As a horse communicator, I’m used to my clients asking a wide range of questions. This one had been asked a few times, so I decided to see if I could find out.
Lots of people have very definite ideas over whether horses SHOULD wear shoes or not – but what do horses think?
Since it would take me a while to ask every horse in their individual sessions what they think about shoes, I decided to use my trusty pendulum. I sent out word on my Facebook page, asking for volunteers. Luckily there’s never a shortage, since we all want to know what our horses think and how they are feeling!
Over the space of a few days I tested 112 horses. Owners shared their horse’s photo and name, and I tuned in with each to ask my yes / no question – “Do you like wearing shoes?”
29% of the horses surveyed said that they like wearing shoes.
That means that 71% don’t…
Perhaps not too much of a surprise? When you consider problems with trimming, farriers, losing shoes, the type of work the horse does, abcesses and more, experience may have a lot to do with it.
Now obviously it was a very general question, and is asking the individual for their opinion. Perhaps not totally scientific – but it was a decent sample size, and still interesting (to me anyway!) to see what the consensus would be.
It does lead us down a bit of a rabbit hole though.
- Is it only metal shoes that the horses object to?
- Do they also dislike wearing boots, or glue on shoes?
- Has the horse had a bad experience with shoeing?
- Are there specific reasons why each horse prefers not to wear shoes?
It’s also possible that – if asked in a more general manner, ie not just a yes / no question – they might say, “no I don’t like wearing shoes, but I realise I have to”, or “I’ll wear them for mum”, or “I’d rather wear them than not be able to jump” etc. Or, they might say “I do / don’t like wearing shoes, because…” However, as a free, quick experiment, I can’t go into that level of detail with 112 horses!
I did take it further with one horse. One of my regular clients was curious to know what a horse she works with would say. His answer was ‘no’, so I then asked my pendulum to show me to what extent shoes were beneficial for this horse to wear? 60%. So, whilst he said he didn’t like wearing shoes, it was actually in his best interest.
That got me thinking, so at the end of the experiment I tested the ‘collective’, ie all 112 horses together, asking for how many of them is it beneficial to wear shoes?
So you can see it’s not a clean cut question, and there are many variables that affect the answers or results for each horse!
For instance, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the majority who said they didn’t like wearing shoes should be wearing them… we’d have to test each individual with that question to be clear on that. It’s equally possible that a majority of the ones who say they do like wearing shoes should be wearing shoes, and only half of those who don’t like shoes should be wearing them. Complicated, right?!
Are you surprised by the results? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Here’s the Facebook Live where I revealed the results:
If your horse gave a ‘no’ answer in the survey and you’d like to go down the rabbit hole to find out more detail, you can book a ‘Questions Only’ animal communication session here, to ask 5 supplementary questions, like:
- how beneficial (or detrimental) is it for my horse to wear shoes
- is there a specific reason he doesn’t like wearing shoes
- is there something I can do, to either help him with being shod, or help him transition to barefoot
- does he like wearing hoof boots, etc.
Til next time, keep connecting with your horses!
Trisha Wren has been an equine professional for most of her adult life. She rode, competed, and taught Western Riding for 15 years in Scotland, then taught horse and rider bio-mechanics in New Zealand and Australia for 10 years. She’s been a full time horse and animal communicator since April 2016, and also runs regular Animal Communication online workshops. Find out more about Trisha here.