To shoe or not to shoe?

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To shoe or not to shoe?

This is a discussion on To shoe or not to shoe? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        10-06-2008, 02:04 AM
    To shoe or not to shoe?

    I've had my gelding for 7 months now and during that time he has been barefoot, and for at least 9 months before I got him as well. He has been fine on gravel, dirt, bitumen (sp?) anything, and i've taken him to Pony Club twice (where there's lots of gravel) and he's been fine.
    However... he had his feet trimmed on Saturday, and on Sunday I took him to Pony Club and he was REALLY footsore, I only rode him for about 40 mins on grass at mostly a walk and he went from just being a bit tender to almost limping. My instructor told me to put shoes on him, but I very much would like to keep him barefoot as I think it's better for them and more natural.
    If shoeings what's best for him that's what I'll do, but are there any other options, such as boots like Old Mac's?
    I'm going to rest him for a week or 2 and see how he goes, him feet might toughen up, but if they don't is there any alternative to shoeing?
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        10-06-2008, 02:36 AM
    Green Broke
    Hmmm maybe he's just extra sensitive since it was only a day after he got a trim??? I rode a mare that was ultra sensitive on gravel and especially after she got a trim. Sorry I don't have any advice :(
        10-06-2008, 03:38 AM
    We had the EXACT same problem with some of our horses.

    Our solution: We told our farrier what happened and asked him if he could not trim quite so much off of the hooves next time. This worked for us and we just gently remind the farrier everytime he comes. He's not a barefoot farrier and I think he tends to trim hooves like he would to shoe them. Occasionally we'll still have a horse that's sore for 1-3 days after being trimmed but that's fairly rare.
    In the meantime before your horse's next trim, you'll just have to wait for his hooves to grow out again until he stops being sore again. The benefit of shoes is, you don't have to wait for his hooves to grow.
        10-06-2008, 09:52 PM
    It could be that your farrier took some of her toe callus off too. Many do. As Sempre suggested, a polite request not to trim too much and not to touch the front of his sole may help in future trims.
        10-07-2008, 11:01 PM
    Green Broke
    I've seen this with farriers taking off too much sole at the toe or trimming too much off the heels, too. As others said, a polite conversation with your farrier would be a good idea.
        10-07-2008, 11:06 PM
    Originally Posted by northernmama    
    It could be that your farrier took some of her toe callus off too. Many do. As Sempre suggested, a polite request not to trim too much and not to touch the front of his sole may help in future trims.
    Ditto to what nothernmama said. Sounds like the carrier took off some of the callus.

    I personally perfer to keep a horse barefoot....but some horses absolutely need shoes.
    If this sensitivity was a one time thing, then it's probably something the farrier did wrong
        10-08-2008, 03:40 AM
    It's hard to say why your guy went sore on you. It might just be he bruised himself. Hope it's not signs to something more serious. If you haven't been shoeing your horse at all and this is sudden, its likely he might have simply hurt himself. I would seriously think the decision thru before putting shoes on him. Keep in mind winter is just around the corner, and I don't know about where you are but here snow isnt far away.

    Whether or not I have put shoes on my horses has always been horse specific. Some required them, others didnt. Some had them only on the front, others on all 4. My Canadian I doubt will get shoes only because of his breed, his feet are as good as they come. Always been known to have great feet. My mare on the other hand I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep shoes on her once I get her started into training.

    I would give some time off to your guy and see what he tells you.
        10-08-2008, 10:42 AM
    I have a couple questions. Because I had the exact thing happen to me... (my horses are barefoot too. They came with no shoes for about 1-1/2 years and then they have been barefoot trimmed for the year I have had them.)

    1) Are you keeping your trims at relatively equal intervals (every 6-8 weeks) or have you let more time laps between trims.

    I couldn't get on time with a trim( I was on Vacation & Trimmer was too.) and I'll be dipped if Dumas didn't come up lame on his right front 3 days after the trim. It wasn't bad but he was in fact hurt and ouchie for 2 weeks ( I believe it was a minor stone bruise...he didn't absess) His feet had gotten quite long.. It was almost 11 weeks between trims....My fault...not the trim.

    2) Are you using a certified trimmer? Barefoot has become a "fad" to some farriers wanting to make a quick buck...I suggest making sure you're getting an actual barefoot trim. It can make all the difference in the world.

    I would invest in a good set of boots. They are pricey but when you gotta have 'em you gotta have 'em!!!! And they will last a VERY long time.

    Since your horse was OK before I'd say it was just not a great trim this time. Talk to your trimmer and see what's up. I can call my gal and she's more than happy to help me over the phone if she can or come back out if she needs to.
        10-08-2008, 04:54 PM
    Good suggestions so far...just want to say that yes, boots are an alternative for shoes, esp if your farrier just made an odd mistake and they are handy to have in other minor emergencies.

    Another thing to consider is that sometimes too much callous is left ON and bulges above the hoof wall (very rare that it happens with farriers, but more common with barefoot trimmers (green ones esp.) ) . If it bulges, it can bruise or just be a tad sensitive. Most of the time it will pack down before it causes a problem, but a very careful retouch by the trimmer can fix it.

    Also, horses are amazing at figuring out how to come up lame at the worst times. It could be a coincidence that had nothing to do with the trim.

    In any case, you asked about boots...I would recommend getting a pair for the fronts. You never know when you will suddenly decide to ride a lot farther than usual or over harsher terrain than your horse is used to. Boots enable you to do that without a hitch.
        10-09-2008, 06:29 AM
    Thanks for all the replies!
    It's been a few days now and he seems to be better as he was running back and forth at feed time like his usual silly self :roll:, but i'l leave it a few more days and then see.

    M2G, im in Australia so it's summer coming up for us. Yay!

    Dumas in answer to your Qs
    1. Yes it had been a while since his last trim, as I haven't been riding alot and his feet were fine up until a couple of weeks ago when I noticed they were quite long, so we organised for the farrier to come, but due to various reasons he couldn't make it out until 2 weeks later
    2. I don't believe that the farrier was a barefoot trimmer, but the lady on whose property I agist organised it for my 2 and her pony so I don't know. Iim moving them to a different property this weekend, and so will organise my own farrier from now on

    I will likely get some boots for him (once I have more money, vet bills have wiped me out for the next week), but at the moment im thinking i'l keep him barefoot.
    My instructer at Pony Club was, ah... suggesting, rather strongly, that I put shoes on him, but he has good feet, at least to my eyes, and I think he can handle being barefoot, but I might receive some disapproving comments next time I go. Oh well.
    I'll take some photos of his feet and post them, just so you can see the length / shape of his feet etc. and I'll keep you updated!

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