Why Do Horses Need Their Feet Trimmed? Hoof Care


If your horse is wearing shoes and you call the farrier out to change them, you might notice that not only does the farrier change the shoe, but they also trim the horse’s hoof and use a variety of tools to do this job. But why do they need their feet trimmed? And do horses need their feet trimmed even if they don’t wear shoes?

Why Do Horses Need Their Feet Trimmed?

Horses need their feet trimmed between every four to eight weeks depending on the horse. Horse’s hooves, just like your fingernails, will grow continuously and will need to be cut back every so often to keep them from being overgrown. If you don’t trim your horse’s feet, a number of issues can arise. Some horses that are rescued from neglect situations will have hooves that are so grown out that they grow flat out in front of them, and in extreme cases, even begin to curl and spiral. This not only makes it hard for the horse to walk, but it also decreases their quality of life immensely. Not trimming your horse’s hooves can also result in thrush, white line disease, and contracted heels.

How Often Do They Need Their Hooves Trimmed?

Horses, to keep their hooves at a healthy length, should have their feet trimmed between four and eight weeks. The time might vary for horses that are barefoot versus wearing shoes as they wear their feet down differently from each other.

Typically, in winter horses will grow out their hooves faster than they do in summer so in the winter they may need to have their hooves trimmed more frequently than they would in the hot summer months.

Who Should I Call To Trim My Horse’s Hooves?

If you need your horse’s hooves to be trimmed, calling up a local trusty farrier is probably your best bet. This is exactly what I did and I never had any issues with my farrier. If you are thinking of getting a horse, or have a horse already, ask a friend who is also into horses or has horses of their own who they use to get their horse’s hooves done.

DO NOT do your horse’s hooves on your own unless you have experience being a farrier. It is important to know what you are doing when you are dealing with the hooves of a horse as the hooves are one of the most important parts of the horse. You do not want to try to trim your horse’s hooves on your own and severely damage them in the effort.

Do Horses Need Their Feet Trimmed If They Wear Shoes?

Yes! It is actually more important to keep up on a shod horse’s trimming than a barefoot horse’s trimming. This is because, in shod horses, the horse is walking on and wearing down their shoe rather than their hoof making their hoof grow out as if they weren’t walking on it or wearing it down at all. If you fail to have the horse’s hoof trimmed consistently, the hoof will get too long and, if the horse is used for riding, it may trip, stumble, develop lameness issues, and more due to the lack of hoof care.

Do Horses Need Their Feet Trimmed If They Don’t Wear Shoes?

Yes and no. Like other horses, barefoot horses grow their feet out at a consistent rate, but unlike shod horses, they actually will wear down their hoof directly rather than a horse shoe. This means that their feet need to be trimmed less as with exercise their hoof is being worn out consistently.

Because barefoot horses have hooves that are much harder than the hooves of horses with shoes, their hooves might not wear down as much as they should which is why some if not most barefoot horses need trimming even if they don’t wear shoes.

How Do Wild Horses Keep Their Feet Healthy Without Wearing Shoes?

The hooves of wild horses are actually very unique. Their hooves almost seem to trim themselves. An example of where this is seen is in the wild Mustang horses of North America. Because of their adaption to the rough terrain of the countryside in certain parts of North America, they have naturally hard hooves. As their hooves grow out, the parts that are overgrown will actually break off on their own and the rest of the hoof will wear down so it stays a healthy length and size.

How Long Does It Take A Farrier To Trim The Horse’s Hoof?

It doesn’t take long for a farrier to just trim the horse’s hooves. If the farrier doesn’t need to put shoes on the horse, it really should only take between fifteen and thirty minutes to get the job done.

How Much Does It Cost To Have Your Horse’s Hooves Trimmed?

I live in the state of Arizona in the United States, and where I live it is relatively cheap to have your horse’s hooves trimmed. I would say that, on average for my location, it should cost around $40 (USD) to have your horse’s feet trimmed.

Does The Hoof Trimming Hurt The Horse?

I get asked this question all the time, and to tell you the truth, no it doesn’t hurt the horse in the slightest. Think about cutting your finger nails. It doesn’t hurt to cut your fingernails does it? This is because there are no nerve endings in your fingernails. This is the safe for the hooves of a horse. Their hoof wall, the part that is trimmed, is just like your fingernail in the sens that the farrier can clip it off without any pain being inflicted on the horse.

If you have ever seen a farrier perform a hoof trim, you might notice that they don’t just trim the hoof wall, but they also use a knife on the sole and a file on the hoof. These don’t hurt the horse either. The knife is basically just used to cut away the ‘calluses’ of the hoof or the ‘dead skin’ that might build up. When it comes to the file, this is no different than filing your fingernails. None of the work that the farrier does while trimming is or should be painful to the horse.

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

Recent Posts