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When To Shoe A Young Horse

Panel Expert: Blair Cooper

Submitted by member: Danielle

When do you think a young horse should first get shod?

Answer by Blair Cooper

I like to leave most young horses barefoot as long as possible. In many situations, shoes are more for the owner providing what they believe is a necessity for the horse.

Shoeing will offer protection, support and traction for the horse. I usually let the horse dictate when he needs his first shoes. This is influenced by his environment, the type of ground he is ridden on, length of time and how often he is ridden. For example horses that are ridden in groomed arenas with good footing won’t have the wear on the hoof that a horse trail riding on hard ground would have.

Certainly when we get more wear than growth, then it’s an indication to consider shoes.

The crooked leg is what produces the crooked foot. These types of feet will need shoeing sooner to help support and maintain a healthy balance to the foot.

Remember, once we shoe our young horses we change our obligation to him and it’s essential we maintain him in a timely manner.

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Blair Cooper

Blair Cooper is a certified Farrier in Temecula, California. He was brought up in Northern British Columbia, Canada where his family farmed and raised Quarter horses. At a young age he rode and started young horses on the show circuit and quickly developed an interest in Rodeo events. In 1976 he earned a bBachelor of Science Degree at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, then received a Masters Degree in Animal Science Nutrition at the University of Nevada at Reno. Upon graduation, he was hired as livestock judging team coach for the University of Arizona at Tucson. He was then hired by Olds College in Alberta Canada, to develop a curriculum in Horse Science and was voted outstanding faculty member. He moved back to Southern California were he accepted the Stallion Manager position at Los Cerritos TB farm in Murrieta, CA., the top breeding and racing facility in California. He has been a farrier in Temecula Valley for the past 25 years and raises Warm Blood sport horses with his family.

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