Lost shoes are a nuisance for horse riders and can result in many missed rides and even lameness if your horse is prone to losing them. Farrier Jack Climo shares his advice for helping you keep his shoes on.

1. Use overreach boots

Putting overreach boots on your horse when turned out or when doing fast work and jumping will hopefully prevent them from standing on the front shoe with the back hoof and pulling a shoe, but they must be fitted correctly.

“Overreach boots are a big help but the correct fit is essential,” confirms Jack. “You need to make sure that the boot touches the floor at the back part of the foot — you shouldn’t be able to see the shoe at the back, otherwise the boot won’t protect the shoe.”

2. Take care when riding

Most of the time, horses lose shoes when they are out at pasture, but there can be occasions when they lose them while being ridden, such as when galloping and jumping.

“Tired horses who are loping along are more prone to over-reaching and pulling shoes,” explains Jack. “So, nursing a tired horse back to their stable safely by keeping them up and together will help. They can stumble into themselves when they are tired.”

3. Be aware of the going

Horses can lose shoes in a deep school or gallops, or in boggy ground, but it’s not the surface or mud that sucks the shoe off.

“It’s where the surface is requiring a lot of effort from the horse to pull their feet out, so much so that their front feet can’t get out of the ground quickly enough for the hind feet and the hind feet end up coming into contact with the front and pulling a shoe,” says Jack.

“Be careful when doing fast work on deep going, and ideally make sure your horse is wearing overreach boots.”

4. Go steady on inclines

Horses that are turned out or frequently worked on inclines can have a higher tendency to lose shoes.

“I’ve noticed that horses who are turned out in fairly level, flat paddocks are less likely to pull a shoe than those turned out on a hilly paddock, for the same reason as the deep going,” says Jack.

“Going downhill also increases the chances of them pulling shoes off.”

5. Consider the type of work

“Fast work such as galloping and jumping, where the horse is likely to overreach, and polo and polocrosse where the horse is galloping alongside other horses who can accidentally stand on the outside of their shoes, are big risk factors for pulled shoes,” says Jack.

6. Hoof management

Dirty bedding and strong urine can damage the hoof, so make sure you clean all hooves twice a day and remove mud and dirty bedding from the feet.

“There’s also anecdotal evidence that the salt in mud can erode the hoof, so some farriers advise owners to wash the hoof of mud and dry it,” says Jack.

Meet the expert: Jack Climo Dip WCF is a farrier based in Worcestershire. Jack qualified in November 2019 from Warwickshire College and returned home to Worcestershire to set up his own farriery business. He shoes all shapes and sizes of horses and ponies, from leisure horses to three-day eventers.

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