Why Do Horses Need Horseshoes?

Horses are special among other animals because they usually wear shoes. So why do horses need horseshoes?

The horseshoe’s invention is to alleviate problems from worn hooves and protect these hooves.

horses need horseshoes

Why do horses wear shoes?

Horses are large, active animals that can sprint and do lots of work on the farm. Horses have thick, tough hooves to help protect their legs and provide shock absorbency when their massive bodies move.

Like your hair and fingernails, horse hooves keep growing all the time. Horses grow the equivalent of a new foot about once each year. But, over 2,000 years ago, the first people to ride and farm with horses realized that hard work wore down horse hooves faster than they could grow.

Horseshoes are to protect their hooves – Source: Horsetalk.co.NZ

People invented horseshoes to alleviate problems from worn hooves. Thin, metal horseshoes attached to hooves help to slow down the rate at which the hooves wear down. They also provide additional shock absorbency and added traction to help horses walk, run, and work with more confidence.

If you shoe your horse, please keep in mind to change the new horseshoes within 1 year. It probably does not incapacitate, but it can hurt the horse if the shoes abrade over time.

5 Different Types of Horse Shoes

Here are the five that farriers fall back on most often.

1. Regular Shoe

regular horseshoe

It is the most popular shoe for horses. This standard shoe is made to support the hoof and protect it under normal riding circumstances.

If it is pre-made by a machine, these shoes are often called “keg” shoes. The shoe can be called “fullered” because the grooves in the middle are known as “fullers.”

2. Rim Shoe

rim horseshoes

Rim shoes are very similar to regular horseshoes, but they include a large groove in the middle, allowing additional traction.

For that reason, they are famous for sports that require speed and quick turns, such as barrel racing and roping.

3. Bar Shoe

bar horseshoe

Bar shoes are named for the extra “bar” on the back of the shoe, which allows for more support at the end of the hoof, heel, and leg.

In case of a hoof injury, a straight bar can help hold the hoof together.

4. Egg Bar Shoe

egg bar horseshoe

For more support, egg bar shoes win over bar shoes since they extend beyond the heel. Horses that suffer from navicular syndrome are suitable to use this kind.

The material to make this type of shoe is often aluminum, which is lighter-weight and more accessible to add a wedge.

5. Heart Bar Shoe

heart bar horseshoe

Horses with laminitis can use these shoes.

There are many more types, from sliding plates to the rolled toe shoe to shoes with toe grabs, but these five are the most common shoes. It would be best if you talked to your farrier about your concerns and hopes for your horse. Therefore, they will fit your horse with the right shoe for the job.


Horses need shoes to reduce the issues of worn hooves. Therefore, these shoes can assist horses in running and substantial work on the farm.

There are five primary horseshoes’ types depending on the activities of the horses participate. They are the regular shoe, Rim Shoe, bar, egg, and heart bar shoes.

Now you can tell why horses need shoes. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us below.


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