August 27, 2007
I can never say enough about taking care for your horse’s hooves because the old verse is so true. I am sorry I can’t give credit to the writer because this verse was read to me as a young boy:
“For the loss of a nail,
a shoe was lost.
For the loss of a shoe,
a horse was lost.
For the loss of a horse,
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a lancer was lost.
For the loss of a lancer,
a battle was lost.
For the loss of a battle,
a war was lost.
For the loss of a war,
a country was lost.”
It was probably written when the horse was the main mode of transportation. I used to say that I wished we could go back to those days but I know we would not be living as High on the Hog as we are. However since they have made so much about “Global Warming”, we may go back to the old days just to survive (if it is not too late).
Anyway, we should be taking care of our horse’s feet faithfully because a lame horse can’t do the work and can become permanently crippled. I had to put down my old horse for this reason because the people I let use him did not take care of his feet the way I did myself, and told them to do.
We need to follow good hoof care the following way:
– Daily attention – Clean the feet daily before riding and check the bottoms before and after riding. A hoof dressing may be used to keep feet in condition, especially in dry weather.
– Trim and shoe on schedule – Horses feet grow at about an average of 3/8 inch per month. Every horse needs his feet trimmed at least every two months to remove excess growth and to keep his feet from growing in the wrong angle which causes a strain on his bones, joints and muscles. Wild horses keep their bare feet trimmed by the amount of traveling they do just to eat. Those who have foot problems and become lame fall prey to natural predators or starve.
– Shoe as needed – If a horse is worked hard or if his feet are not strong they wear down and grow at different angles which can create leg problems. Shoeing gives the horse protection from tender feet as well as extra traction for a more secure ride, especially in speed events. Some horses need special shoeing or trimming to correct problems in their feet and legs. Shoeing depends on the kind of work, ground the horse works on and how hard he works as well as the special needs of the horse. A good farrier can advise the kind of shoe best suited for the type of work a horse must do.
Have fun, but take care of your special friend.
Roger Thompson is a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.