No need to sell *me* on the crackpot rubbish that is the Barefoot Movement!
Not trying to sell anyone. Just responding to some of your comments.
All of my previous experiences with it remind me of interactions with Jehovah's Witnesses (no offense to any JWs that may be reading this - but the movement has a well-deserved reputation for excessively aggressive "outreach"). I always want to tell these people (JWs *and* Barefoot Fanatics) that I Gave At The Office.
It's an interesting analogy and yep, some can get very aggressive in preaching their "gospel". I don't really have a problem with someone who chooses to limit their practice to barefoot. The trouble I have is the propaganda they spread in an effort to sell that limited skill to horse owners.
If you aren't willing to advance your skills beyond the first 10 days of farrier school, don't pretend it's because of some special insight into what best meets the needs of the horse.
It's akin to someone dropping out of medical school in the first month then telling everyone it's because they decided that all anyone needs to cure all ills is aspirin. Anything beyond that is just "palliative".
Yet, all of the farriers I've talked to, including my really good one (who is highly respected), one of the FIRST questions they ask is "What kind of work is the horse going to be doing?" and "What kind of surface is he going to be working on?" and "How much work will he be getting during a typical week?" They all seem to think that the answers to these questions "matter" in some way when it comes to whether he's getting shoes, what kind of shoes, etc.
I strongly agree with those farriers. The type of work and over what terrain is a huge factor in deciding protocol!
When I talked about keeping my horse barefoot to my farrier, his perspective was that it works for some horses, it doesn't work for others.
Your farrier is absolutely correct.
And that the type of work the horse was going to be doing had something to do with this. I don't know why. What I do know is that when we've had this discussion (over three winter barefoot trim appointments) the kind of work made a difference in what his opinion was. Maybe it's because the ground here is really rocky. Maybe he had negative experiences with eventers or jumpers putting too much wear/tear on bare feet. I don't know. All I know is that the kind of work I do with my horse - dressage in an arena and some very light trail riding - meant that we moved on to the next question, which "What is the condition of his hoof wall?"
Your speculation is correct. Terrain and use can preclude keeping an otherwise sound horse barefoot. Hoof condition can be a factor in whether a horse can go barefoot or what, if any, type of shoeing protocol may be needed.
My farrier says it's more convenient for *him* if people want to go barefoot, because he doesn't get emergency calls to replace a thrown shoe.
It is somewhat more convenient and pays better by the hour, but I don't think I'd enjoy the trade as much if all I did was trim horses. Trimming, in my opinion, is the more laborious and less challenging aspect of farriery. To be honest, after the first few thousand horses, it gets fairly boring.
On the other hand, he says, some people get really hung up on the Barefoot Philosophy (converts to the Cause) and insist on keeping their horses barefoot even when it's not the best.
Yep, I've run into those owners. I usually pack my tools and leave if I think the owners intent could be detrimental to the welfare of the animal.
... especially since there are demonstrably farriers running about who are completely committed to shoes (for whatever reason).
I've met hundreds of farriers in my career. I've never met a single one that was "completely committed to shoes" for every horse. I'm strongly committed to the art and science of shoeing horses. If shoes will best meet the needs of the horse and the owners performance expectations of the animal, that's what the horse should get. If the horse can go sound while barefoot and meet owner expectations, then barefoot it is.
We are not debating different sides of this issue, Horseman...
Nope, we're not. Just having a friendly, public discussion that others may find interesting or even useful.