It’s not unusual for some rugged horse breeds to go through life without wearing horseshoes, but their hooves still need regular trims done. After all, it’s an essential part of horse ownership.
Proper horse care means you should trim your unshoed horse’s hooves every month or two, depending on the growth of their hoof walls. This growth depends on several factors, like health and activity, age, and general fitness levels.
For horses that need to wear shoes, getting new shoes can be quite pricey. Let’s delve deeper into professional farrier and shoeing costs.
What Do Farriers Do?
An essential part of being a horse owner is to ensure regular hoof care for your equine friend. Horses’ hooves are always growing. For this reason, you’ll need to entertain regular professional farrier visits to keep your horse’s hooves healthy and trimmed. Farriers inspect all four hooves and inform horse owners of the work ahead.
If the horses are already shod, the farrier assesses the condition of a horse’s shoes and identifies whether it needs new shoes. If not, the farrier will either suggest the horse wear shoes or trim each hoof to maintain its unshod well-being.
Sometimes a horse needs balancing of its hoof walls to avoid distortion and lameness. If the horse’s hoof needs balancing, the farrier trims the hoof wall more on only one side of the affected foot. This balances the hoof and improves the horse’s soundness.
What Does It Cost To Shoe A Horse?
The prices of shoeing horses vary depending on the farrier you use and the fitting of certain shoe types.
There are several different horseshoes offering varying levels of protection to the hooves and feet. They’re usually made of aluminium or steel, but this doesn’t mean they can’t break or corrode. I recommend using forged steel shoes as they defy the elements better and aren’t likely to break. Some of the different horseshoes available are:
Most horse owners choose keg shoes for their horses. These are the machine-made, regular horseshoes most fitted by farriers. They’re also often known as basic or u-shape shoes. Keg shoes are usually flat horseshoes that are open at the rear and fit over the hoof’s heel.
Steel keg shoes typically retail from £4 each. This excludes what farriers charge for their work if they’re supplying them.
Concave horseshoes are general-purpose shoes that are either machine or handmade. You’ll likely use them for riding horses as they grip well and are durable for roadwork. They fit the hooves of most horses and are highly versatile. They are available from retailers in both aluminium and steel.
The average prices of steel concave shoes are between £4 and £5 each.
The fullered horseshoe doesn’t give a hoof as much grip as your average concave shoe. It is also heavier on average and designed for horses needing greater support around the heel. Many farriers will suggest them for horses with leg or foot concerns.
These shoes, in steel, will likely cost £6 each or more.
Natural balance shoes
Shoeing a horse with natural balance – or equilibrium – horseshoes cuts down stress on its deep flexor tendons. Done by increasing the horse’s natural break-over, it also helps the nearby ligaments. The break-over is the spot on the toe that makes contact with a surface last. In other words, before the hoof completely lifts off the ground.
Steel natural balance horseshoes cost, on average, around £3 each. They are often sold in pairs.
Plained stamp shoes
A plained stamp shoe is a shoe especially for heavy, working, and driving horses. Designed for ultimate wear, it can be slippy on the road or on other smoother surfaces as it doesn’t offer much grip.
Shoeing a horse for driving costs anything from £6 per shoe. Working plained stamp horseshoes can set you back £10 a pair. Shodding heavy horses is more pricy, with plained stamps costing close to £20 for a single shoe.
No-nail, glue-on shoes
These glue-on horseshoes are plastic and make for the natural performance of the hoof. They expand and contract as your horse’s foot does – you don’t find this with steel horseshoes. If you want your horse shod, but it can’t handle the traditional shoeing process, glue-ons are an excellent option.
They’re also perfect for horses with sensitive feet and those struggling with laminitis. Glue-on horseshoes are costly, with an average price of about £36 per pair.
Egg bar and heart bar shoes
Heart bar and egg bar horseshoes are remedial ones shod when treating hoof and foot ailments that lead to lameness. An egg bar shoe gives extra support to the heel of the foot. The heart bar shoe gets used when you want the frog of the foot to bear more weight than the heel. These are generally temporary horseshoes.
You can buy a pair of egg bar horseshoes for approximately £20 on average. A pair of heart bar remedial horseshoes costs a bit more at around £25.
Watch our video on the different types of horse shoe
The cost of shoeing by a farrier
As a horse owner, it’s best to ask other horse owners in the same location to recommend a decent farrier. Shoeing a horse is costly and a reference for farrier services allows you more confidence about completing the task well.
A professional farrier will generally supply horseshoes of your choosing. They’ll include them in the price quoted for the shoeing services provided. Average prices of shoeing in the UK vary between £50 and £100 based on the farrier’s visit and the new shoes you choose for your horse.
Not everyone chooses to include the cost of new shoes in the farrier’s price. Owners sometimes buy the desired horseshoes themselves. Either way, I recommend taking the shodding advice of the farrier.
The price of trimming and balancing
As opposed to shoeing a horse, a farrier trimming and balancing your horse’s feet will cost you less. A price of between £25 and £40 for trimming is fair, whether a hoof needs balancing or not. Remember, most horse breeds will need to be shod at some stage, with only hardy outside ones not needing horseshoes. Regular trimming is essential for all horses, though.
Can I save funds by changing horseshoes myself?
It’s not recommended to remove or replace horseshoes without experience. Proper shoeing needs skill and special tools, and you should leave it to a knowledgeable farrier. Trying to do it yourself could result in harming the horse. Not to mention, there could be extra costs through corrective measures.
Are there any seasonal pricing variations in shoeing?
Sometimes farriers charge different rates depending on the season. Busy periods filled with equestrian events may mean higher shoeing bills from farriers. I recommend scheduling farrier appointments in advance. Also, raise the question of potential seasonal price variations with your professional.
What charges do farriers include for fitting horseshoes?
A farrier might add certain charges on top of the service charge and horseshoe cost. These charges could depend on the specific needs of your horse. Fitting therapeutic shoes could carry more charges for expertise and materials. Also, you may pay more for travel if you’re located outside a farrier’s regular service area.