Conformation, joint and hoof health, hoof moisture, and hoof flexibility also are factors to consider. I once owned a horse that had dry-splitting hooves that had to be constantly shod, even on soft pasture. Supplements to keep hooves flexible help but some horses are prone to these problems and regardless of their environment will need to be kept shod. Certain types of arthritis and foot injuries are helped by a veterinarian’s diagnosis and corrective shoeing by a talented farrier. These horses can often have a productive life with shoes specially designed for their problem.
Best wishes on your upcoming equine ownership. Remember good nutrition, health care, and regularly maintained hoof care are your responsibility as a horse owner.
Questions for Ask a Vet can be asked either by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by regular mail to Dr. Weldy’s Associates, 114 N. Elkhart, P.O. Box 527, Wakarusa, IN 46573, or by visiting the web site at drweldys.com