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We have two horses, a thoroughbred and Arab cross that have spent most of their time in paddocks being ridden occasionally into the local bush land. They are not shod and their hooves are filed periodically.

However the children are riding them more frequently and onto the road to meet up with friends and access a different area of bush land.

I have received some conflicting advice.

What are the signs my horses could benefit from being shod?

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It's not necessity to shoe a horse. In your case, I don't see a reason to shoe your horse. Shoeing is done when the horse is used for racing purpose or the horse is to be used on places where it is filled with stones and sands. You wrote your horses don't run on rough lands. Again, shoeing can give birth to infections around the nails often. Sometimes shoes can cause numbness in the long run at the exterior parts of a leg. Besides, it is a well known fact that shoes can create blood-flow problems in the shod places. So, I would suggest, avoid shoeing unless it's really necessary.

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There are cases where the hooves might get too short, which will cause the horse to lame - you couldn't miss that sign, I suppose. If your horse trips a lot during rides on hard roads, that might be another sign.

Nowadays there are so many good alternatives, that shoeing should be avoided whenever possible, since horse shoes do great damage to the inside of the hooves and can cause injuries. Most horses can do well all their life without shoes, there are simply to many owners that don't have any clue and shoe their horses because the other riders say so, and the farrier says so, so it must be true... You get the idea.

Especially if your horse is in the paddock most of the time, you should prefer horse boots over horse shoes, as you can remove them after the ride. Nowadays horse boots are so well designed that there are great designs that can even be used in competitions - no shoeing needed anymore. They aren't yet as popular as they should be since many owners simply don't know enough about the topic, but I hope to live until the time where metal shoes become history.

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  • agree re metal shoes – user6796 Nov 22 '19 at 7:22

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