HoMe PaGe

Horseshoe

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Many changes brought about by the domestication of the horse have led to a need for shoes for numerous reasons, mostly linked to management that results in horses' hooves hardening less and being more vulnerable to injury. In the wild, a horse may travel up to 50 miles (80 km) per day to obtain adequate forage. While horses in the wild cover large areas of terrain, they usually do so at relatively slow speeds, unless being chased by a predator. They also tend to live in arid steppe climates. The consequence of slow but nonstop travel in a dry climate is that horses' feet are naturally worn to a small, smooth, even and hard state. The continual stimulation of the sole of the foot keeps it thick and hard. However, in domestication, the ways horses are used differ from what they would encounter in their natural environment. Domesticated horses are brought to colder and wetter areas than their ancestral habitat. These softer and heavier soils soften the hooves and make them prone to splitting, making hoof protection necessary. Consequently, it was in northern Europe that the nailed horseshoe arose in its modern form.

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