Threads

See more results

Topics

Usernames

Mumsnet Logo
Please
or
to access all these features

Mumsnet does not check the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you're worried about the health of your horse, please speak to a vet or qualified professional.

Ignorant question re horses' hoofs
17

hugglymugly · 14/05/2011 20:44

I know nothing about horses. I rode a horse (or maybe it was pony) once, and that was an embarrassing experience (for me, not the horse). Blush

I've watched some of the "Animal Cops" programmes on Sky and I've been impressed by the farriers, who do such wonders with rescued horses, even though I wince while watching and have to remind myself that treating a horse's hoof is no different from a human having a pedicure.

But what about wild horses? There must be some, in various places in the world, who never see a farrier in their lives. Do their hoofs get worn down naturally? And can they cope throughout their lives without ever having shoes?

Yes, you can tell I'm ignorant. But if I don't ask the question, I'll never know the answer.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

CMOTdibbler · 14/05/2011 20:49

Horses in the wild move many miles a day looking for food, so their hooves wear down naturally

Please
or
to access all these features

olderyetwider · 14/05/2011 21:19

But horses in the wild don't live as long, or as comfortably (they also don't work on roads, or carry humans on their backs)

Please
or
to access all these features

Pixel · 14/05/2011 22:19

And wild horses don't do jumping (well maybe the odd log or stream I suppose) and a lot of jumpers have studs to help them grip so they need shoes for that.

To be fair it's not completely black and white. Lots of horses work happily without shoes depending on the work they are doing (mine has never had shoes on but goes on the roads all the time) and not all wild ponies have good feet. There was a mare rummaging around our tent in the New Forest last year and her feet were appalling, I felt really sorry for her.

Please
or
to access all these features

Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 15/05/2011 12:35

Wild horses feet wear down and chip naturally. They may wear down into odd shapes, but these generally suit the natural movement and shape of the horses feet. Horse from different environments Ie stony, hot or damp have different hoof types, hard, small, wide, etc.

Please
or
to access all these features

AlpinePony · 15/05/2011 15:23

Iron shoes were developed in the middle ages to protect the hooves of horses kept in forts/castles/compounds on a bed of straw/shit/urine. The irons lifted the hooves that crucial inch off the floor and away from the ammonia. When horses movements are not restricted by insufficient grazing or stabling then their hooves are not subjected to matter which encourages them to rot.

My horse is barefoot (has no shoes) - it's hard work to maintain in a "non-natural" environment, however is, I believe, as close as we can get to cruelty-free.

Horses die in the wild younger but by a cruel twist of fate, shoeing them destroys their legs and they die younger than they "should" anyway.

The Houston police horses are barefoot - they don't only skip across grassy football stadiums. Wink

Please
or
to access all these features

Butkin · 15/05/2011 16:05

Depends on what the horses need to do. Our Section A and B Welsh ponys don't wear shoes because they have tough hooves and don't do a lot of road work. However the farrier trims them every time he visits (about once every 8 weeks) to keep them in good shape. We know some Shetlands with awful feet near us - they are far to long and beginning to turn up at the toes.

Our Connemara has just started wearing shoes because she does lots of road work as part of her fitness campaign. They last about 8 weeks. She'd never need them in her wild existence - on the boggy moors of Ireland where they would wear down naturally.

My horse wears them all year round to keep his feet in good condition.

Please
or
to access all these features

Lucyinthepie · 15/05/2011 17:17

All three of mine, different breeds, are barefoot and I do a lot of hacking on roads. Roadwork is quite beneficial for unshod hooves. If you have a barefoot working horse then you can make sure that the diet, environment and trimming is the best it can be to benefit their hooves. Get that right and very few need to wear shoes.
Wild horses "self trim", but they do a different job to domestic horses and probably don't need their hooves to be so carefully balanced. Also, if they get hopping lame with an abcess they probably get brought down by predators.
This is quite an interesting read rockleyfarm.blogspot.com/

Please
or
to access all these features

Lucyinthepie · 15/05/2011 17:21

And this www.rockleyfarm.co.uk/RockleyFarm/Home.html
Look at the Research tab, very interesting work on completely curing "navicular".

Please
or
to access all these features

Booboostoo · 15/05/2011 17:27

There are some fashinating studies of the hooves of wild horses. They have a very distinctive round appearance which, the theory goes, is created by covering miles and miles of ground but, crucially, the ground has to be varied and at least some of it has to be pebbly and uneven. Both the amount of ground covered in a day and the type of uneven ground are very difficult to recreate given how we keep domesticated horses.

Please
or
to access all these features

Booboostoo · 15/05/2011 17:28

Here is a photo of the hoof of a wild horse, it looks totally different to domesticated animals:

<a class="break-all" href="http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=www.kimberlyannjackson.com/Wild_Horse_Hoof.jpg&imgrefurl=www.kimberlyannjackson.com/&usg=__GEdOHHGHlOSp_oBStIPYeUXDiFU=&h=391&w=434&sz=32&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=P35jxhr71LGT8M:&tbnh=141&tbnw=164&ei=-P7PTZn7FJOu8QPx38XtDQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwild%2Bhorse%2Bhoof%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1276%26bih%3D851%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=327&page=1&ndsp=30&ved=1t:429" rel="nofollow noindex" target="_blank">www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=www.kimberlyannjackson.com/Wild_Horse_Hoof.jpg&imgrefurl=www.kimberlyannjackson.com/&usg=__GEdOHHGHlOSp_oBStIPYeUXDiFU=&h=391&w=434&sz=32&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=P35jxhr71LGT8M:&tbnh=141&tbnw=164&ei=-P7PTZn7FJOu8QPx38XtDQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwild%2Bhorse%2Bhoof%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1276%26bih%3D851%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=327&page=1&ndsp=30&ved=1t:429,r:17,s:0&tx=91&ty=76

Please
or
to access all these features

hugglymugly · 15/05/2011 18:14

Thanks for the informative and fascinating answers. I think I got the view from those TV programmes that shoes were always necessary to protect their hoofs, hence wondering how wild horses coped without. I hadn't realised that not all horses are shod. I've read all the responses and followed all those links and I'm surprised by how much I didn't know before. But I don't live in a rural area, so the only horses I've seen have been on TV documentaries.

But I now know a bit more than I did before, which to me is always a good thing, so thanks everyone for that.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

MitchiestInge · 15/05/2011 20:28

It is interesting isn't it? And expensive, my horse's front feet wear much much faster than they grow and since we've been doing more work on roads he has to be shod all round at depressingly frequent intervals. Six weeks would be good but he starts taking the fronts off before then Hmm. By contrast the pony never ever needs anything done to his feet (apart from picking stones and crap out obviously), they just stay the same all the time - he must automatically adjust the rate of growth to the level and type of work. He also luckily doesn't spend almost all his time scraping the ground, kicking things and so on.

Please
or
to access all these features

Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 15/05/2011 21:25

Anyone tried those trainers for horses? I like the idea of only putting them on for work, and not having nail holes.

Please
or
to access all these features

Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 15/05/2011 21:25

Anyone tried those trainers for horses? I like the idea of only putting them on for work, and not having nail holes.

Please
or
to access all these features

Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 15/05/2011 21:26

Doh!

Please
or
to access all these features

olderyetwider · 16/05/2011 08:26

A woman at our yard who does endurance fairly seriously has her Arab barefoot, and he wears equiboots (hence to be known as horse trainers) when he needs them. She's really happy with the arrangement

Please
or
to access all these features

Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 16/05/2011 12:33

I think they are a great idea! Id love to see our shetland in a pair! Grin

Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.