April Newsletter: The Importance of Shoes for Your Horse

April Newsletter: The Importance of Shoes for Your Horse

Veterinarian holds horse's face

The Importance of Shoes for Your Horse

Wondering if your horse really needs shoes? Shoeing offers a variety of advantages, including these important benefits:

Fewer Injuries

Your horse's hooves may be tough, but they're not invincible. Stepping on a jagged stone or walking on hard surfaces may cause a variety of injuries, including bruises, bursitis, and cracked, split or chipped hooves. If bacteria enters a crack or split in the hoof, your horse could develop an abscess, a painful bacterial infection.

Abscesses can cause lameness and can spread to the leg without treatment. Infections increase the risk of laminitis, a condition that occurs when the soft tissue that connects the pedal bone to the hoof becomes inflamed.

Horseshoes can't completely prevent hoof injuries, but they do reduce the risk of a potentially serious injury or infection. If you have a horse prone to weak hooves, such as thoroughbreds or Paint horses, shoes are a must. Without horseshoes, these horses may be more likely to injure their hooves.

Better Traction

Even a slight stumble on uneven or slippery ground can lead to a devastating fall. Shoes provide more traction and decrease the risk of a pulled muscle, fractured bone or head injury due to a fall. If your horse regularly walks on muddy or slippery surfaces, your farrier may recommend welding a composite or tube rod to the shoes for extra traction. Other ways to increase traction include adding rim shoes, studs or heel caulk.

Reduced Joint Stress

Does your horse have arthritis? Shoes could reduce wear and tear on the joints and decrease your horse's comfort. According to a 2019 article in The Horse, shoes can improve side-to-side balance of the hooves, which eases stress on the joints. Shoes also help distribute shock evenly over the foot and keep the heels properly positioned.

A Solution to Foot Issues

Horseshoes may improve your horse's gait and decrease complications due to physical defects. A horse that has balance issues could benefit from shoes that adequately support the hoof capsule. Shoes can play an important role in ensuring proper foot and leg development in foals and may improve conformity by offering additional support.

If your horse has laminitis, wearing shoes can prevent the condition from worsening, keep the pedal bone properly aligned, and make your horse more comfortable. Ringbone, Cushing's disease, white line disease and other conditions may also affect your horse's hooves. If your horse has a chronic disease or condition, ask your equine veterinarian is shoeing would be helpful.

Protection for Hard-Working Horses

Shoes provide extra support and traction for for working horses and horses that compete in equestrian events. The shoes are particularly important if your horse walks or runs on a variety of surfaces when working, competing, or practicing.

The type of shoes your horse needs will depend on the event, the surfaces your horse encounters, and the amount of grip and support needed. Your equine veterinarian can work with your farrier to find the best shoes for your horse's activity level.

Want to find out if shoeing could help your horse? Call us to schedule an appointment with the equine veterinarian.


American Farriers Journal: Farrier Tips: Basics of What to Apply to Shoes for Traction, 4/14/2012


The Horse: How Healthy Horse Hooves Help Arthritic Joints, 10/18/2019


Practical Horseman: To Shoe or Not to Shoe?, 9/4/2018


Horse & Hound: H&H Question of the Week: to Shoe, or Not to Shoe – Should My Horse Go Barefoot? 3/2018


Horse & Country TV: Do Horses Need Shoes? The Pros and Cons of Shoeing



Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule - Call for 24 hour emergency service 920-837-7766

Clinic Hours


7:30 am-4:00 pm


7:30 am-4:00 pm


7:30 am-4:00 pm


7:30 am-4:00 pm


7:30 am-4:00 pm






Feedback from our clients

  • ""Excellent and very knowledgeable clinic and staff. Very supportive of area's youth, their projects, and organizations!""
  • ""It's been a pleasure to have Dr. Matt as my vet for the past 21 years. He and the staff at Dairyland have always been kind & helpful.""
  • ""I cannot say enough about them! Very helpful with my potbelly pigs! I am so VERY happy I found them!!! They are so willing to help you and not deplete your bank acct!""
  • "We love you Dr. Matt! You helped Apollo keep his eye sight, you never got frustrated with my 5 million questions, you were very patient and always explained things so we could understand what was going on with him. Your staff is great at returning phone calls and making sure patients get exactly what they need. You have been the best vet ever."
  • "I want to give a huge shout out to Dr Matt Schaefer with Dairyland Veterinary Service. I had been struggling to get weight on Kahlua. She wouldn't eat anything I put in front of her. Dr Matt came out and looked at her and we discussed her attitude and habits. He had a good feeling she had ulcers so he suggested treating her with ulcerguard. I got her on it and she is just 2 days from finishing the 28 day treatment. The change in her is phenomenal. She's put on weight and now looks perfect!
    And "