Does my horse need four shoes? My horse is about 16.2-17hh and is an ottb. He is recovering from a neglect case, but is pretty much fully recovered. He was always sound through everything. The farriers apprentice works at my barn and always told me he had bad feet, but when the farrier saw his hooves he said they were just a little rough around the edges from not being done properly in awhile. Then the apprentice told me that he should get front shoes and i agreed, so i got a pair of fronts on and she told me that he was just too big to have no shoes on but that sounded like a really weird reason to me. He’s been sound since but i haven’t really noticed that much of a difference in how he moves and he seems comfortable both with and without, but now she’s telling me that once he puts on more weight he’ll need four shoes! I just don’t really see the correlation and I’m confused. He isn’t in too much work, mostly just wt and will begin cantering and small jumps within the year. If he really does need them I’ll get it done, but it’s an expense I’d rather not have right now if not necessary.


Answer: 3
Who do you think you should really listen to about your horse's hoof care? The farrier, or the farrier's apprentice?
I'd rather listen to the more experienced farrier, the apprentice sounds like she's just making random guesses. I'm a person who doesn't like to see hooves on feet unless they HAVE to be there. If the horse was fine without them, and the experienced farrier said they were fine, I wouldn't have put the front shoes on. If he's doing fine then he shouldn't need the back shoes as well.
I have had several draft and draft horse crosses including Shetland and Welch Clydesdale crosses. They all have heavy bone as well as huge feet, however I never heard the excuse because your horse is large it will absolutely need to wear shoes on all 4. Both my favorite riding/driving mars used 2 bars metal to make 1 shoe for 1 foot. When I first got my horses in we kept their feet shaped and filed every 4 to 6 weeks. The creeps I bought them from used the excuse that because of their size draft horses and draft crosses never needed their feet done because of their size and weight their feet would naturally wear down in the proper length and shape. However th joke was on me when the eldest mare foundered and her hoof split off about 3 inches below the coronet band. Once the wall of her foot split and cracked off (from lack of proper trimming). We had to keep her shod for a long time until her feet grew in properly. Once the feet were solid and well shaped we let them go barefoot unless they needed bohrium on their feet for pulling sleighs in winter. It was safer driving them with traction on ice and snow rather than going barefoot. Double check with your vet to see what their opinion is would be a good idea, also if you trust your main farrier I would go with what they suggest, not their assistant etc. they will be the ones shaping your horses feet etc keeping them sound while you own the animal.