Effects of Shoeing

As I discussed in the intro article to barefoot I believe there are times when shoeing can be advantageous but my caveat was that you had educated yourself to way up the pros and cons to properly assess if it was appropriate to your circumstances.

Below I have shared some images and videos from the natural hoof website that show some of the effects of shoeing to read more please feel free to visit their website or do your own research.

Concussion is generally increased on hard surfaces when the horse is shod. This concussion is not just felt in the hoof but the shock waves will travel upwards through the joints and connective tissues of the limb. This short clip from you tube gives you a small indication of some of the concussion experienced. It is the same horse, in the top clip and the bottom. This is the description that accompanies the video.

“The upper movie was taken several weeks ago, the movie on the bottom was taken yesterday. It’s the same horse, only unshod and trimmed in the traditional way. This means the frog doesn’t touch the ground which means the shock absorption could be better. but already the shocks seem to be less than in the upper movie.”



Hoof expansion is restricted by the shoe and clips and nails this has an effect on the circulation in the hoof. Shoes cause peripheral loading; the horse is forced to bear his weight on the hoof wall only. Veterinary researcher Robert Bowker has shown that peripheral loading reduces blood flow within the foot. These are the reasons why shod hooves feel colder than bare hooves. Blood carries nutrients and oxygen for growth and repair. This is why shod hooves grow more slowly than bare hooves. Reduced circulation also causes reduced feeling in the hoof. Below are 2 thermographic images of the same horse with the same temperature settings. One is the hind feet which are barefoot one is the front feet which are shod. ┬áThe temperature is shown by the colours – red/yellow is warmer and blue/green is colder.

Front Feet - Shod

Front Feet – Shod

Hind Feet - unshod

Hind Feet – unshod

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.