I just pulled my TB's hind shoes a few days ago.
Why was he shod on the hinds? If an owner cannot answer that question definitively, they are ill equipped to make the decision of shod versus barefoot.
The first few days he just looked more confused than anything.
Anthropomorphism is a poverty of clinical diagnostics.
He's not lame exactly but not sure how to walk either.
Horses are either lame or they are not. Your horse has known how to walk since the first few minutes after birth.
I'm guessing he's just wondering what all that feeling is down there, probably some pins and needles stuff too.
Someone told you that horseshoes restrict/hinder nerve sensation in a horses foot, didn't they?
I've been walking him of varied surfaces to see what he's comfortable with. To my dismay, he likes the hard pavement of the driveway and barn aisle best, followed by the hard dirt walkway to the paddock, is very tentative about the indoor sand arena and hates his muddy paddock.
This is key information and provides the most likely answer. It also serves as a great example for a lesson in equine mechanical anatomy.
I'm thinking it's more due to how the surfaces feel more than anything, but I'm just surprised that he likes the hard stuff.
Stop listening to the barefoot brigade nonsense and consider the bio-mechanics involved. To wit.... When palmar/plantar ventral angle is increased, what primary soft tissue support structures are subject to increased load?
When palmar/plantar ventral angle is decreased, what primary soft tissue support structures are subject to increased load?
What effect does footing (hard/soft) have on the palmar/plantar angle?
I expected some degree of lameness on hard/not soft, but got the other way around. Has anyone who's gone shoeless experienced this?
It's not about shod versus shoeless. It's about mechanical load on support structures and how they are balanced in the equine distal limb.
Yes, I know I'm being a bit of a putz by not just giving you the answer but this stuff is important. It's why the average horse owner shouldn't just make a shod/barefoot decision based on "Let's try it and see", "I read on a barefoot website that it's natural" or "It will save me a few bucks every six weeks".
I'll give you three hints to the three bold-faced questions above.
Horses are designed/adapted for life in a semi-arid environment. Changes in that environment alter the mechanical efficiency of the equine distal limb.
A wedged, open heeled, roller motion shoe is often used to address the needs of a horse diagnosed with navicular disease. Think about why the shoe design benefits those horses.
A flat barshoe includes two mechanical properties that benefit some horses. Caudal float and distribution of pressure over a larger surface area.
Horses need what they need and not all are good candidates for a barefoot management protocol.
Your horse is demonstrating his difficulty in the only way he can. Are you "listening" or will you continue to pursue some idealistic barefoot dogma?