The Cost of Shoeing a Horse: How Much to Expect?

Horseshoeing, also commonly known as “farriery” is a traditional practice that has existed throughout history. It is a process where a bar of steel is molded according to a horse’s foot and attached underneath. People who specialize in doing so, are known as “farriers”. 

Horses of various breeds require different shoeing techniques to ensure their feet are in good health. Surely, horseshoeing is an essential practice that comes along with various benefits. It not only helps maintain a functional horse foot but also prevents lameness and protects from bruising soreness. 

A hoof (the horny part of the horse foot) is made by the same elements as the human nail. It includes keratin and is naturally prone to wear off after a while. This tells us why horseshoeing is especially unavoidable for those horses who have to race or travel for hours. 

Apart from this, aluminum horseshoes are commonly used by racehorses. They are lighter and help the horse perform better when speed is the goal. This is a major expense that comes along with the ownership of a horse. 

How Much Does Shoeing A Horse Cost?

The average cost of shoeing a horse is $130 for a new set of horseshoes. Depending upon the quality, region, and the farrier, the price for new horseshoes can reach a minimum high of about $200. Generally, horseshoes are not that expensive. Instead, it is the cost of farriers and the materials used that make horseshoes costly.

On the other hand, the price of shoeing a horse can increase depending upon the type of shoeing. For example, horseshoes for racing horses can easily cost $275 for just the front foot. Also, the price can exceed up to $300 depending upon the quality of specialty pads and shoes. 

The average cost of shoeing a horse in Maryland is around $120 for the front shoes and $140 for a complete set. Lastly, people who deal with selling horses strongly suggest budgeting horseshoeing firsthand, before making a purchase. Otherwise, the cost may become a heavy burden, later. 

The price of shoeing a horse is quite variable and depends upon multiple factors. 

Factors Affecting the Cost of Horse Shoeing

Here are the top factors that cause horse shoeing costs to vary.

1. Charges of the Farrier

As mentioned above, it is the cost of a farrier for a horse that makes it expensive. They additionally charge for their tools, services, equipment, and travel costs. Moreover, since hoofs are made of keratin, they need frequent trimming, just like nails. The average cost of a single trim is easily around $50. Hence, farriers easily charge an average of $100 for every set of new shoes. The profit margin is also said to be quite great.

However, the cost of a farrier for a horse can be reduced, with time depending mainly on the relationship you develop. Eventually, you may be able to score a small discount for the frequent trims. Since maintenance for racehorses is already expensive, the cost of a farrier for a horse may increase in such cases. They then charge you a minimum of $100 for a single trim. 

2. Tools and Their Quality

The cost of a farrier for a horse and the price of shoeing a horse, both mainly depend upon the type and the quality of tools being used. These tools commonly include hoof pick, hoof knife, nippers, rasp, shoe remover, stand, and farrier’s apron. It is essential to ensure that good quality tools are being used. Otherwise, trims that are not done correctly might have disastrous consequences. This is also why you must never consider trimming your horse’s shoe, yourself. Good tools are indeed expensive, which reflects in the pricing of the farrier.

3. Frequency of Shoeing a Horse

Normally, the horseshoes are required to be replaced every 4-6 weeks, regardless of the condition of the shoes. You must purchase a brand new, complete set for your horse’s hoofs to function properly. Besides, shoes tend to wear off in a minimum of four weeks in most cases. 

The frequency of shoeing may also depend on your horse, its breed, and the rate of its activity. Similarly, climatic conditions may also have a strong impact on the frequency of shoeing your horse. Apart from this, previous injuries to the hoof require extra care and better quality shoes and must be replaced more frequently. 

Is the Cost of Horse Shoeing Worth it?

Factually, horseshoeing is quite vital, and unavoidable. Hence, the cost of horseshoeing automatically becomes worth it. This is mainly because it maintains the health of your horse, allowing the hooves to function properly. 

Even though it is expensive, it helps save your horse from suffering frequent injuries. Additionally, it also prevents bruising and does not let the hoof wear off so easily. In turn, saving you from frequent veterinary visits and related expenses. 

We believe that saving the additional expense of a vet makes horseshoeing worth the money. Moreover, to make it cost-efficient, you can just budget it out before making the purchase. This not only makes it less heavy on the pocket but also has numerous benefits including the good health of the horse.

To conclude, even though horseshoeing is a fairly expensive process, it is indeed essential and simply worth it.

FAQs About the Cost of Shoeing a Horse

What is shoeing a horse called?

Shoeing a horse is also referred to as farriery which is done by farriers. They are blacksmiths that can expertly shoe a horse. Farriery is an essential process, as highlighted in the article. 

Is there any way to keep the costs of horseshoeing lower?

Horseshoeing is a fairly expensive process and must be budgeted. However, since the price of shoeing a horse depends upon the farrier, it is negotiable. Farriers that may have developed a friendly relationship with you over time may give you small discounts. Also, using a farrier that does not use high-end tools may charge you less, and save you money. 
Similarly, you can purchase low-quality sets of shoes that may lower the overall cost. Another way is to learn horseshoeing professionally, which may take a while but can save you tons of money in the longer run. 

Does shoeing a horse hurt the horse?

The process of shoeing does not hurt the horse, especially if the farrier is well experienced. Adding on, hooves are made of keratin and have no nerves on the edges. As a result, they do not feel pain, especially where the shoe is placed. Also, your farrier must do maintenance checks frequently and shoe the horse every 4-6 weeks. 

Why do wild horses not need shoes?

Horses in the wild do not wear shoes. Firstly,  they do not “work” as hard or as frequently as a horse with an owner. As a result, their hooves wear down more slowly than they grow. Secondly, they do not have an owner to look after them.

Can I shoe my own horse?

Shoeing your horse on your own is not at all recommended unless you have learned to professionally shoe a horse. Proper and high-quality tools are used by the experts, along with their knowledge and experience. This is necessary to maintain hoof health.
However, if you learn the process of horseshoeing from an expert or a farrier, properly, you may shoe your horse. But remember to use the appropriate tools while maintaining their hooves properly. 

What is the difference between a farrier and a barefoot trimmer? 

Barefoot/natural trimmers feel that when a horse wears shoes, the hoof becomes restricted. They believe that the shoe causes the hoof to stop working correctly and inhibits circulation within the hoof, putting the horse’s health at risk. 
While farriers encourage horseshoeing and are experts in the field. They explain how horseshoeing is an unavoidable process, for a healthy and functional hoof. 

What are the benefits of shoeing a horse?

There are various benefits of shoeing a horse. First off, it protects the hooves from wearing off quickly. Moreover, they also prevent the hoof from any painful scars, accidents, and bruises, or damage to the nerves. It also increases a horse’s capacity allowing them to race better or travel for longer durations. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, the cost of shoeing a horse is pretty high, especially if you consult an expert farrier that uses high-end tools. However, it is equally essential and should be budgeted firsthand to prevent any financial burden in the future. Avoiding horseshoeing can be extremely damaging for the hooves of the horse, which have a large share of responsibility in the horse’s capacity and health.