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Many people have utilized horseshoes to preserve their horses’ hooves. Today’s farriers have access to horseshoes in a variety of styles and materials to match modern horses’ particular needs. Farriers can purchase some horseshoe styles in quantity from manufacturers, but they must custom forge others.
The fullered horseshoe is the “basic” horseshoe, used for leisure or trail riding. This type features wrinkles along the centers, called fullers, and this is where the farrier attaches the nails that hold the shoes to the hooves. The fullers fill with soil as the horses move, creating traction. These horseshoes are machine-made and sold by the keg.
The rim horseshoe is forged from steel, and each one has a wide groove that runs around the entire perimeter. This gives more grip than a dullard horseshoe and is widely employed on horses that compete at fast speeds, such as barrel racers and polo ponies. The outer rim may be taller than the inner rim, or the inner rim may be higher than the outer rim, depending on the horse’s demands.
The slider is wider and longer than other forms of horseshoes, being anywhere from 1 to 1 3/4 inches wide, depending on the size of the hooves. These aluminum shoes are specifically intended for reining horses so that they can make sliding stops.
This sort of shoe is sometimes called a baby slider. Like the slider, this shoe offers a little traction but does not allow the horse to slide as far. This shoe is meant for young rangers just learning a sliding stop and for rope horses who need to slide after the riders’ rope cattle.
The straight bar horseshoe contains a piece of metal between the horse’s heels to protect the heels and bulbs on the feet. These are for horses that require greater support in that area. For example, horses with sheared heels, white line disease, or quarter cracks benefit from this style of shoe. These shoes may feature a leather pad between the shoe’s and the hoof for additional support. Farriers can either custom forge these shoes or buy them in bulk from manufacturers. Straight bar shoes are less popular than egg bar horseshoes because of the risk of crushing a horse’s heels if not properly fitted.
The egg bar horseshoe design is identical to the straight bar, but the egg bar has an additional piece of metal that extends one inch toward the horse’s frogs on their hooves. These metal sneakers are lightweight. Farriers can install wedges under horses’ heels using this shoe if animals need more support. These shoes may also be “bonded,” meaning they include a layer of rubber between the hooves and the shoes, which absorbs more concussion when horses move. This shoe is for particular horses and those who compete in high-stress athletic events such as racing, show jumping, and high levels of dressage.
Egg bar shoes can cause harm during turnout if horses snag front egg bar shoes with their rear hoofs or if horses catch these shoes on wire fencing. Consider limiting turnout to small areas with wood fencing and putting big rubber bell boots that cover the back of the egg bar shoes to lessen the chances of accidents.
Like the straight bar and egg bar horseshoes, the heart bar horseshoe supports the horse’s heels and bulbs, but adds additional frog support. Horses wear this sort of shoe temporarily while recovering from founder or laminitis, usually only on the front hooves. Farriers must custom forge these horseshoes.
The Right Shoe
In 1751, in the book No Foot, No Horse, the author stresses the significance of hoof care, especially correct shoeing. Today’s well-trained farriers have significant knowledge about which shoe, if any shoe, is ideal for each horse.