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Preventing Lost Shoes

Published 15th October 2013


Nigel Brown AWCF. 2013 National Champion Farrier.


As horse owners, we’ve all been there. You rush back to get the horse in from the field to squeeze in a ride before it goes dark (and the last chance to run through the dressage test before tomorrow) and you realise your horse has lost a shoe. It’s frustrating and, more worryingly, can cause damage to the foot and potentially lameness.

It is very easy to point the finger at the farrier however, it is not financially advantageous or time efficient for a farrier to be reorganizing his/her diary for a call out for a lost shoe.

Whilst shoes provide protection, grip and support in addition to many remedial and therapeutic advantages, it is inevitable that any shod horse will lose shoes at some point. Horses can lose shoes for many reasons, however if your horse is persistently losing shoes (for example one a week) there is likely to be a specific reason which needs further investigation.

Try to monitor when or where your horse is losing shoes. Is it whilst being ridden or out in the field? Is it whilst jumping or riding across muddy terrain? Below are some further ideas as to why it may be happening -  


Pinpointing why and how your horse loses shoes will greatly help to alleviate the problem. Fitting overreach boots during exercise/turn out/stable (depending on where he/she loses a shoe) and placing mats on the floor if your horse paws are just two of the ways in you could help. Brainstorm with your farrier – between you a solution could be found!

Do it now

Getting to know your horses feet can provide you, and your farrier, with valuable information regarding the health and condition of the foot and potentially help to minimize detrimental changes to the foot before they cause a serious problem. Find time to chat to your farrier about your horses feet, make notes of any areas of interest or concern so you can monitor them throughout your shoeing cycle.