Types of Horseshoes

Hopefully, most of us get through our farrier visits with ease and little problem but sometimes our horses require a more specialized approach above and beyond a normal shoe. It may be we have just felt our horse stumbling a bit more than normal or not quite tracking correctly, to more severe problems such as laminitis or a cracked heel. Either way to assist with whatever condition your horse may be suffering from it may require a shoe that you may not be familiar with. In today’s blog post we look at some of the more common types of horseshoes and what they do.

  • Concave – The most common shoe used by farriers for all types of disciplines or pleasure riding normally has a toe clip and comes in all sizes.
  • Comfort fit/ Rolled toe – slightly wider shoe with rolled toes, it gives more width and support to the hoof, it encourages an earlier break over which can help a horse that is stumbling a bit, it normally has side toe clips or none at all. The shoe sits slightly under the toe and being set back, helps horses with low heels and offers more heel support.
  • Flat shoe – is again a wider shoe and is seated out on the inner edge to take pressure off the sole and distribute it more onto the hoof wall. Can be good for horses that suffer from sole bruising or dropped soles
  • Bar Shoe/Flat Bar – has a plate across the heel to help provide more heel support by spreading pressure and distributing it more onto the frog. Can be helpful for horses that suffer from corns or weak heels
  • Egg Bar – like the bar shoe has an extra extension from the end of the shoe and as the name suggests it is shaped similar to an egg, it helps by extending the point of contact with the ground further back offering more support to the heel area.
  • Heart Bar – has an added piece directly over the frog to help transfer weight to the frog. Often used for horses suffering from laminitis, founder, or pedal bone problems. It can have side clips to help minimize expansion and contraction of the hoof which can be useful for horses with ¼ cracks or heel pain
  • Aluminium plates – Mostly seen on racehorses or high-performance horses such as eventers. They are a very lightweight shoe that reduces the weight these horses carry whilst competing, this can help with fatigue during competition. They have tungsten inserts in the toe to help the shoe wear better and last longer.
  • ¾ shoe – Can have a section of the heel part of the shoe removed this can help relieve pressure on certain areas of the heel or if a horse is suffering from a corn. This shoe is normally only for short-term remedial use and is not generally advised to compete on horses with a shoe like this fitted.
  • Raised heel – A shoe that has the heel section slightly raised. This changes the hoof angle and relieves the pressure on the ligaments attached to the back of the hoof. Can be good for horses recovering from tendon injuries
  • Rockers – The shoe is shaped so it is not quite flat this allows horses that may be suffering from laminitis to rock back or transfer weight to their heels for some relief from discomfort
  • Sliders – Generally seen on reining horses they felicitate the sliding stop and are generally longer and flatter in appearance
  • Glue on shoes – As the name suggested they are a glue-on shoe. Can be useful for horses that have very thin hoof walls or are very broken away, where placing nails isn’t an option. In the right environment, they are a great alternative to your traditional shoe however if out in a paddock situation they may not last as long.
  • Anti-brushing shoe – If you have a horse that brushes or speedy cuts sometimes it can help to rasp the inner side of the shoe a little thinner. This in theory makes the shoe heavier on the outside thus encouraging the horse to throw their leg slightly out more and help them track straighter.

These are just some of the shoes you may come across and obviously, there are more that you could add to this list. Our horses’ feet are so important and need good, regular attention so they can keep performing for us at their best. Remember any change in your horse’s shoeing should be thoroughly discussed with your farrier and in many situations, your vet so gradual proper care can be taken. Changing things too suddenly or too much can do more harm than good.

Written By Selena P.


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