Really you can write books about this but I’m keeping it personal.
It doesn’t hurt to nail the shoes on, the outer wall of the hoof is literally like a finger-nail, and we don’t hurt either when we clip our nails.
However, you can easily hammer the nail in the wrong part and cause the horse pain and even make him lame. The shoes stay on for about 8 weeks, perhaps 6 because Tarq has thinner shoes than usual, and they were mainly for the trek, and I prefer my horse to go barfoot.
The horse’s hoof is made up of many different parts, and is always flexible. Iron shoes will take away some of the flexibility, and, as the hoof is lifted from the surface the soft inner parts of the sole don’t do anything either.
because of this, many people now opt for not putting shoes on their horses. A horse still needs his hoofs trimmed every eight weeks. There is also a movement that advocates ”natural” trimming. I don’t quite agree with that as ”natural trimming” is based on wild horses, living a ”natural” life, and that can’t be compared to our domestic horses: Tarq is an Arab horse who lives in a large meadow in the Netherlands, he doesn’t trek around all day, he doesn’t experience different terrains, he is ridden (by me 🙂 ) he walks over concrete, asphalt, and stony roads. So i think ”Natural” doesn’t really apply.
Tarq, being a thoroughbred Arab has hoofs of steel, and no problems. So under normal circumstances, and riding, he doesn’t need horse-shoes. Some horses have problems and do need shoes, some horses have problems because of their shoes, and you need a blacksmith you can trust.
Geert is my fifth blacksmith and by far the best.
That means we see eye to eye as far as horse’s hoofs go! He is interested in his job, charges reasonably, and always takes lots of time to do a good job.
However, as we were advised there were some very stony roads coming up on the trek, and Tarq has very sensitive soles, I decided to have shoes for a couple of weeks. I’ve had problems before when he had bruises on his soles due to stony roads in Germany.
As the front feet carry most of the weight, shoeing the front feet only was enough for now.