Ever been in one of those discussions with people who
still think that shoeing is necessary for their horse? Can't remember
all the reasons why it is not a good idea as far as the horse is concerned?
Here are 16 quick points to bring up about the damage they can do...
Horseshoes Prevent The Hoof Wall from Wearing - Normal movement
of an unshod horse wears down the lateral walls, toes and heels naturally.
This is not possible if the hoof is shod...and the hoof grows while
the shoe is still on, contracting the foot and creating unnatural angles
in the foot.
Vibrations from Horseshoes Destroy Hoof Wall & Damages Living
Tissue - Studies by Luca Bein show that vibrations at 800 Hz on
living tissue destroys the capillaries at the ends of blood vessels.
The vibrations of horseshoes are similar and destroy the solar corium.
Horseshoes Impair Shock Absorption & Movement Of the Sole -
A horse loses between 70-80% of natural shock absorption with shoes
on. This means that the bones and joints take a tremendous pounding...and
this is why so many shod horses are finished before their time. A shod
horse walking has around 3 times the impact of an unshod horse trotting.
Horseshoes Impair Hoof Mechanism & the Circulatory Pump in
the Foot - The feet of every equine are miniature blood pumps aiding
the heart's circulation
through the establishment of Hoof Mechanism. Hoof Mechanism is the cyclical
process of a weight bearing foot descending (on a hoof that is properly
trimmed enough to leave concavity in the solar region of the foot),
so that the sole flattens out as the hoof walls expand. This allows
the coffin bone to descend and the solar corium to fill with blood.
The blood is then expressed upwards when the foot is not weight bearing.
Horseshoes inhibit--even prevent this process from occurring naturally
in the foot. The result is poor horn growth, no feeling and cold feet. Inset shows horse wearing one shoe.
Horseshoes Pinch The Corium & Living Tissues In The Hoof -
Shod horses can no longer break over naturally. The result is inflammation
to the coronary corium. Sort of like you trying to walk around in ski
boots all day long.
Horseshoes Produce Unnatural Strains on Ligaments & Joints
- This affects the lateral cartilages on break over as well as other
ligaments and tendon attached to joints when shod horses attempt to
turn sharply on soft ground only to have the shoes dig into the ground.
The horse trips and stumbles because it can no longer feel the ground.
Horseshoes Cause Bruising of the Navicular Area ("heel pain")
& Contraction - With growing hoof wall constrained by horseshoes...the
only direction things can go is up. High solar vaults begin to pinch
the solar corium against the coffin bone. The bars get forced upward
against the deep flexor tendon and navicular bone, bruising the coronary
Thrush - Restriction of blood circulation from shoeing causes
insufficient growth of the frog. Natural desiccation of the frog from
bacteria and microbes occur at a greater a rate than the impaired growth.
Unnatural Weight & Centrifugal Forces - Put some dumbells
in your hands and start boxing. You will notice how difficult and even
less accurate your punches are. This is how it is for horses who are
shod with metal shoes. 800 gram shoes are enough to throw things out
of synch and tear ligaments, cartilage and tendons, let alone account
for the damage a kick can have on other horses or humans (and I should
Nails Destroy the Hoof Wall - They vibrate. They let in bacteria,
microbes & ammonia. They damage the corium. They dry out the hoof
wall. They weaken the hoof wall. Hello!
Nails Conduct Cold Into the Interior of the Hoof - Metal conducts
heat/cold. On really cold days, nails conduct cold into the core of
the hoof, lowering its temperature. The Natural Hoof insulates against
Increased Risk of (Greater) Injury & Damage - Anybody who
owns shod horses knows the damage a single kick can cause other animals
and humans. Additionally, the damage done to trails and pasture by shod
horses in wetter weather is clearly uncontested.
Shoeing Contracts & Deforms the Hoof - Given enough time,
a shod horse will develop combinations of
several kinds of contractions ranging from contractions of the sole,
heels, bulbs, coronet, and bars. These will deform the foot and sooner
or later cause pain in the hoof.
Horseshoes Prevent Proper Development of a Young Horse's Foot -
A horse does not stop growing its feet till around age 5. If you shoe
a horse before then, you will inhibit the normal growth of the coffin
bone and the palmar processes.
"Orthopaedic" or "Corrective" Shoeing Doesn't
Solve Anything - The idea behind this is to make changes in the
foot. But any change from bad to good is going to require metabolic
changes in the foot (heat from circulation and the healing processes).
Corrective shoeing inhibits healing by limiting or preventing altogether
Incorrect Shoeing - Due to a lack of enforced standards in
the farrier industry, there are many poor examples of shoeing due to
ignorance, neglect, and poor training. This only serves to exacerbate
the problems shoeing already cause.