Why is My Horse Throwing His Shoes?

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A horse who continually turns up with a thrown shoe can be incredibly frustrating for the horse owner and the farrier.? Not only is it expensive to constantly replace pulled shoes, but it also impacts on your ability to ride and exercise your horse.? It may be easy to blame the farrier for lost shoes, but there are many factors that could be causing the problem:

  • Poor hoof health.? A strong hoof wall is needed for shoes to be nailed on securely.? It is the hoof wall that holds the nails in place and, if it is compromised, the nails can easily be pulled out, thereby losing the shoe.
  • Lack of hoof growth.? A healthy horse has a good rate of hoof growth, meaning there is always new hoof wall to nail the shoes to.? Some horses who grow slowly have difficulty keeping shoes on as the hoof wall does not regenerate quickly enough to mend the damage made by the nails.
  • Improper gait.? Horses who ?forge? have a tendency to clip their front feet with their back as they are moving out.? As the hind foot reaches forward and hits the front foot, it can actually step on the shoe and pull it off.? If you suspect this is the case with your horse, listen for the clicking noise caused when the hind foot hits the shoe on the front.? Improving the horse?s breakover on the front feet will usually help this issue, so your farrier will likely roll the toe of the front foot and square off the toe of the hind foot.
  • Poor footing.? Horses will sometimes pull their shoes off if they slip or scramble on rough ground.? As their normal gait changes, the front foot stays on the ground for too long as the back foot comes forward and catches the shoe.? This often happens in muddy footing, which should be avoided where possible.

If your horse has a tendency to throw shoes, try keeping a pair of hoof boots on hand for emergencies and work with your farrier to identify the cause of your horse?s lost shoes.

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