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barefoot dressage?

This is a discussion on barefoot dressage? within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Will hoof expand on barefoot horse
  • Professional dressage barefoot

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    08-06-2012, 10:04 AM
  #11
Foal
Thank you guys for your feeback but please, let's stay polite! I want to make this positive as I, too, like many people, am still learning about this domain and may say some uneducated comments...hoping not to be judged too harshly!

I hope to bring my guy to 2nd level within the next couple of years. We go on trail all the time so boots would definitely have to be an option, but in my experience they always fall off. Plus we have to go through water in order to get out to the trails, what's the deal with boots and water?
     
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    08-06-2012, 10:22 AM
  #12
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saranda    
I know several horses that do dressage barefoot and they are absolutely fine. Besides, shoes limit the natural movement and circulation of the hoof, sometimes even numbing them, thus some people like them, because then the hooves are less likely to become ouchy. Hence the idea that shoes "protect feet". Barefoot definitely calls for more attention and care, but it is worth it.

That said, I respect people who have chosen to shoe their horses and do not intend to start a barefoot vs shoed war here. :)
I completely agree that barefoot is best if your horse has good feet - I used to compete my last horse in endurance barefoot, and he never batted an eyelid. Dressage would never have been a problem for him. My current one, however, is practically lame without shoes, and has very crumbly feet. I end up shoeing him every 5 weeks just to keep him happy in the field! But he does everything fine with shoes on.

However, I'd love to know where you heard that shoeing numbs feet. Shoes can cause lameness and balance problems if not done properly and in balance with the foot, but if done properly neither the shoe nor nails should go anywhere near any structures that are innervated or even have blood supply - therefore should have no direct influence on either pain or numbness, only indirect influence on muscle, tendon and joint pain if the balance isn't correct.

It's an interesting theory as to why some horses are 'footy' without shoes, but I struggle to see how it would work with the anatomy of the foot and the biophysics behind correct shoeing. I'm not trying to start an argument, but it goes against everything I've been taught as a vet student, and have seen through work experience alongside (admittedly excellent, award-winning and vet-respected corrective shoeing farriers). I'd love to hear the full theory behind it, just out of curiosity.

Again, if the horse goes fine without shoes, then go for it - it's more natural, much less expensive and the hoof does get stronger the longer it is unshod. However, I'd advise against shoeing for the competition season and then taking shoes off over winter - taking shoes on and off will reduce the quality of the hoof. I;d advise picking which route suits your horse best, and sticking to it (:
     
    08-06-2012, 10:32 AM
  #13
Super Moderator
Okay, I will try to put it in words as good as I can, as I'm not a native English speaker and my vocabulary in this topic might be less than sufficient. :)

The theory, as far as I understand it, goes like this: When a horse puts a hoof to the ground and then rises it, it naturally expands a bit and then goes back to normal, thus, it needs to stay as free and elastic as possible. And we all know that behind the hoof wall we can find blood circulation, sensitive nerves and everything else that makes hoof health so important. Thus, when a horse is shod, to natural movement of the hoof is restricted, interferring with blood flow and sensitivity of the hoof. Of course, the way hooves are trimmed to be shod is important, too, and the effects can be lesser with a proper trim.
loosie and goneriding like this.
     
    08-06-2012, 10:41 AM
  #14
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by julianeAHS    
Thank you guys for your feeback but please, let's stay polite! I want to make this positive as I, too, like many people, am still learning about this domain and may say some uneducated comments...hoping not to be judged too harshly!

I hope to bring my guy to 2nd level within the next couple of years. We go on trail all the time so boots would definitely have to be an option, but in my experience they always fall off. Plus we have to go through water in order to get out to the trails, what's the deal with boots and water?
Try boots with gaiters :)
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goneriding likes this.
     
    08-06-2012, 10:42 AM
  #15
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saranda    
Okay, I will try to put it in words as good as I can, as I'm not a native English speaker and my vocabulary in this topic might be less than sufficient. :)

The theory, as far as I understand it, goes like this: When a horse puts a hoof to the ground and then rises it, it naturally expands a bit and then goes back to normal, thus, it needs to stay as free and elastic as possible. And we all know that behind the hoof wall we can find blood circulation, sensitive nerves and everything else that makes hoof health so important. Thus, when a horse is shod, to natural movement of the hoof is restricted, interferring with blood flow and sensitivity of the hoof. Of course, the way hooves are trimmed to be shod is important, too, and the effects can be lesser with a proper trim.
No, you've explained it very well, thank you. I can see exactly what that is based on, and yes, shoeing would interfere with that expansion of the hoof wall. However, interfering enough to affect nerves behind the hoof wall to cause numbness, I'm not personally entirely convinced by - it would take quite a lot to cause actual numbness, rather than just, for example, causing the hoof to become more rigid and less flexible, and reducing shock absorption in the foot.

Completely agree that trimming is very important though, and improper trimming alongside shoeing could cause major problems. Thanks very much for explaining!
     
    08-06-2012, 10:44 AM
  #16
Showing
When a horse is properly shod the back of the hoof can still expand. Whether to go barefoot or not is the question you should be asking your farrier. If you are riding rocky terrain the hooves will toughen but may also wear too rapidly. These are the variables that your farrier will address.
     
    08-06-2012, 10:46 AM
  #17
Trained
I've always seen the higher level Dressage horses in shoes and I've always been told they were necessary at that level. However I wasn't ever really able to get an explanation as to why. Maybe one of our resident Dressage SME's will chime in.

At the lower levels, I see MANY horses totally barefoot or semi-barefoot.
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    08-06-2012, 10:52 AM
  #18
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
When a horse is properly shod the back of the hoof can still expand. Whether to go barefoot or not is the question you should be asking your farrier. If you are riding rocky terrain the hooves will toughen but may also wear too rapidly. These are the variables that your farrier will address.
The back of the foot, yes - but if it couldn't, then you'd lose the pedal pump effect and have real blood supply issues. The actual hoof tissue doesn't expand and contract in the same way, but it is also being protected from wear by the shoe, so it's a toss up. And to be honest, the expansion of the actual hoof wall is very minimal anyway, so whilst it is restricted the benefits of shoeing for some horses far outweigh that. Like you say, the farrier will know the horse's feet well enough to advise.
     
    08-06-2012, 10:55 AM
  #19
Super Moderator
I aggree, it is definitely worht listening to your farrier - of course, if the farrier is a good professional. I'm just lucky enough to have a horse with naturally strong hooves. Also, I think it helps that he is 24/7 pastured and the pastures have different terrains for him to walk on, including concrete surfaces by the shelters and feeding bins.
     
    08-06-2012, 03:17 PM
  #20
Started
I know near nothing about dressage. I watch it sometimes. But it occurs to me that most of it is done in an arena of some sort with a soft surface. Why couldn't you use a barefoot horse like this? Seems to me the surface in the ring would be a lot more forgiving than on the trails.

I manage most of the roads and trails around here barefoot. More crushed granite around here than anything else, even out on the snowmobile trails.
     

Tags
barefoot, barefoot dressage, dressage, hoof care

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