Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares View Post
If it was my new horse, I would make sure I had a good farrier, get his opinion, and see how the horse does barefoot for myself before jumping into boots or shoes.
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I will be calling around for farriers during the next week to get prices etc, including one barefoot trimmer. I might ask all of their opinions, like you say, keep him barefoot for a bit. He'l be spending at least the first few weeks just plodding around a paddock, so I don't think it'd do much damage.
Boots are only cost effective if you happen to buy the exact right size the first time. If not, you'll spend hundreds trying every different boot on the market.
If you already know he gets tenders on some surfaces, best to just give him the protection of shoes assuming you have a farrier who knows what he's doing. Mention the pulled shoe problem to him/her and see what they recommend. I use bell boots on my horse's fronts so he doesn't step off a shoe when he's out being a goofball.
Are bell boots something that can be left on them in the paddock?
It also depends on what you are doing with him. Boots don't work well for some events. For a lease horse, Id be more inclined to shoe if I wasnt familiar with boots just for reasons Puck mentioned. If I was familier with boots, They can be bought reasonable and cheap used from some of the used boot listings on Facebook and Yahoo.
Also, Im not a big fan or booting back feet. Id probably shoe them personally.
He's only for trail riding. I figure that, with the boots, I can just sell them whenever the lease ends. I also wasn't sure how booting the back feet would go, but they're the main ones that need protecting.
If he has thin, flat soles, shoes won't help him, but they will allow you to ride him where you want. He will need pads too to protect his soles if shod. Alternately, boots will actually protect his feet where/when necessary, he can be bare the rest of the time.
The others are right that boots aren't suitable for everything or every horse & depending on the conformation of his feet at the moment, you may need to get them in better shape before sizing him. As far as economics, boots tend to come out better in the long run, assuming the fit is right & they're suitable for what you want. Obviously if the horse has a habit of losing shoes, that's going to get more expensive. They're generally perfectly suitable for road riding, for eg & will also provide more grip than bare(way more than metal shoes) on bitumen & more shock absorbtion.
That's what I was thinking - boots would give the best in comfort and protection. I might look into seeing if I can get a boot to try... I know some suppliers do do that. The traction is another thing that I like. Some of the roads around here are a bit slippery, especially those that have been recently resurfaced.
I might ask a few farriers for their opinions and try to track down some suppliers of boots.. if I can get a 'sample' to try, then that will help with the whole fitting thing.