- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Horseshoes seem to have been invented in the Middle Ages in Europe, to keep the feet from falling apart when knights' horses had to live for months in slop-filled tie-stalls while the castle was under siege. At that time, the modern study of Anatomy and Physiology did not exist yet, so there was no way to study what the shoes did to hooves and legs.
Horses today are high-priced performance animals and valued companions, and are not kept in unsanitary conditions that rot their feet. A long life and lifelong soundness are important to most horse owners. Therefore, it is time to re-think the use of horseshoes.
There are more than a dozen ways that shoes are known to damage the feet, legs, and circulatory system of the horse. The worst damage comes from loss of circulation in the hoof, and loss of shock absorption.
Circulation: When the horse steps down on his foot, the cone-shaped hoof wall flexes wider at the bottom; when he lifts it off the ground, it returns to its narrower "closed" shape. This spread-and-squeeze acts like a pump, pulling blood into the foot with each step.
Horsehoes are nailed onto the foot when it is in the closed, off-the-ground position. With a shoe on, the hoof can't flex, so the pump doesn't work; not enough blood and nutrients are pulled into the foot to build and maintain strong tissues. Therefore, the quality of sole, wall, and frog is poor; injuries are slow to heal; and the white line deteriorates over time and becomes stretchy.
Shock absorption: In the tough yet elastic barefoot hoof, the flexing of the weighted hoof can absorb as much as 2,000 lbs. of concussion. But the horseshoe holds the foot inflexible, cancelling out 75% of its ability to absorb shock. Instead, the concussion goes on up the leg and damages joints and tendons that were not designed to take so much shock.
A third type of damage is that shoes contract the hoof. The hoof naturally grows in a cone shape; as the hoof wall grows, the base (the part that touches the ground) gets wider. But shoes hold the base to the size it was on shoeing day. The shod hoof changes from a cone to more of a cylinder shape. The heels are forced to curl inward, which puts incorrect mechanical stress on the hoof wall, and can show up as wall cracks, white line damage, or heel pain.
The horse's feet keep growing till age 5, when he reaches his full adult weight. When shoes are put on a young horse, the coffin bone cannot grow wider, and the foot ends up small for the horse, and often contracted.
For these and many other reasons, the barefoot horse has a lot of advantages over the shod horse, both in health and in performance.
Here is what Marco Polo noticed on his journey to China:
"Afghanistan produces numbers of excellent horses, remarkable for their speed. They are not shod, although used in mountainous country, and go at a great pace even down deep descents, where shod horses neither would nor could do the like."
Just a little to think about... i'm probably gonna get lots of thumbs-down just because so many people are set in their ways of shoeing horses. i own two beautiful arabs and a donkey, none of which have ever been shoed. my older arab is a trail horse, and can ride anwhere without shoes. she has beautuful rock-hard hooves. when i got her she was labeled an "unridable" horse, she was lame. we pulled the shoes and used the wild-horse trim on her, and two years later she could run like the wind. my younger arab/quarter horse is a barrel racer, been barefoot all her life, and has never had a mis-step like my friend's shoed horses. my donkey pulls a cart in parades and working on the farm, he has also never needed shoes. so i believe in the wild-horse trim and that no horse needs shoes.
one warning to those venturing into barefoot hooves:
stay away from the strasser trim! it is a very unnatural and invasive trim, and can cause more harm than good. it was invented to save horses with severly damaged hooves, but this is never mentioned on the video or at the clinics. it should only be used by a trained professional, and only on severly mutilated or foundered hooves!! stick with the "wild-horse" or "mustang" trim, it is natural, safe, and non-invasive.Source(s): http://www.barefoothorse.com/ http://www.ironfreehoof.com/ http://www.thehorseshoof.com/helpmethod.html http://www.hoofrehab.com/ http://www.tribeequus.com/ http://www.barefoottrim.com/ http://www.sportpony.com/Why%20barefoot.htm
- wenchgirl04Lv 51 decade ago
to make the wonderful clickity-clack sound as the horse walks on pavement. No, actually its to protect the hoof from getting cracks in them and chipping. They have special ones that can also be put on to correct the way a horse stands (for knockneed animals or bowlegged). And another type is a sliding plate (also a shoe) for reining horses. And some help give traction to the horse for endurance horses.
- richmondLv 44 years ago
properly, many times the shoe is loose- the two it has visibly slipped, or you may hear that this is loose (It makes a distinctive sound). that's whilst that's loose and could have been reset awhile in the past although- you're able to by no potential look ahead to the footwear to start to come again off to get them reset. of direction, in case you bypass out and the shoe is off, then you certainly waited way too long. previous that, horses could many times be reset each and every 4-6 weeks, in spite of the reality that some could make it to eight weeks without desiring it, generally you do no longer want to attend until eventually they "choose" it.
- 1 decade ago
The point of Horseshoes is to toss the shoe at the little pole sticking out of the ground and make it land as close to the pole as possible. Hitting the little pole is called a ringer. Godd luck with the shoes.
(Incidentally, my other sarcastic/facetious answer was going to be "Horseshoes don't have a point, they are rounded and the two ends are rather blunt.")
- How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- 1 decade ago
Since the early history of domestication of the horse, many factors have contributed to the need for the walls (and sometimes the sole) of domestic horses' hooves to have additional protection over and above their natural hardness.
so basically it protects the walls and soles of horses hooves :]
- Anonymous1 decade ago
The point of horseshoes is to protect horses feet. Horses arent used to carrying humans and so therefore their feet arent used to the pressure and so they need protection.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
To protect the horses feet/hooves from wearing down when being ridden. Especially on harder grounds or paved surfaces. Their hoof is not rock hard and can get damaged like our fingernails - chipped, cracked and worn down.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
for the same reason you wear shoes. carrying people and walking for hours an concrete is not something horses evolved to do, it is to protect them.