Riders often ask why some horses wear shoes and others don't. The simple answer is that horses require shoes if their hooves wear down faster than they grow. Regardless of their need for shoes, all horses need to be seen by a farrier regularly.
Farriers are specialists who trim hooves and fit shoes to horses' feet. Horses need to be visited by a farrier every 6 weeks. To start, the farrier will trim away the overgrown hoof just like you would trim away your finger nails. This doesn't hurt the horse in any way.
After trimming away the excess hoof, the farrier will use a file to smooth the edges of the hoof. Once again, this process is very similar to how you would care for your own nails.
Some horses have feet that are not easily worn down and can remain barefoot after this process. However, some horses become sensitive to walking on uneven surfaces, similar to what you would feel if you were to walk down a gravel driveway without shoes. These horses will need shoes in order to be ridden. Shoes, which are made of metals like aluminum and steel, protect the hoof from wear.
Each shoe must be custom fitted to the horse in order to allow proper mobility and protection.
Tools like vise grips, hammers, and anvils are used in the process. By heating and hammering the shoe, the farrier will form the desired shape.
Once the horseshoe is complete, it can be nailed into the edges of the hoof so it will be secured to the foot. This doesn't actually hurt the horse either.
If we can answer any questions you have on shoeing your horse, feel free to leave a comment below!