A horseshoe is a U-shaped object that is attached to the bottom of a horses hoof to protect against wear and tear. Horseshoes have been used for centuries and are usually nailed through the hard, insensitive section of the horse’s hooves. Different shoes are fitted to horses depending on the work that the horse is doing and the terrain they are working in.
What are horseshoes made of?
Ancient horseshoes were often made from rawhide or leather and were wrapped around the foot to protect the feet from wear. Later in history horseshoes were made from bronze and then iron. Today horseshoes are made from a variety of materials with the most common being steel and aluminum. Specialized shoes may be made of rubber, plastic, titanium, magnesium or copper. Steel is the most commonly used material when shoeing a horse for use in sports such as polo, eventing, show jumping and western riding. This is because it is relatively lightweight, very strong and long-wearing. Race horses are commonly fitted with aluminum shoes because it is a lighter material than steel. Aluminum shoes are also commonly used in dressage as they facilitate the type of movements required.
Did you know?
There is much debate about whether horses require shoes at all. Studies have shown that domesticated horses in a natural environment usually develop strong hooves just as easily as wild horses. However, this requires proper care and management.
Horseshoes have long been associated with luck and they are also used to play a game of the same name. The object of this game is to toss horseshoes at a stake in the ground. Scores are given for throwing ringers, when the horseshoe encircles the state, or for the closest horseshoe to the stake.