Originally Posted by speedy da fish
I am all for barefoot too. But if the horse needs shoes then give it shoes! For example my horse NEEDS shoes as his hooves grow odd and shoes keep him in check for longer.
It's all well and good keeping horses barefoot if you work them in fields and in the school but when you live in town like I do and have to ride out on the roads you need shoes. Road surface was designed for cars, not horses! And horse's are not designed for walking on tarmac.
We deliberately go for miles on paved roads with unshod horses. In my youth I use to ride into town regularly to see my girlfriend (I didn't have a car until I was 18). The feet need to be conditioned for hard surface and on pavement unshod feet have much better traction shod feet. A horses hoof can become very hard over time with the correct conditioning. The drawback is that the harder they get the more work it is to trim.
Ultimately mine end up with feet that I can only use a rasp on, because the hoof gets so hard a hoof knife isn't much use on it. So the knife becomes just a frog and bar timmer (when needed). They never get long enough to require nippers if you're out on them regularly.
But you do have to have them out regularly. It's what gets the feet hard and keeps them hard.
Of course Gordon Naysmith already proved all that back in the 70's when he rode from southern Africa to central Europe unshod. Although back then even he followed the old myth about a dark hoof being harder than a whilte one. Of course just like today he dealt with people telling him that he needed to shoe his horses and how terrible it would be for the horses if he didn't. Much like our old vet use to tell me in the 70's that if I didn't shoe my white QH mare she was going to end up lame, because her feet were soft (white hoof mindset
) and I rode on pavement to much. It took many years for him to stop and only because our horses continued to be the only ones that never had foot issues, unless we got a new horse that was having difficulty being unshod for the first time after being shod for years. In those cases he would preach that the horse needed to be shod to avoid being lame (even pointing out that one might have to be put down if not shod). At least until the horse was doing fine unshod
. I don't think he ever got over our horses never breaking down with all the miles we rode on pavement.
He was good vet and took great care of all our livestock (just happen to be in lock step with the old Europeean ideas about horses being shod). I missed having him around when I moved back to this area.