What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Repeatedly Loses Shoes


For a shoe to stay in place, several conditions must exist. The horse must not pull the shoe off by the act of overreaching (stepping on the shoe with another shoe), shoeing technique must be good, clinches must be properly placed, and the hoof wall must be strong enough to hold the clinches.

Genetics, nutrition and environment all strongly affect hoof wall characteristics. The appearance and strength of the hoof, like the skin and hair coat, is an indication of a horse's general health.

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your role


What To Do

Assess your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to their hooves and overall body condition. Is the hoof wall strong and clean or does it flake or crumble when shoe is pulled off? Does the hoof wall look thin or thick? Is there lameness? Consider hair, mane and tail quality. Is there one shoe in particular that repeatedly is lost?

Be sure to inspect the sole and frog carefully because a puncture wound may result if a horse loses a shoe and then steps on it.

Share your findings and concerns with your farrier. Keep in mind that general health can affect hoof quality. Lameness or gait abnormality could relate to

your vet's role

If the problem persists despite your farrier's attempts, an opinion from your vet may be indicated. Your vet may suggest management, nutritional and/or shoeing changes.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • When did you first notice this?
  • Is your farrier shoeing or trimming in the same way as in the past?
  • Has anything changed with respect to shoeing or trimming?
  • Is there a new farrier shoeing or trimming the horse's feet?
  • Does the horse's general health seem good to you otherwise?
  • Do you notice any lameness?
  • When was the last shoeing?
  • What is the shoeing or trimming interval?
  • Is one foot or multiple feet affected?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP