Shoes or not

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Shoes or not

This is a discussion on Shoes or not within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    11-11-2011, 11:17 AM
Shoes or not

If your horses stay on dirt, should they be shooed?

Do shoes keep the hooves from chipping or splitting?
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    11-11-2011, 11:18 AM
This is a question for your farrier.

It depends entirely on the horse and its feet, whether or not it can go barefoot.

I have 3 horses, 2 of whom are barefoot and 1 who is shod in front. You do whatever is right and necessary for each particular horse.
Golden Horse likes this.
    11-11-2011, 12:02 PM
Green Broke
I prefer my horses to be barefoot. With a good farrier, most horses will do fine going barefoot. If you ride in swampy areas that have that thick gumbo dirt like I do, shoes will get sucked off pretty easily!
caseymyhorserocks likes this.
    11-11-2011, 12:23 PM
Do shoes help keep the hooves in good condition?
    11-11-2011, 01:13 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by kntry    
Do shoes help keep the hooves in good condition?
Not necessarily.
It really depends on the skill of the farrier (a bad farrier can really mess up a hoof while a good one can improve the health of a hoof), the horses hoof, trimming schedule, and a myriad of other things.

My mare is barefoot and her hooves are in really really good shape (we can even gallop on gravel with no ouchiness from her!) because her trimmer is pretty skilled. However, at the camp I work at during the summer, those horses are also barefoot and they can barely handle hard dirt due to the ineptitude of their farrier who literally hacks off any overgrown hoof and doesn't check angles and such.
The same goes for shoes - skillful application of shoes can be a lifesaver while shoddy work can make your life crazy harder for quite a while.
caseymyhorserocks likes this.
    11-11-2011, 02:44 PM
Nope. I am strictly against shoes. Your horse does not need shoes, especially when kept on just dirt.

Barefoot is way cheaper, typically $35-$45, but shoeing is typically about $75-$90 for a good trim! My friend pays $100 for only front shoes, and a trimming on hind feet. Also, with shoes they need to be replaced about every 4-6 weeks, but barefoot they can go 6-8 weeks, some even 10.

Shod horses can't feel the ground, which means that they are more prone to stumbling, which means they are more prone to injury.

Also, look at this picture:
This is a thermograph of a horse's hooves, three of them are barefoot, one is shod.This shows that a shod horse has virtually no circulation in his hoof, again meaning they are more prone to injury.

Also, there was a study done showing that barefoot horse trotting on pavement has three times less the impact of the a shod horse walking on pavement, again meaning that the barefoot horse is less prone to injury as they have less impact on their leg.

Here is a great website:
    11-11-2011, 08:17 PM
Wow, that is amazing. I had no idea shoes did that to a horse.

I was asking because our horses are barefoot and their hooves are peeling. We have a Draft that they charge almost $100 to put shoes on every 4 weeks! We put shoes on him 1 time and he's been barefoot since.
    11-11-2011, 08:39 PM
As with every other thing with horses, there is no right or wrong answer for this.

I have 11 horses and not one of them is shod, I'm lucky they all have good quality hooves, so far touch wood, etc etc, they have stayed sound, and we are all happy with it.


I will probably shoe Mr G next summer, at least on the front, because he does find it a little difficult riding on our gravel roads, and next year I want to use him to pony the others around.
Wallaby likes this.
    11-11-2011, 10:01 PM
If their hooves are peeling, they should probably get trimmed more often, or you could get a rasp, and ask your farrier if he/she would be willing to show you how to do a gentle trim to simply keep their hooves in good shape. You could also get them on a hoof supplement with Biotin in it.
    11-11-2011, 11:29 PM

I'm going to ask him about it tomorrow. I don't think they're being trimmed enough but since they aren't home, it's hard to keep track of it. They're about 30 minutes from our house so we seldom we to see them.

They're coming home tomorrow and I CAN'T WAIT!

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