Horse Losing Shoes
Articles horse lameness lamintis founder background
Click on Banner to return to home page.

Losing Horseshoes

Many shod horse’s go through life without or rarely losing a shoe. Those are farrier money savers. When a horse loses a shoe, the farrier is called out to re-tack or replace the shoe onto the horse. The farrier then needs to travel to the location where the horse is kept. For the sake of argument let’s say that the travel time is thirty-five minutes. The removal of tools from the farrier rig and set up is 5 minutes, re-tack the shoe (simple keg shoe and if hoof was still is in good condition) 5 minutes, reload truck and make out the bill is 10 minutes. Farriers drive back home 35 minutes. Total time is one hour and thirty minutes. Normally a farrier can shoe a horse in forty-five minutes. Now let’s say the farrier normally charges one hundred seventy five dollars to shoe a horse all around, being that in one hour and thirty five minutes he or she can shoe two horses and earn 340.00 dollars. So when the farrier comes out and re-tacks a shoe for fifty dollar you can understand that the farrier is losing money. Even with the charge of fifty dollars, this barely covers expenses for the farrier. Average cost of driving a work truck per mile is $1.20. Now let us times that by 40 miles, this equals $48.00. So as a current customer, the farrier is doing the work at cost to keep the customer happy. When a non current customer calls the farrier they will more than likely get a no for an answer to re-tack a shoe. My customers have the option to bring the horse to my place and I will re-tack a shoe on a good foot at not charge. My overhead cost to do five minutes of work is almost nil under this circumstance. The bottom line is that farriers do not want horse to loose shoes, so we shoe well to keep them on. We perform little tricks to help, such as rounding of edges on the shoes, so that if a horse steps on an opposite foot hopefully the offending shoe will roll off the other shoe.
The hoof wall is made of keatinized epithelial tubles. Think of a bunch of hair glued together. It is very similar to our own nails. Once we realize this concept, we can then understand the hoof wall when saturated with excess moisture is very soft and malleable much like our own nails. This soft hoof wall is not a good foundation for the nails to hold on to. When we see the clinches, (tip of nail folded over onto the wall) raise above and off the hoof wall it is a sign that hoof has shrinkage or malleable as to moisture. When a horse is freshly shod, the clinches are nice and tight. If the horse was shod when the hoof wall was saturated and swollen as the hoof wall dries out it will shrink, thereby loosening up the clinches on the hoof wall. The nails do not stretch and the farrier did not do a poor job shoeing your horse. If the horse is kept out of the moisture as much as possible, it will greatly help keep the shoes on in this sanario. Sometimes customers keep the horse in during the day and out at night so that the horse’s coat does not bleach out. But by doing so, these horses are left out on wet moist grass whether from dew or rain. So you may have a pretty horse that can not hold on shoes very well with soft soles for tenderness. Keeping the foundation up to par is very important. Bathing the horse frequently may cause or add to the problem. So take a look at your horses feet and do your horse a favor. The favors being the hoof wall remain strong and tough. Hoof moisturizers in my opinion are not for horses in Florida. There is enough moisture here to drive us crazy sometimes. We all are familiar with the torrential rain the goes on for a few days. Even tough dry spells are common; the horse loves the hard feet. Then someone decides to do the horse a favor and start moistening the hooves. All the while the trusty steed is screaming no, no, no please do not do that. Please do not make my feet hurt when I step on a stone, twig or what not.
Catching a shoe on fences, tree root, board fencing, wire placed on trees (to keep it from being chewed) is common. Horses may also pull a shoe while trying to stand up after lying down. If a horse I reprimanded aggressively while mounted or on the ground it is trying to get away from the scolding, and while doing so, may step on itself and pull a shoe. When in a stall with its hind end against the door there is a chance of the horse catching the shoe under the door as they walk forward if its foot is against the stall door. While backing a horse out of a trailer especially one with a ramp may also lead a shoe to being pulled. A imbalanced rider can be a contributing factor. I have seen it first hand when I was schooling a rider one day. As the rider was trying to keep the horse in a tight circle at the canter, I told her that she was off balance and by being such making the horse struggle to keep itself upright. Right after that statement, the horse stepped on itself and pulled a shoe.
Being quick to blame the farrier for lost shoes is sometimes ludicrous. Most often it is the doing of excessive moisture, shoes getting caught on something or rider error. We as horse owners should instead be embarrassed that we are poor riders or that we do not make our horses property “pull shoe proof “ or that the horse did something silly. I love my customers who call and state how the horse pulled its shoe. The stories are sometimes unbelievable but they saw it happen with their own eyes. I am sometimes amazed and amused.
Remember that the farrier does not want to come back to re-tack or replace a shoe. He or she strives for that in their work. Yes, there are instances that the horse has to be shod a certain way when there is a gait fault. Another farrier with more experience must be sot to correctly shoe the horse as to the fault. But on a whole, if your farrier has more than five years full time experience, lost shoes are normally not created by him or her.