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no shoes for the first time

This is a discussion on no shoes for the first time within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Promenade walks for barefoot horse
  • Step by step care for a horse in transition from shoes to no shoes

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    01-09-2012, 12:45 AM
  #21
Foal
Fortunately, almost [U]no[U] horses need shoes, but the owners rely on them... He should be fine, look for slight limping in the first week, but should subside once the hoof grows in a bit, and he gets used to it :)
     
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    01-10-2012, 01:38 AM
  #22
Yearling
Some of these comments are very similar to what I hear from customers. And by reading them, you can easily pick out the people who make their living under a horse from the people who've had 1 or 2 horses on favorable terrain.

Where I live, a decent-footed horse that doesn't need shod for correction purposes can go barefoot IF they're not ridden much on rocks. Go 15 miles, and if you don't have shoes on them, they'll have 4 flat tires tomorrow. 20 miles from here I had to shoe a Mustang fresh out of the adoption sale that was kept in a small corral. As most folks know, these Mustang's feet are harder than woodpecker lips and will spark on the pavement. But this poor horse didn't last a week up there. I've had customers up in the hills and sharp rocks that wanted to try barefoot trimming. I left plenty of sole for cushion and still by the next day, the horse quit walking. People who haven't seen these sharp rocks don't understand. It all depends on their environment.

One of my customers who had low-soled paints asked me if they could get away with just trimming. I knew both horses because I had broke both of them. I told them no, they won't hold up, unless you just ride in the grass or arena. They accused me of "Only shoeing because I could make more money". BS!! I sincerely wish I could trim all day instead of shoe. I could make considerably more profit because
1. I wouldn't be buying shoes, nails, pull-offs, clinch-cutters, hammers, nail pullers, pads, hoof packing, drill presses, grinders, rivets, drill-tech, anvils, tongs, punches, and other shoeing supplies
2. My truck would get much better fuel mileage if I wasn't carrying nearly 1000 pounds of steel in the bed

I do trims sometimes. It's the best money you can make. All you have invested is wear and tear on your nippers, knives, and rasp, and your gas. But it's not feasible here. Barefoot trimmers would starve to death
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    01-10-2012, 02:27 AM
  #23
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmazinCaucasian    
Where I live, a decent-footed horse that doesn't need shod for correction purposes can go barefoot IF they're not ridden much on rocks. Go 15 miles, and if you don't have shoes on them, they'll have 4 flat tires tomorrow. 20 miles from here I had to shoe a Mustang fresh out of the adoption sale that was kept in a small corral. As most folks know, these Mustang's feet are harder than woodpecker lips and will spark on the pavement. But this poor horse didn't last a week up there. I've had customers up in the hills and sharp rocks that wanted to try barefoot trimming. I left plenty of sole for cushion and still by the next day, the horse quit walking. People who haven't seen these sharp rocks don't understand. It all depends on their environment.
I so agree that environment is a huge part of it. I think that is the major reason most domestic horses will require at least some artificial hoof protection in some situations, to do all a person may require of them. Because of the environment we tend to keep them, most aren't able to become true 'rock crunchers'. So it's great that there are so many good hoof boots available these days, to give an effective alternative to steel rims.

So saying, wanted to consider the bits I highlighted in your post. Considering the above, the importance of environment, is it possible the mustang in question was not from a similar enough environment, perhaps from soft footing or such, so didn't infact have 'harder than a woodpecker'? Is it possible that he'd been kept in a small pen for long enough that his hoof health had deteriorated? I wonder if the customers that 'tried barefoot' understood the important factors such as environment, diet, protection of the feet where necessary, etc. I also wonder whether 'left plenty of sole' meant you don't pare any, or the horse previously shod had had much sole paring? What about the frog & the rest? I'm not assuming, but just asking these questions, because they & other factors can all make such big differences in the scheme of things.

I've heard of many but personally know of one professional horse operation in very harsh terrain who's horses have gone from shod to barefoot very successfully without using boots or such. They did try, but the country is actually too rough for boots even!
     
    01-15-2012, 12:50 AM
  #24
Yearling
Well, I probably can't express this without sounding smart-aleck. When it comes to farrier issues, I'm pretty much to the point. Loosie, I don't know if you're against shoeing or not, but here's my view on it. If a horse requires artificial hoof protection, to me it's not going barefoot. And some people call this "Natural Hoof Trimming". To me it's not very natural to require a special diet, be kept out of their pasture, or require supplements to be barefoot. Also it's not going barefoot if they're wearing boots. I suppose horses in rocky conditions could go barefoot if you keep em in a stall, and that's my point....Horses can't make it barefoot in the rough country close to here. The lots and pastures consist of sharp sandstone that's brutal on horse's hooves and will wear a foot down faster than they can grow. After a day or two, horses just quit walking because that's the only thing they can do to cope. I suspect that's what many barefoot trimmed horses do, just don't move around as much
     
    01-15-2012, 01:34 AM
  #25
Super Moderator
I'm probably just lucky, but I can walk/trot/canter/gallop my mare on gravel, from crushed gravel to large chunks, on a 4 day a week+4 mile a day basis, without her coming up sore, ever. I am careful about riding her too much on those surfaces because her feet don't grow faster than they get worn away under those circumstances, but if her hooves grew faster, I'd be in business.

However, she is older and has always had fantastic feet so I can only assume that they're a product of her "superior" genetics.
Back before I knew better, she was left with 4 shoes on for OVER 3 months and none of the shoes fell off or were ripped off. They were still firmly on her hooves by the time I figured things out and had my barefoot trimmer come trim her (and pull her shoes) for the first time.

Of course, most horses are distinctly NOT like that! My friends like to joke that my mare is a unicorn in disguise and I'm inclined to agree with them based on her older-than-dirt-ness, her intense eternal healthiness, her long term lack of injuries, and her diamond-like feet. I don't know what else to blame it on and magic seems as likely as anything!


For the OP, I think that letting the hooves grow a smidge, then pulling her shoes in the spring is a very good plan. Give this horse a little "protection" via her own hoof before pulling and I think it should work out well for you. Give her time to be a little sore and I bet she'll be golden a month or two after the shoes come off. :)
     
    01-15-2012, 04:13 PM
  #26
Foal
Not every horse can go barefoot, so it depends. With considering being a senior, there should me more emphasis on comfort than anything else. She shouldn't be limping or anything in the meantime...that's discomfort. Make sure the trimmer has her comfort first and foremost when he picks up her feet.
I transitioned mine at 18 and the pathology was really bad. It took me 2 years to transition her, but no matter, she never limped....not acceptable to limp and for that, you need boots to protect her while she scrambles to get her ducks in order from the trim.
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    01-15-2012, 04:31 PM
  #27
Foal
When my horse first went barefoot he was a little sore, my trimmer had me walk him on a hard surface for 30 minutes everyday to help strengthen his feet, seemed to help him get adjusted. He has now been barefoot for 3 years and doing great.
     
    01-15-2012, 04:52 PM
  #28
Foal
LOL! That's what I call Promenade Walks. A hard surface like asphalt is perfect. The horse must have a heel first landing, though, for it to be promoting. So, if you can get a heel first landing without boots, fine, but if you don't, you need boots until you get a heel first landing in them, then graduate to a heel first landing without them. Pea gravel will also promote without having to do Promenade Walks. Around water troughs, loafing areas or narrow places they have to pass through. The ultimate graduation is a heel first landing on gravel without boots, but some have to earn it harder than others. Pea gravel (4" deep) helps the horse do his own homework.
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    01-15-2012, 05:29 PM
  #29
Trained
I second (or third) the barefoot walks on asphalt or concrete. I also think it accelerated my horse's transition. He did it slowly, but everyday he was a little better. I noticed once you get the blood pumping through the ever expanding frogs on the hard surface, they are more willing to try a few steps on the less even surfaces. I took advantage of it and pushed his limits on more uneven surfaces every time I hand walked him, even if was only a few steps. While a proper trim comes first, movement is key to making this transition.
     
    01-18-2012, 07:36 AM
  #30
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmazinCaucasian    
some people call this "Natural Hoof Trimming". To me it's not very natural to require a special diet, be kept out of their pasture, or require supplements to be barefoot......I suspect that's what many barefoot trimmed horses do, just don't move around as much
(Im going to generalize a bit here so don't think I mean ALL or EVERY...Just generalizing a bit, because in my area, this is generally the case....)

Actually, the goal of most people doing barefoot is to replicate a more natural "wild" environment and diet which is more :natural: to what a horse evolved to live like. That is where the saying comes from. What we do to, and for, them in captivity is nowhere near what a horse is designed to live like and it adversly affects them in big ways over time.

Horses were not designed to eat buttloads of super fertilized green grass and big scoops of grains. It isnt a mystery to many of us why we are seeing so many IR and laminitic flat footed horses out there.

The big reason this is coming to the forefront is we no longer work horses like they used to when they were relied on for transportation etc. We think that an hour ride in a 24 hr period is "work" these days and want to grain our horse because it's "in work". Most horses do not need this. An hour is nothing.

When horses worked off and on all day 6 or 7 days a week, they could eat alot of grains and not founder or become IR because exercise burned up the excesses. No so anymore. We have a bunch of fat, over fed and underworked animals with poor shoeing in many areas that poor farriers (or shoe tacker on'ers if you will) get away with because we don't work our horses much anymore. They can do poor jobs and not get caught right away when the horse isnt really being worked so that the problems show. Also, we as owners are less educated then when horses were part of our daily lives and an unsound horse might mean you couldnt work. We were more vested in their well beaing and thus learned more.

Today, We are becoming more educated as to what horses really need and what is really healthy for them and want to mimic that more healthy natural diet and environment that reflects the horses true workload and eliminates excessive sugars and carbs in the horses diet that shouldnt be there. Just as if a human were to live on Mcdonalds sitting in front of the tv vs eating healthy and exercising. You can live on McDonalds for a time without any problems, but eventually, it will catch up to you. Same for a horse.

Movement...Horses were designed to MOVE and move alot. Locking them in stalls is a terrible horsekeeping practice and noone I know recommends that. The "UNLESS" part would be if the only other option is to turn them out on lush green pasture that was super sugary and hurting their feet. Obviously, that wouldbe counter productive to growing out a healthy foot on a horse sensitive to grass that is high in sugar. Locking a horse up is responsible for so much colic, mental issues like cribbing, stall walking and weaving etc as well as is terrible for the hoof since if the horse isnt moving, he isnt strengthening his foot. We certainly don't lock them up if we can help it. In fact 24-7 turnout is strongly advised.... Scrubbier lower quality, rocky pasture is awesome for the horse to pick around at and condition the foot. Lots of movement is what allows the foot to build and strengthen its soft tissue which is the biggest problem in todays horses feet overall. Weak feet from lack of movement, overtrimming, thrush etc.

Anyway...I just wanted to make a quick comment there as the idea presented is completely incorrect for most people who "do" barefoot. And, if you want to say that a horse isnt barefoot because he may wear hoof boots for an hour every other day during a ride, well, you are entitled to your opinion..
I have to say tho, its a far cry from wearing an iron shoe 24-7. The horse is barefoot all of the hours and using his foot properly except the one he is ridden.... and it is very obvious in the development of his foot. As a trimmer, I KNOW the occasionally booted horse is nowhere near the same as a shod horse who cannot remove his shoes daily. He is indeed bare for all intents and purposes. Protection for riding is just good stewardship but it doesnt change the fact that he isnt wearing a nailed on peice of iron.

FYI, Im not anti shoe...Just more...anti metal shoe really. I prefer barefoot, but I protect when needed. I like the poly shoes on the market pretty well if I needed a more permanent protection than a boot. You can also nail them to hoof casting. There are alot of options out there now so we do not have to be stuck to the ancient metal shoe anymore unless there is a real need for its rigidity.
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