Monday, January 21, 2008

More on the problems of horse shoes:

As those of you who have spent any time with me at all know, I’m fairly opinionated…

“No! Really?”

Hey, watch it! I know what you’re thinking!

…and I spend most my waking hours thinking about horses and their hooves. So the fact that I’m capable of filling post after post on this blog with my opinions, thoughts and experiences with horse hooves comes as no surprise. I just wanted explain that before I ask you this question.

Can you believe that I’ve been pondering what we’ve been putting our horses through by shoeing them for many hundreds of years and that I have more to say on the topic?

Well, here is something that I find fascinating for you ponder also.

It just makes sense to me that not every farrier has the skill to shoe a horse “comfortably.” So it’s a given that not every set of shoes applied to every horse is a comfortable set of shoes.

In fact, I believe I can say with confidence that MOST horse shoers (except the most skilled) leave a horse standing in a very uncomfortable set of shoes.

Now I ask you, if someone gave you an uncomfortable pair of shoes and told you, you had to wear them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (and for most of that time you would be standing) and you could not remove them for 8 to 10 - and even much longer in some cases - weeks, can you imagine how you’d feel?
I imagine your feet would be numb within a couple days, maybe less than 24 hours. That’s typically what happens to the hoof.

Now take hooves that haven’t been trimmed properly and apply a set of shoes that don’t fit well. Never mind the steel nails driven into the hoofwall and sometimes into the sensitive laminae, or that the steel girder (shoe) keeps the hoof from flexing like it’s meant to and increases the amount of vibration the hoof must tolerate, or that shoe lifts all the functioning hoof parts off the ground that are meant to come impact the ground with every stride.

Beyond all of that and more, now let’s say the shoe salesman at your local shoe department sold you a pair of poorly fitting shoes for your 2 year old daughter and told you that once the shoes were on your child’s feet, you could not take them off for 8 to 10 - and frequently much longer - weeks.

You’d know that your child’s feet were going to grow during that time, not to mention all the other reasons for allowing your child to go barefoot most the time, so you as a wonderful caring parent, would be appalled at this crazy suggestion.

But we have no problem at all doing this to our young horses! Why? Because we think their perfectly healthy feet can’t function once the horse begins to work. We think? NOPE! We’re not thinking. Not about the horse anyway. We are thinking about our own convenience.

And one more thing, we don’t shoe our dogs who accompany us on miles of trails, and they have even softer soles than horses do.

So there you go. If you’re not scratching our head right now, your visiting the wrong blog.

That’s my latest thoughts and opinions on horse shoes. Stay tuned. More to come, I’m sure!


Ernie said...

Ouch! This is a very tender subject! We all should look for better shoes, not only for us, but for our horses! That is good advice Doc. I like the x ray of the horses foot! I would like to know how you did that? ernie.

Pat Wagner said...

It's amazing what we can do with digital xrays and photos nowadays. But I stole that particular shot from the internet. Ernie, I'm getting comments from Erik now too. Is that you also? Just wondering.

Eriks said...

Dear Pat: Yep Thats Me Too. I am called by different friends, Ernest, Ernie, Erik, Eriks. Terry, Perry, Newt, Ern, E.T., ET Phone home. Now I`m getting tired. Have a nice weekend Doc. e.