For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Ok Ok I couldn’t help myself. This has always been one of my favorite poems since I was a kid and since I wanted to talk about the horses hooves it kind of tied right in.
As Fall is swiftly approaching….alright pretty much arrived and converging on winter. I’ve noticed my horses hooves are really growing faster then they usually are.
As riders and horse enthusiasts I think one of the best things we can do is learn to understand the workings of the horses hoof. Without a hoof we have no horse!
Now I’m not going to go into great detail about it (at least not in this post) .or turn this into a shod vs barefoot debate. Though I do prefer barefoot.
I’m learning about the horses hooves and farrier work myself but I do believe that everyone who has horses at home should at least have some working knowledge of what horses feet should look like and be able to use a rasp fairly well to smooth off any sharp edges or even up a hoof without calling out a farrier. (I mean who doesn’t want to save money to right?)
Each horses hooves grow differently. Take Jack and Cash for example. Jack’s feet try to grow way more heel then toe. It doesn’t help that he likes to drag his feet bit so I have to be careful and watch his heels don’t get to long or his toes to short. Cash on the other hand is the opposite. He tends to grow more toe then heel and I have to shave a bit of his toes every once in a while.
Another reason I believe all horse owners should have at least a basic understanding of their horses hooves is to make sure the farrier is doing a correct job. Like a Vet a good farrier is hard to find and worth his weight in gold to keep him.
I recently had my horses worked on and could not understand why Cash was almost dead lame the next day. Part of it was his feet are still adapting to Washington n having soft soles anything above soft squishy grass hurt… but he was head bobbing lame. It wasn’t until I looked at the bottom of his feet that I noticed his heels weren’t even close to even and he’d been cut a bit short in the toe. Thankfully I always carry a rasp in my trailer and was able to rasp his heels down to be level with each other and balance his feet. Then all it took was patience (and a bit of iodine) for his feet to toughen up again.
Jack was surprisingly great with his feet after the mess of Cash’s.
I’d like to tell everyone to invest in a farrier book. There are quite a few on the market, and just read through them. It is actually quite amazing the stuff I’ve started to learn! There is depths to shoeing and trimming I had no idea existed.
Also, If you already have a good farrier ask them if they can show you how to do a basic rasping on the horses hooves. Most are happy to show you and if you mess up they are there to help fix it before it gets to bad. I try to make it so my farrier only has to come out 2 times a year if I can. Sometimes its not possible but who doesn’t like to save money? (and get a good workout!)