Wild Horse Hooves: Necessity, Maintenance, Critical FAQs

Without proper trimming of hooves, horses are open to injury, of which the chances are more in case of wild horses. Let’s see how wild horses maintain their hooves.

Wild horses keep up with their hooves by running and strolling significant distances every day over rough landscape. This wears their hooves down normally, at the very rate that they develop.

Although humans can guarantee the wellbeing of domestic horses, nature takes care of hooves for wild horses in it’s own way.

Wild Hoof Care

Wild horses don’t bother with foot management. Unlike animals who purposefully grind down their nails, horses normally deal with foot development. Let’s see how wild horses cares for their hooves.

Wild horses travel a lot and so their hooves are normally ground down to a reasonable length. During day by day ventures, horses run more than they walk. As a result, their hooves wear out at a similar rate at which they develop.

Survival without horseshoes is usually not a problem for wild horses, except in some cases.

How do horses survive in the wild without their hooves

Wild horses are capable of thriving, if left alone. Let us see how they can survive through rough terrains without horseshoes, which is impossible for domestic horses.  

Horses in the wild depend on natural wear and tear of hooves, exercise and diet for their perfect proportions of hooves. Their ability to run through tough terrains is the predominant factor which naturally trims their hooves.

Image Credit: “Wild Horses” by firelizard5 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Over time, horses have also adapted to fit the terrain and nature of their territory. Hence, evolution of horses also plays a major role in their survival in the wild.

Wild Hoof Evolution

All through time, horse’s hooves have advanced to adjust to its current circumstance, permitting these adorable creatures to endure all the more effectively no matter where they existed. Let’s see the evolution of wild hooves.

  1. Horses that survive with evolution eventually pass the same gene to their offspring
  2. This cycle causes the horse’s hooves to slowly change over time. 
  3. In wet, sloppy regions, horses grew huge level hooves. In harsh topography, they grew harder hooves.

Furthermore, Outgrown hooves can even become lethal if not treated. But noting the disparities between domestic and wild horses, do the later even need trimming? 

Do wild horses need hooves trimmed

Horse hoof trimming is an important and normal part of horse care. But In the wild with no one to take care of them, let’s see how wild horses trim their hooves.

Wild horses do not need their hooves trimmed – their wild lifestyle does it for them. Wild horses follow the natural lifestyle, unlike domestic horses, which includes natural trimming of hooves to avoid overgrowth.

Image Credit: “Cleaning Aprils Hooves” by Serge Melki is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Moreover, horseshoes keep the hooves protected. So without this facility in the wild, how do wild horses survive?

How do wild horses survive without horse shoes

Without horseshoes, domestic horses are more inclined towards foot injuries, but what about wild horses? Let’s see!

Wild horses can survive without horseshoes as they wear off their hooves themselves simply by running as intended by nature. Other factors include breeding, no artificial weight and exercise. 

Image Credit: “Hooves and tail” by quinn.anya is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Horseshoes are a significant part of healthcare for domestic horses. But wild horses are also known to live just fine without them. 

Why do wild horses not need shoes

Till now, we know shoes are an important protective gear for domestic horses. Now let’s see why wild horses do not need shoes.

The primary reason behind why wild horses can survive without shoes is that they don’t “work” as hard or as frequently as a horse with a proprietor. Hence, they erode their hooves slower than the hooves develop.  

Image Credit: “Wild Horses” by firelizard5 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Since wild horses do not play out any of the exercises domesticated horses do, they don’t need horse shoes and can go with the natural flow safely.


I am Vandana, A budding lawyer and an animal lover. I spend my spare time with my pets and also love to research different animal behaviors. My constant learning attitude keeps me exploring new understandings of Animals and my penchant for writing keeps me encouraged to do so. Apart from writing, I also like listening to soulful music, reading books, and being around animals.

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