The aspect of shoeing to the needs of your horse is one that requires a complete understanding of what is expected of the horse and the rider whatever the task and how it is performed. Too many people seemed to feel that if they are able to somewhat able to either trim or nail on a shoe to a horse’s foot that it is all the same. Nothing could be further from the truth; if there is an event or specific job that has horse has to perform ranging from recreational to speed events there is a specific need for specialized shoeing techniques.
Let’s look at the sport of roping; did you know that there are three definite and different jobs that rope horses can be asked to perform? At the same time, there are three different ways to shoe rope horses to allow them the greatest advantage to accomplish the task that is asked of them. In team roping, there is a heading horse and there is a heeling horse, both work independently and differently from the other; while at the same time working together. The heading horse has to have the speed and the balance to reach a safe distance to enable the rider to place the initial rope on the steer. This is accomplished mainly by working off of the front end and being able to pull the steer into position for the heeling horse to put their rider into position to make the catch of the rear legs. This is accomplished by being able to sit down once the rope is thrown and create the stopping power in the shortest time possible. This is accomplished by mainly working off of the rear end of the horse. So you see it appears that the horses are doing the same job, but there are differences and those differences are made to happen by making changes in the overall shoeing of the specific horse.
The third type of rope horse is the calf roping horse and it has to be shod in a manner that will allow it to do the jobs of both the heading and heeling horses. In this instance you have to somewhat merge the two shoeing techniques together, consider the horse that is being shod and then create the greatest balance in the end product.
So what you need is someone that understands the requirements of your modality of riding and how it affects how you and the horse interact. If you ride a jumper, use a farrier that understands the requirements of the jump world, and so on. Don’t just use them because someone else is using that same farrier, be selective and make the right choice for both you and your horse. Give it some thought.
Until next time…”Ride for the Brand” -- Bob Burdekin