Horseshoes for Racehorses

The major players in the North American racing game are Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, which are used to pulling sulkies in harness racing.

Many farriers maintain that one of the major concerns with shoeing racehorses is dealing with fatigue. This factor is often due to trainers not providing these horses with enough workouts for proper conditioning. With tired legs on racehorses, tendons, ligaments and bones are often placed at serious risk.


All Thoroughbreds trace their pedigrees back to three stallions imported into England from the Orient in the 17th and 18th centuries. Representing a combination of Arab, Barb and Turkoman breeding, these stallions were mated with foundation mares in Great Britain. Today’s Thoroughbred is a breed of hot-blooded horses known worldwide for its agility, speed and spirit.

Since Thoroughbred racehorses perform with maximum exertion, shoes provide needed hoof protection, traction and support. Balanced limbs and feet are essential, along with proper shoe fit to add traction when these horses are performing at top speed.


Thoroughbred shoers need to be comfortable working and shaping both aluminum and steel. They also need to understand how hundreds of racing plate configurations affect the horse’s movement.

Just a 2-ounce difference in weight between a plain racing plate and a steel shoe represents ½-pound with all four legs.


Front shoes typically used: Victory, Thoro’Bred, Mustad and Kerckhaert each offer a long line of training plates (usually steel) and racing shoes (usually aluminum) in a variety of styles and configurations. Other shoe manufacturers also offer numerous…

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