Farrier that doesn't do shoes? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 08:56 AM
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also the natural barefoot vs farrier topic can get heated I have noticed in other places.. as everyone has their pros and cons for both

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post #12 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 08:57 AM
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I've had both barefoot and shod horses and I prefer them barefoot unless we're going somewhere intensely rocky, then they wear boots. I will shoe for the show ring when necessary but pull the shoes after the show.

My old QH was shod most of his life because, well, because. Everyone told me that QH's feet were awful and needed shoes and his were so tiny they just needed to be shod was the popular opinion. I had an excellent farrier who put the welfare of the horses first. He'd do shoes no problem, but he recommended going bare whenever possible. We pulled the old man's shoes and it took him 6 weeks of being barefoot before he quit being ouchy even on sand. But! Once he was comfortable, he was fine and never wore another shoe. I'd say he was probably barefoot for the last 12 years of his life. He was arthritic but I can't say that shoes would have helped any of that, I'd think just the opposite. Shoes don't let the foot expand and they don't 'feel' their feet as well, so I'd think they'd be less attentive to where they put their feet and how hard they stomped around. Currently, out of 16 horses, not one is shod.

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post #13 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Nitefeatherz View Post
This guy had some kind of fancy name for what he was doing that I can't remember- that he is a farrier but some kind of "pathologist" and that there are only 5 people in the country to be certified for what he does? (To be honest- I've worked with veterinary specialists of all kinds, not just veterinarians, but in one of the better dog and cat hospitals on the east coast and he sounded like he was full of hot air so I wasn't paying attention to his fancy "title" that he worked 120 hrs to get...) He "only" does barefoot trimming and doesn't ever do any type of shoe- he says that shoes don't do anything for any horse- that you are just ruining their feet no matter what with shoes with any horse, and so on.

He was quite adamant that most people "ruin" their horses by doing too much- too much protection, why bother with a stable, keeping them in a stall for any length of time is wrong and treats it like it is a human, they shouldn't ever get anything but grass, horses in the wild do just fine without all the "extra" stuff we do to them so why bother...

My barn manager friend, once he was out of earshot, replied to his comment on "wild horses do just fine" with a point that horses in the wild generally don't live as long as domesticated horses either. I think HER biggest gripe with this guy is that this horse is in pain and he isn't helping the situation one bit.

I might be using the wrong term for the guy but he made it clear that while he WAS certified (or whatever- went to some school?) to be a farrier he chose not to shoe horses and only does barefoot.

Most wild and feral horses ("wild" horses are very rare) don't live as long as most domestic horses for reasons that have nothing to do with their feet. Food and predators being their biggest problem and some get sick. Horses living in the wild do tend to have healthy and very hard feet.

From what you've discribed the guy's not a farrier (they shoe), he's a trimmer (with some extra schooling I guess). And while his people skills may need a lot of work , basically he's right. My horses hate being put into a stall. They can come and go as they please, but unless I put food in there or call them in, they virtually never go in (once in the past 4 months, one went in....they will stand under a shed some, but that's where they have their hay ). And that's the way all my horses have been for as long as I've had horses. One had to be lead into a stall even if I put food in . People get stuck in seeing things done for certain reasons and think that it's the way things are suppose to be done. Stables were used for populated areas where there wasn't room to let the horses just room around and they wanted them on hand for immediate use. The military wanted to be able to walk in and have all the horses right at had, not going out in the pasture to collect them and bring them in to saddle. And other reasons that had practical functions for human purposes. But unless you are in that sort of situation there's really no good reason for keeping a horse in a stable. Horses do best when you let them walk, run and graze at will. Stabling is something for human convenience, not the horses health (a healthy horse with all things being equal).

But back to the feet
If you look at what shoeing an equine actually does to a healthy foot (from the effects of putting in nails to constricting the hoof growth, etc...) you'd never allow a shoe on your horse. Imagine wearing shoes with the soles and sides made of iron and we'll say that it was custom made to fit your resting foot perfectly. We'll tack it (carefully) into place along your toe nails and fit snug around your heel to insure that it doesn't shift or move any and help keep your foot and shoe properly aligned. Now you start walking....you foot cannot expand or move at all within this shoe. Now do some running in it . (once had some wooden shoes that I could get on if I sat, but hurt when I tried to walk in them....it's sort of like that) You can imagine what the effect on your foot is going to be. The constriction is going to impact your blood flow and your hoofs growth willk be restricted. Now add to this that these shoes are removed every 6 weeks and new ones put on. After while your feet will change. Even their growth will be altered.

Now I've heard people tell me for years that if it hurt the horse then why doesn't the horse show signs of it. Well, if binding a woman's feet hurt so much, how could they still walk with them. It's what you get use to and you live with it. And in the case of horses, they will endure a LOT. A horse will run itself to death for you if you push it, so there's nothing amazing about it being able to endure wearing nailed on shoes that it has no choice about?

For me the choice as always simple. At 15 I didn't see how it made sense to put shoes on my horse. After several years the health of my horses feet proved me right. After 40 years my horses feet (not those same first horses now ) have never shown me a reason to change. I am glad that there are more barefoot trimmers though (although I can trim my own).
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post #14 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I had an excellent farrier who put the welfare of the horses first. He'd do shoes no problem, but he recommended going bare whenever possible.
This is how most farriers I know think. If someone spouted only one way or the other I wouldn't use him. Sometimes we need options.
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post #15 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 10:19 AM
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Okay...here is my question then. Is it okay to ride an unshod horse on pavement? And if I do decide to go the unshod route, what type of Farrier would I look for? I read that a barefoot trim is a lot different than a shod trim.
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post #16 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by AndreaSctlnd View Post
Okay...here is my question then. Is it okay to ride an unshod horse on pavement? And if I do decide to go the unshod route, what type of Farrier would I look for? I read that a barefoot trim is a lot different than a shod trim.
Unshod is much safer on pavement as shoes have more of a tendency to to slip.
The main difference I have seen with any farrier's work is the unshod foot has the edges rounded while the shod one doesn't, so it sits flat on the shoe.
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post #17 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 10:29 AM
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Just thought I'd add to this thread.

My horse is also barefoot, but I don't have her in hard work. Her feet, when I first acquired her, just needed some attention & regular trims (she had some cracks). Her feet are in pretty great shape now. My farrier comments how good her feet are (especially for a Belgian, he says!).

Whenever I've had a question or concern, my vet has been very amenable to coming out to the barn when my farrier was there & they both could examine & make a recommendation together.
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post #18 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 10:31 AM
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Does anyone know of a good barefoot farrier in or near Warren Pennsylvania or Jamestown, NY?
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post #19 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 11:59 AM
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To shoe or not to shoe depends on the horse and how it is used.
Most horses with white hoofs have soft feet and need shoes, there are exceptions....
All race horses have shoes (plates )
Most gaited horses & harness horses have shoes.
Special made Shoes can also correct lameness.( corrective shoeing
Shoes cause NO PAIN for the horse if done correctly.
Shoes do not prevent the hoof from growing, and when the shoes are reset the old nail holes are trimmed away before the new shoes are applied.
The Frog is what pumps the blood and also works as a shock absorber.
There are several different kinds of shoes, and also hot & cold shoeing.
Angle and Balance of the hoof are very inportant, and if not done correctly can cause lameness.
I have used several Farriers over the years for my personnel horses and also for my boarders, they were all hot & cold farriers, one of the farriers at my barn had done the Olympic horses and President Ragan's horses.
I also had a stallion that cut his fetlock to the bone along with all the tendons and had a Orthopedic Farrier ( he was also a vet) make a special shoe for him, after placing the shoe on his foot that gave him the support needed for his leg, there was no need to cast the leg, the shoe was reset every 2 weeks for 6 months and then removed.
Some breeds of horses have better feet than others.
It also has to do with soil and climate where the horse is kept, and the surface of where the horse is used, ( gravel & dirt roads, asphalt roads, clay tracks, arena, etc.
As for wild horses they wear their hoofs natually and probably have better feet than most of our domesticated horses.
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post #20 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 12:26 PM
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I like having horses barefoot. However, I rarely have a barefoot horse. The first one I had to shoe had an abcsess that came out the cornet band and the hoof ended up so infected, 1/3 or more of the hoof was resected and because of the lack of support the coffin bone rotated, aggravating the horse's ringbone. So he was trimmed and shod (fronts only) from radiographs for the first few shoeings after the trauma was over, and the shoes remained on for years as the hoof angles had to be maintained exactly. He has since been retired and unshod and is now sound without shoes (as sound as a horse in his mid twenties with ringbone and rotated coffins can be lol) mostly because of the careful farrier work done earlier...
The next horse was shod with fronts on and off, depending on our competition schedule... I've gotten nails in my car tires from show grounds in this area so I'm wary about what else is lurking around...
My horse now is competing at such a level that he needs the added support from his shoes. If he is unshod his feet literally fall apart and he is not able to perform to the highest level. His shoes are rebalance and shaped every 4-5 weeks and are formed such that they extend beyond the heels to add support to the foot, and keep his hocks laterally aligned in the short work. I consider farriery to be one of the tools in my toolbox to make my horses job easier and less stressful. This along with carefully aligning the feet based on radiographs keeps him tip top.

Has anyone even bothered to x ray the horse to determine how he should be trimmed and shod? Or is the owner just listening to the loudest person regardless of what is best for the horse?
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