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Question:

Steel horse shoes vs. aluminum?

So I'm trying to decide which is better. I've always had aluminum on my 6 yr old tb gelding as I do hunters on him. He's never had steel on but I've recently moved and the shoer here is more expensive. So is aluminum really worth the extra cash to keep him light on his feet or is steel really not that much different?

Answer:

It really depends on your horse. If you horse is a good mover, and average weight steel shoe shouldn't make much of a difference. If the horse is a mediocre mover, sometimes the added weight will make it move worse. You should also understand that one steel shoe is not like another steel shoe- they come in different widths of web and thickness of steel. Some horses that don't do well in regular shoes do better in a light rim shoe or training plate. Discuss your concerns with your farrier, but he/she doesn't have a crystal ball. You may just have to try steel for a cycle and see how your horse does. When I am shoeing a horse that needs lighter weight steel, I tend to use either St. Croix's Lite Rim shoe or steel Concord training plate, or Kerckaert's DR training plate or the Triumph Lite steel shoe. All of these shoes are light weight, have decent traction and good break over.
Sep 27, 2017
Steel is not much different to be honest as long as you aren't doing any special shoes. A horse like yours I would probably stick in some steel eventers and go on your way. That's about average and honestly between a comparable aluminum shoe you won't see a difference in his movement unless the farrier starts messing with breakovers and shoeing him different. There are few times when I will do aluminum and all of it has to do with special circumstances. My 4 year old is in aluminums on his front right now because his special shoes are close to an 3/4 thick and about an inch wide. In steel those shoes would be very heavy, but those are what he works best in compared to the steel. I can give him more of the support he needs with the aluminum than I can with the steel. I also prefer eggbars, hartbars, etc to be done in aluminum for the sheer size of the shoe. Steel lasts more resets and it's stronger than aluminum. Aluminum is useful for therapuedic shoes. So you all have the pros and cons, but a horse in shoes with no special needs is a horse who should just stay in steel.
Sep 27, 2017
IMO, steel is fine. The only time I've felt that aluminum was important was: 1. A horse with a specific shoeing issue that required an aluminum shoe. 2. A racehorse-- every micro-gram counts. 3. Top level pleasure horses who need a little bit flatter knee. Everything else I've seen did just fine in regular steel shoes.
Sep 27, 2017
Shoes don't keep a horse light on their feet, good riding does. Aluminum bends really easily and will scratch and ruin quickly. That's why you have to have your horse shod more often with aluminum. Steel is worth it. They last longer. Personally though I think barefoot is the best option.
Sep 27, 2017

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