Why Horses Need Shoes: The Ultimate Guide

It’s important to know why horses need shoes. Horses are large animals and they have hooves, which means that their feet can get hurt if the ground is too rough or uneven. Without shoes, it would be difficult for a horse to go on walks because the ground would cause them pain in their feet with every step they take. In this blog post, we will cover all of these topics and more!

Horses need shoes to protect their hooves. Horses can have hoof problems, including Navicular syndrome and white line disease. When a horse has Hoof abscesses (which are pus-filled pockets on the bottom of their feet), it’s important to get these drained so that they don’t become infected.

Horses need shoes for protection from ground hazards such as sharp objects, stones, and burrs. When a horse walks on these surfaces, they will often end up with injuries to their feet which can lead to serious problems later on down the road.

Some horses need shoes because of nail trims or other hoof treatments that may cause them pain in certain areas of the foot. Certain breeds have more issues than others (such as the Thoroughbred).

Horses need shoes because they don’t grow their own nails like humans do. Horses have what are called “Quarter Hairs” that help to protect them from injury and also provide traction when walking on slippery surfaces, such as ice or snow. However, these hairs can sometimes be too short for a horse to be able to walk on certain surfaces without shoes.

A horse’s hoof is made up of a multitude of layers, many which are like human fingernails and can wear down as the animal walks or runs. However, unlike humans who would just trim their nails when they get too long, horses need special attention in order to maintain healthy hooves. Horses need to be trimmed by a professional farrier on average every six weeks, which can run anywhere from $25-$150 depending on the size of the horse and what needs to be done at each visit.

Horses also have an extra layer of skin called “Quarter Sheaths” that are located in between their hoof and their skin like a sock. These can tear and crack, or even grow over the horse’s hoof causing it to become painful for them to walk on hard surfaces such as pavement or gravel without some form of protection.

Quarter Sheaths are very sensitive so many horses will have trouble with shoes that extend too far around the edges of their hoof. If you are in doubt about the size, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and get a shoe that is too small rather than too large because they can be replaced easily.


Shoed horses will have less issues with their hooves cracking or splitting when walking across hard surfaces like pavement, which means that shoes for horses are a very important investment.

Benefits of Shoeing Your Horse:

  • The hoof is protected from the wear and tear associated with walking on hard surfaces without shoes.
  • Horses may have less issues with their hooves splitting or cracking when they walk across pavement, which means that shoeing your horse can be an important investment.
  • Horses can be shoed every two weeks, but this depends on the horse’s lifestyle and how quickly their hooves grow. ( Most often they won’t need replacements but once or twice a year)
  • Some horses will need to have shoes refitted as they get used to wearing them or their hoof becomes damaged from long periods of time without a shoe fitted properly.

Can Your Horse Live Without Shoes?

  • The horse’s hooves will need to be trimmed every four weeks, and this is why we have a lot of people asking if your horse can live without shoes.
  • It is possible for horses to go barefoot in some situations where they are not walking on hard surfaces or spending too much time in the pasture.
  • Horses who are grazing on soft, natural surfaces can be able to live without shoes as the terrain provides them with a lot of traction.
  • Shoes for horses only provide protection and support when they need it most!

What Are The Different Types Of Horseshoes?

There are different types of horse shoes that you should know about:

  • Horseshoes are the most common type of shoe that is used on horses, and it fits around the hoof like a cap.
  • Square shoes have straight edges in all four corners, which provide more traction to help absorb shock from walking or running.
  • Eggbar shoes are designed to provide extra support for horses who are recovering from an injury or have weak hooves.
  • Pintered shoes provide a different type of traction for those slippery surfaces such as asphalt and smooth floors, which is why they’re most commonly used in riding arenas.

How Often Should Horses Change Shoes?

The frequency that a horse needs to change their shoes depends on the type of horse, how often they are ridden and walked on different surfaces. Some horses may only need to have their shoes changed once a year, while others can go as long as three years between changes.

More Benefits of Shoes for Horses:

  • The shoes help the horse’s hooves to grow thicker and more sound, because they are not being ground down by daily movement.
  • They provide support to horses who have weak hooves or an injury that may cause them discomfort when walking on hard surfaces.
  • For those slippery surfaces, shoes offer the horse some traction.
  • Horses that wear shoes often have less foot pain due to decreased pressure on their feet and joints from standing too long in one place without moving around.

Can a Horse Live Without Shoes?

Yes! A study has found that there is evidence of horses in nature who live healthy lives with no shoeing and have healthy feet.

Horses can survive for a while without shoes, but in the long run they will need to wear them if they plan on living anywhere other than an extremely secluded area where there are no paved surfaces or gravel roads.

Shoes help keep hooves strong by limiting weight-bearing activity that could otherwise weaken the hoof.

Horses need shoes for protection from their environment and to help keep their feet healthy. Shoes are an important part of horse care, so don’t neglect your animal!

In Conclusion:

When it comes to shoeing your horse it is always recommended to have this done. This can protect your horse’s feet over the long run and eliminate any chances of serious injury that could lead to infection and other physical issues. Remember that shoeing for your horse really depends on how often they are ridden, what types of surfaces they are walking on daily etc. Having your horse fitted for shoes is a normal part of being a horse owner.

Scroll to Top