The Great Hoof Debate - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 17 Old 05-31-2013, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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The Great Hoof Debate

To shoe or not to shoe!! So the thoroughbred that I rescued is wearing front shoes right now. From what the owner told me, he was very wormy and not properly treated a while ago, so his hooves suffered a bit due to the lack of nutrients. That is why she shod him. I'm thinking of taking off the shoes. I can see where the new growth is coming in and its looking nice. I am not working him nor will I be doing so for a while.
I am all for keeping a horse barefoot if I can. Any opinions?
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-31-2013, 11:24 PM
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It depends on the horse some can do barefoot some can't. Hoof boots are a option to that's what I use. Well iam not riding right now my horse isn't sound but do use the boots on him during the day.
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post #3 of 17 Old 05-31-2013, 11:29 PM
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I'm a fan of barefoot, but, some horses and some jobs need shoes. Or some corrective helpful assistance.

I know that sounds vague, but its really a horse by horse situation.
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-31-2013, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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I'm a fan of barefoot, but, some horses and some jobs need shoes. Or some corrective helpful assistance.

I know that sounds vague, but its really a horse by horse situation.
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Maybe if I get some pics of his feet that would help. I'm going to have my farrier check him out but its just nice to see if anyone can relate.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-31-2013, 11:46 PM
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As far as relating, I totally can relate.

Our newest horse came shod. We pulled his shoes and he's fine. Actually his feet are better now and he isn't lame/off at all even on rocky trails.

Pictures will get you some really good opinions (but be sure to get good pictures or you'll hear about it lol) but you'll still be the one to decide.
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-31-2013, 11:54 PM
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It would depend on the terrain - if it is soft ground, I would be inclined to take them off, trim them appropriately, and take no other "protective" measure (e.g., boots). Everyone has their own personal preference (boots vs shoes), I would use boots 24/7 if warranted and until they are no longer needed.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-01-2013, 01:52 AM
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Hi,

*As a rule* I think shoeless is almost always better for the horse. There are exceptions to every rule though and please notice I didn't say barefoot is best. Bare is great for many horses, but when working, many horses in different situations do indeed need protection/support. I think hoof boots are *generally* the best option for this.

OP, as it's one of those questions that has many strong opinions and many of them have little to no science behind them(on either side of the 'fence'), it's just a matter of learning all you can of the pros & cons & effects of different management, then making up your own mind on what is right for your horse & situation. If you would like any specific advice on your horse's feet, then hoof pics & more info on diet, environment, work, etc is needed.
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post #8 of 17 Old 06-01-2013, 05:47 AM
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OP, as it's one of those questions that has many strong opinions and many of them have little to no science behind them(on either side of the 'fence'), it's just a matter of learning all you can of the pros & cons & effects of different management, then making up your own mind on what is right for your horse & situation. If you would like any specific advice on your horse's feet, then hoof pics & more info on diet, environment, work, etc is needed.
This...and you won't know for sure if barefoot works until you try (and be patient enough to give it time). A previous owner of our lead penner (who is thin soled) just about fell over in disbelief seeing her barefoot on the trail and asphalt road. She had previously always been shod and the had strongly believed that she would always need shoes. Barefoot doesn't work for all of them, but it does for our mares.

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post #9 of 17 Old 06-01-2013, 04:06 PM
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I a firm believer in what the horse needs. I would get the farrier's opinion. He can tell you a lot about the thickness of sole, and how well the hoof wall is doing at the bottom.

If you do go barefoot, just listen carefully to what your horse is telling you. Mincy steps? Shorter stride? Tripping?
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-02-2013, 08:48 PM
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^^A GOOD farrier/hoof care practitioner should be able to advise well & objectively, but IME there are just so many more bad/average/ill educated ones out there, that unless the owner is well informed already, it's just blind faith taking a trimmer's word for anything. Unfortunately there's no short cuts to owners educating themselves.
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