correction of conformation faults
- The foot will get easily sore and bruised
Shoeing a Horse: Is it Necessary?
As with many points of discussion in the equine world, the answer to the question ‘is shoeing a horse necessary’ depends on the actual horse. According to the Practical Horseman, horses with naturally strong and healthy feet who are not inexperienced in rough terrain or jumps, could in fact go barefooted in most occasions.
On the other hand, horses with nutritional deficiencies, like arthritis or ringbone, or conformation issues and a high level of inactivity, will most likely need shoes.
Why Should I Shoe My Horse?
As stated earlier, the choice of shoeing your horse is dependent on the very horse in question. For instance if you’re working with a show horse, shoeing them will add protection to their feet when outside the arena, and also help in preventing costly injuries.
Also, high-level jump and event horses, may also benefit from wearing shoes because of the increase in concussions their feet experiences.
And finally, workhorses who are always out in the wet(slippery ground condition) can benefit from wearing some special shoes which will help in adding traction to their movement.
Four Reasons to Shoe Your Horse
According to Travis Burns, CJF, TE, EE, FWCF, assistant professor of practice and chief of farrier services at the VMCVM, there are four good reasons to shoe your horse;
- Protection: For horses whose feet often wear off faster than they grow, as a result making it soft, wearing them a pair of shoes might probably be an ideal option, at least temporarily.
- Therapeutic: The main reason why some horses need specifically designed shoes, is to help them treat disease conditions or to manage/compensate for conformational defects. A shoe can help a weak hoof capsule hold its shape, and get back its proper balance.
- Proper traction: Depending on what purpose a horse is used for, some do require different levels of traction. For instance, those that run and jump need more traction, while reining horses, which are often obligated to make sliding stops, need less of it.
- Gait alteration: For instance, if a horse is interfering (hitting opposing limbs with his feet as he moves), the farrier can use special shoes to prevent this.
Also, wearing your horse a shoe can help in changing or enhancing a certain phase of the horse’s stride and alter animation, especially in some gaited breeds.
*This list was featured in the article, Got Healthy Hooves? Here’s How to Keep Them That Way by Heather Smith Thomas, published on thehorse.com on May 22, 2019
Do Horse Shoes Hurt?
It’d interest you to know that if done properly, shoeing your horse will be one of the most pleasant thing you will ever give to your horse.
Horse hooves can be compared to human fingernails in that, they keep growing and protect the skin underneath. And just as you rarely feel any pains when you trim your nails, the same goes for a horse’s hooves.
But just as our nails may break off when engaging it in a rigorous activity, a horse’s hooves are likely to be damaged in the same way when running barefooted. This is why most people put shoes on their horse’s hoofs.
How Much Does it Cost to Shoe a Horse?
According to the latest Farrier Business Practices survey conducted by American Farriers Journal, the average nationwide price for trimming four hooves and applying four keg shoes is $142.09.
As the skill and quality of a farrier’s work increases, the cost of shoeing a horse will increase as well. Thus, keep in mind that not only will you be paying for the farrier’s time, but also covering the cost of materials that will be used in shoeing, the delivery gas mileage, and any other overhead the farrier might take on.
How Often Does a Horse Need to See a Farrier
Horse owners typically have both their shod and barefooted horses seen by farriers every four to six weeks for maintenance.
Regardless of if you decide to shoe your horse or let them go barefoot, you should schedule them to see a farrier at regular intervals throughout the year.
In addition to shoeing your horse, farriers trim hoofs and can accurately assess your horse’s hoof health, which can be a serve as a plus, no matter how your horse performs.
What to Look for in a Farrier
The American Farrier Association can help you find experienced farriers in your area by searching country, location and special certifications you may be looking for.
To get help from a quality farrier, you can ask for recommendations from your veterinarian as well as other horse owners, and be sure to inquire about their educational and training status.
Do not let the cost of shoeing a horse deter you from talking to farriers and learning how their trade can help you keep your horse healthy and safe from harm.
Is The Cost of Shoeing a Horse Worth It?
Given the length of time between shoeing and the expertise you’re paying for, the cost of shoeing a horse can be incorporated into your horse care budget.
Meaning, while some horses can go barefooted, filing your horse’s hooves and shoeing them can help fix a variety of issues and protect your horse from injuries.