Does your horse suffer from chips and cracks in its hooves? Does it struggle to walk on slippery surfaces? If not, you shouldn’t wait for your horse to acquire such health issues that often result in lameness and injuries. As the famous timeless saying goes, prevention is better than cure. One of the best ways to prevent these issues is to get a farrier to check your horse’s hoof, clean, reshape it and fit a new horseshoe that snugly fits onto the foot.
But what is a farrier, and how can they help your horses?
In this article, we will discuss what farriers are and how these hoof-care experts can help you keep your horse in the best condition. We will also share with you the benefits of getting your horse a horseshoe from a professional Farrier. Let’s dive right in.
What is a Farrier?
A farrier is a skilled equine hoof-care professional who specialises in shoeing horses and cleaning, trimming and shaping their hooves. They are reliable and proficient in working with different breeds of horses in different environments such as riding stables, farms and racetracks. Many animals need a farrier from pet horses, show horses, racehorses and even the animals in the zoo.
Quick fact: Most of farriers are self-employed. This profession offers them a flexible schedule, so some farriers opt to travel and provide their services to different horses that compete across the country.
But what is entailed to their jobs and how can they help your horses? Let’s dig into that further.
What Does a Farrier Do?
A farrier’s job is physically demanding because they would have to stand for a long time while bending and lifting the horse’s leg plus the shoes they fit are unique to every animal.
Farriers often shape horseshoes through two different processes. The first method is cold shoeing that requires the metal to be beaten into shape while it’s cold. The second one is hot shoeing where the farrier must form the shoes while the metal is hot.
But that is just a part of the shoeing process. Their job typically includes the following:
- Discuss and agree with the owner about shoeing requirements.
- Check the general health of the foot, leg and hoof of the horse, removing the excess hoof growth.
- Evaluate the horse’s gait, hoof balance as well as conformation.
- Choose the shoe that best suits the size, foot condition, type of activity and working conditions of the horse.
- Create horseshoes either by hand or machine.
- Adjust the shape of the shoes with a hammer and anvil
- Change and fit the new horseshoes.
How Does a Farrier Work?
Horses require trimming every six to eight weeks to help them keep the balance and stability of their feet and lower limbs. This task is challenging as horses are huge and powerful animals. Other than that, they also need different tools such as rasps and nippers, to trim and shape the hooves. They also need to make some adjustments and reshaping before finally applying horseshoes.
You can buy horseshoes in different sizes, weights and designs in the market. But if you want a horseshoe that snugly fits into the hooves of your horse, it would be best to ask farriers with skills in ironwork to make durable custom shoes. They can assess the conformation, gait and hoof balance when deciding on what adjustments to make. Thus, a horseshoe is essential for your horse.
Discover the advantages of applying horseshoe on your horse’s hoof and how it can keep your horse active and healthy.
The Benefits of Horseshoeing
Taking proper care of your horse’s hoof is vital, especially if your horse has an active work life, weak feet, or other hoof problems. However, it is not easy, and it requires a considerable amount of time as you need to get its feet trimmed every six to eight months, and you also have to put the horseshoes on or replace it if the farrier deems necessary. But, your horse can significantly benefit from wearing horseshoes provides the following advantages:
It protects your horse’s hooves:
Horse’s hooves are prone to chipping and cracks due to frequent riding on hard surfaces. That’s why you need to protect their feet with a horseshoe because it can help to absorb a considerable amount of impact when it takes a step, preventing the hooves from getting chipped. You can then be at ease because the crucial part of their feet is well-protected.
Adds extra traction:
Horses sometimes walk on slippery surfaces, and that’s where horseshoe, studs and other devices come in. It can add extra traction and significantly improve the ability of your horse to grip to the ground without slipping or sliding. Thus, it is very beneficial for competitive horses like racehorses, jumpers and polo ponies.
Corrects several hoof problems:
Horseshoes are mostly designed to fix specific hoof problems. Some are used to keep the medicine on the hoof, others prevent the hoof from getting bruises and damage, while some shoes change the shape and angle of the horse’s hoof. Corrective shoeing can also improve the quality of a horse’s life because it helps horses with genetic deformities like clubfoot to remain sound and able to work.
Alters the horse’s gait:
Your horse’s gait can be altered with extreme shoeing modifications. By simply changing the height and angle of the hoof, the way your horse moves, walk, trot and gallop would also change. And this is essential in competitions where trainers and exhibitors often employ a particular type of shoe to their gaited horse breeds to magnify and amplify their gaits.
So that explains what farriers do and how they are essential in keeping your equines healthy and in sound mind. Their work is not just limited to shoeing because their services also include trimming and cleaning of hoofs. Furthermore, horse owners can also consult farriers for recommendations regarding hoof care products, feeding, supplements and even fly sprays. So, if you have any questions regarding hoof care, asking trusted Farriers can be very beneficial.