Why do horses wear shoes?

Photo courtest Tamsin SlaterHave you ever heard a horse go “clip, clop, clip, clop?”

That sound comes from the horse’s metal shoes. The metal horseshoes are there to protect the horse’s hooves.

Horseshoes are curved pieces of metal that cover the bottom of a horse’s hoof. A person called a farrier uses small nails to hold the shoe on the hoof. These nails do not hurt the horse. The nails go into a tough part of the hoof where the horse can’t feel them.

When a horse has shoes on, we say it is shod.

Not all horses wear horseshoes. People who own horses also hire farriers to take care of their horses’ hooves. A farrier will trim the hoof and make sure it is healthy.

Horse hooves are sort of like your fingernails. You have to trim your nails so they don’t get too long. Farriers have to trim a horse’s hooves so they don’t grow too long and get injured.

Horses should also eat healthy foods! A healthy diet will help a horse have strong, healthy hooves. Horses like to eat plants like oats!

Fun facts:

Long ago, horse owners in Asia shod their horses with leather booties that fit all around the horses’ feet.

An animal called the horseshoe crab lives in the ocean. A horseshoe crab has a curved shell and kind of looks like a real horseshoe.

Featured Resource

A horse at school?



Learn all about horses at Equine Science 4 Kids! You can play fun games and even ask questions!

How to shoe a horse!


In this video, a farrier shows how he trims hooves and changes a horse shoe.

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