Horseshoes can be quite heavy and the weight of the horseshoe is what you first notice when you pick one up. There are many reasons for using horseshoes and there is a whole process involved regarding its application. This will be done by an experienced farrier.
A horseshoe is applied by nails or using special glue. These are generally made of metal such as steel or aluminium that is in the shape of a U and this will be attached below the hoof of the horse. The shape of the horseshoe resembles the shape of the horse’s hoof. The use of nails is what is generally done but attaching the horseshoe with glue is used in temporary situations. A farrier will use their farrier supplies to ensure that the hoof is cleaned, trimmed and ready for the horseshoe to be applied. There will make sure that the horseshoe fits the horse well. Some modifications will be required as horses will have different sizes and shaped hooves. There is a lot of physical strength that is required in the profession of being a farrier as they will have to keep the hoof of the horse in place before the shoe is put on and also during the application. Not many horses will hold steady for this so some strength is required.
But if you are wondering whether all horses need horseshoes, this is not something that is required. You can have your horse go without or unshod. The reason that horseshoes are used is that it keeps the hooves of the horse protected. The hooves are quite similar to our toenails in the sense that they are both made of keratin. The hoof will grow and it has to be trimmed and rounded. When comparing the life of a wild horse to a domesticated horse, their lifestyle is vastly different. Wild horses will walk on so many different types of terrains and their hooves will wear out and stay healthy because of this. You can also find them in dry climates so they will be walking on hard surfaces that will help with the wearing. They will have strong and thick hooves that can be quite impervious to damage.
But when the horse is living on a farm or ranch, they don’t walk on so many different varieties of surfaces because the ground surface will be more or less uniform across the property. Also, they will not walk as much as a wild horse will so wearing of the hoof is different. The ground is most often soft and this will not strengthen the hoof. Because of this, horseshoes are used. Also, domesticated horses weigh more than wild horses so this contributes to weakening of the hooves. The domesticated horses are also confined for a certain part of the day and the ground they walk on will have urine and faeces. This will further affect the condition of the hoof. In addition to protection, horseshoes can provide much needed traction to a horse’s hoof so that it doesn’t slip on less than ideal ground conditions.