Barefoot for hard riding is it possible. - Page 2

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Barefoot for hard riding is it possible.

This is a discussion on Barefoot for hard riding is it possible. within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    03-01-2012, 09:21 PM
Green Broke
Joe, my friend's horse has boots, they last one season. A lot will depend on the terrain and the frequency of use. If the op's horse is wearing out steel shoes within 7 weeks, well, I don't think the boots will last too long. JMO.
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    03-01-2012, 09:36 PM
Joe4d my horse wear out steel shoes in 7 weeks were talking paper thin or broke in two. So I don't think boots will hold up a season let alone 7 weeks. So no my farrier isnt full of hogwash if he thought they didnt need shoes he wouldnt put them on. We are riding 3 to 4 hours six days a week trotting most of that time. Out of 4 hours we maybe walk 30 to 35 minutes of that time. These horses arent pampered pasture puffs who get rode once or twice a week for 1 hour a ride.
    03-01-2012, 09:47 PM
Green Broke
BTW Spirit88, I think you're my hero! While I use to ride 6 days a week for 2 -3 hours a ride, it has been a few years. Hoping to get back to that schedule, as both myself and the horses were the better for it.

Keep up the great work, very inspirational!
    03-01-2012, 10:07 PM
Thanks walkamile my teenage daughter is the one who keeps me going she loves riding and really inspires me. Beleive it or not four years ago I was scared to death to even ride my horse outside the round pen. I was badly hurt by a horse I trained had I not been wearing a helmet I would of been brain damaged. Thanks to my daughter she was my cheer leader. She's the one who helped me get over my fear I mean I was scared to death. I was ready to sell my horses and be done I didnt want to ride but my daughter told me come on mom you can do it. She's the one who got me out of the round pen and out on the trails and got me not to be so scared. Took a year and a half to shake that fear but iv over come it. My gelding I ride also was a big help to he took care of me in my time of fear.
    03-01-2012, 11:19 PM
There is alot of folks here that are making assumptions without all the facts and experiance. I have the luxury of having tried many things and rode many many many miles shod, barefoot and booted while living here in the mnts and I can say that something some of you guys are clearly not aware of..... boots and rubber shoes wear better than iron because they do not slide with every step and wear off material. They grip with each step and thus loose less surface as a rule. Ever seen a metal shod horse scrambling up some rocky terrain? My booted horses and rubber shod horses don't do this (certain boots are made for certain riding situations however) This is a fact.

All that said,

I would not go barefoot for your horses most likely but I would look into these shoes instead of the metal wearing through. They really reduce the impact and are extremely easy for any farrier to set with his normal tools. I have used them personally riding 6 days a week for hours at a musical theater I trained at. We rode predominately on asphalt, in a sand ring and on a stage and we got several settings out of them always. They have a money back guarentee that they WILL wear better than an iron shoe so you can't loose there. I have also found that horses do not seem as fatigued when wearing them in heavy work. I imagine they are kinda like a horse Nike lol With 3 to 5 setting sbeing typical, they are the same or less costly than an iron shoe. I've converted many farriers with these shoes who SWORE they wouldnt last a week and had to eat their words at the second third and even fourth resets lol ;)


    03-01-2012, 11:28 PM
Super Moderator
I have a couple of my horses in Easy Boots.

One set of Easy Boots lasts about the same as 4 or 5 sets of shoes. My really big horses go in SX8s and they last a little longer, but are so heavy only the big horses can carry them. These are horses going 80 to 100 miles a week in rocks.
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    03-01-2012, 11:57 PM
Trinity3205 thanks would be nice to be able to reset 3 or more times I looked up the site. I like what the shoes look like looks like more sole protection also I had a lot of stone bruising last summer. Our trails are rocky and very rough on the feet like sand paper.
    03-02-2012, 12:06 AM

Only skimmed the first group of replies, but inclined to disagree generally... Except Joe's comment on the farrier re boots. Oh & there's no structural or strength difference between black & white hooves.

Only definite answer I'd give you is 'it depends', as every horse & situation is different, but yes, it is entirely possible that your horse will adapt to being bare with this type of lifestyle/environment. Not just going on theory here by any means, but first hand experience.

Some of the best 'candidates' for barefoot are endurance horses, doing many miles every day. It's the weekenders & horses that generally live/work on soft ground that are the worst 'candidates' for barefoot over rough ground IME. As with us, 'if you don't use it, you lose it' and if you're not doing regular exercise barefoot on hard ground, you'll lose those calluses & your skin won't grow as quickly to compensate either. Healthy horses can generally adapt to putting out as much growth as equals wear, depending on management, diet, etc.

Now for the depends. First off, even in ideal situations, sometimes wear does indeed exceed growth. Eg. Particularly long & hard endurance rides, working longer &/or harder than the horse is used to, etc. But in these situations, boots are generally a very good option. Eg. While many bare endurance horses are barefoot during training & most of the time, they usually wear boots for big rides. Many people carry boots in a saddle bag for if/when the horse is wearing too much or terrain gets a lot rougher, so their horses are predominantly bare but booted as necessary. Boots aren't suitable for every horse in every situation unfortunately, but these days there are enough choices out there to effectively cover most bases(pardon the pun!).

The vast majority of problems with boots seem to relate to bad fitting & I'd advise a boot-savvy trimmer trim & fit your horse, to ensure they're right. There are different styles suitable for different situations & Easycare's new Trail boot is a very easy, convenient & strong boot, but being high profile is not generally advisable for more than 25 miles per ride/week. As for longevity, Easycare have tried & tested their boots rigorously & say their Epics for eg. Will last around 500 miles in harsh terrain & around 1000 miles in more forgiving footing.

So... of course, your horse may have less than perfect hooves, especially if he's been shod long term, and comfort is very important, not just for humane reasons, but if he's not comfortable, he won't be using his feet properly, in order to develop further strength & avoid/rehab from problems. So I wouldn't advise/expect your horse to come straight out of shoes & be made to go bare. By all means, see how he goes, if he's comfortable, impacting heel first, etc, but be prepared to protect & support his feet with boots/pads as necessary. You may find you always need them for work, at least in certain situations, or you may find that after some months, you're using them less & less & he eventually goes bare everywhere.

I'd start out learning as much as you can about the principles behind the practices of 'natural hoofcare' & learning how the hooves function & what factors are involved, such as diet & environment, etc. Hopefully the tread link in my signature will help you get started on that.
    03-02-2012, 12:16 AM
Originally Posted by spirit88    
Joe4d my horse wear out steel shoes in 7 weeks were talking paper thin or broke in two. So I don't think boots will hold up a season let alone 7 weeks. So no my farrier isnt full of hogwash if he thought they didnt need shoes he wouldnt put them on.
Perhaps your farrier lacks experience with boots though, so he doesn't understand the difference. He thinks they need shoes because he doesn't know there are viable alternatives. As well as rubber not sliding quite as much, so less abrasion, as Trinity explained, it is yielding, which allows it to last far longer than steel. Look at car tyres for eg, how long they last on unforgiving surfaces - one reason they moved on from metal wheeled vehicles.
    03-02-2012, 12:28 AM
So I'm just going to input that you probably will have to do something to protect the hoof because with rigorous work even strong footed horses (like my pony who was barefoot for most of her life) wear will exceed the growth sometimes. Even on sand and rubber footing I was working her hard and regularly and I had to call the farrier out to shoe her up. And my pony had tough feet; they never crack or flake or split and my farrier just loves them. So sometimes it's not about "toughening" them up, you just have to do what's best for your horse.

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