To shoe or not to shoe....... - Page 7 - The Horse Forum
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post #61 of 66 Old 01-25-2010, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Mexico
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barefoot vs shod

I prefer barefoot and trail ride my horse barefoot. He has never had shoes on and I do not plan on putting any on. I think it is healthier for the horse's hooves long term to stay barefoot.

The combo of a well exectuted 'Mustang Roll', high end flax supplement and a good dose of quality hoof mosturizer applied frequently in the hot desert does the trick for my gelding. No more chips or soreness or trouble at all. And he is not blessed with genetically 'great hooves'.

Hoof boots are a great solution for rough terrain as well as other situations where hoof protection may be needed.

THAT BEING SAID, I think there are many variables as to what determines the best choice for YOUR horse. A one size fits all approach is not fair to the horse. Shoes may be the perfect solution for some horses!

Also, I had a 'natural trimmer' do the worst job ever and it took a long to time for his hooves to recover from it.

Then I found an awesome 'regular farrier' who saved the day. He still trims his hooves (every 5 weeks) and they look like a million bucks ~ so again, I do not think there there is a 'one size fits all' answer to the hoof question.
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post #62 of 66 Old 01-25-2010, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Boots are a good idea if you are the trail riding type. They will not work if you are actively training and showing though.
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post #63 of 66 Old 01-25-2010, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Taranaki New Zealand.
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For my horse it is preferable to have her shod rather than the problems she had been having. Since she has been shod I have noticed a much more free movement and a confidence on some of the tracks I have been riding on that was definitely lacking before. She is enjoying not having very sharp stones wedging up into her hoof wall, gashing out chunks and causing infections. Funny Horse!

I have heard of Strasser and his movement, a good friend of mine is an equine dentist. She ended up being involved in an SPCA rescue case when she went to do some teeth and the horse owner was a Strasser fundermentalist. The horses feet had been so severely trimmed that they could barely walk, she called the SPCA, who after investigation removed the horses and charged the owners for willful abuse. I believe one of the horses was put down it's feet were so crippled the other recovered. So not a big Strasser fan!

The other other thing that we have to consider as horse owners is the location of where we live as apposed to where horses originate. I know for a fact that no horses have evolved on the small land mass that is NZ. Our climate is moist, very high rainfall and often humid. The area I live in is very fertile with very soft soil. Our ground is never dry and hard for long periods of time all the animals that live here end up living in mud for a large part of the year. Horses evolved in naturally dryer, arid areas such as Mongolia and Eastern European steppes. They have evolved feet that chip and break naturally on stones and dry hard ground. Here in Taranaki we don't really have stones and dry hard ground so as a horse owner I do the best that I can for my horse in the circumstance that I live in.
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post #64 of 66 Old 01-26-2010, 07:23 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: ontario, canada
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Originally Posted by kiwigirl View Post
. So not a big Strasser fan!

A warning about the Strasser method.

I copied this off a google search. It is not mine

6 March 2001
Warning on DIY Footcare for Horses
An alternative method of footcare for horses, originating in Germany, is causing concern with a leading horse welfare charity, farriers and vets alike.
The Strasser Method, as practiced by Dr. Hiltrud Strasser, advocates that horses should not be shod and that, after a short 3-day course, owners are capable of trimming their own horse's feet.
The barefoot method falls within an overall philosophy of keeping horses as close to nature as possible by not stabling, clipping or rugging them, nor feeding supplements, administering painkilling drugs or using chemical wormers. It teaches that every horse, pony, or donkey should have its feet trimmed to exactly the same pattern, irrespective of breed, size or conformation. Says David Mountford MRCVS, Head of Operations at the ILPH (International League for the Protection of Horses), "Although some of the principles of the Strasser Method are sound, giving lay people a modicum of training and telling them to dispense with traditional veterinary and farriery methods will inevitably lead to very serious welfare problems. In our opinion it is a disaster waiting to happen."
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post #65 of 66 Old 01-26-2010, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RiosDad View Post
My old endurance horse is 25 and has not walked a single mile barefoot since he was 6 and has never been off a day lame in his life.
We also have a 34 year old endurance horse and again he hasn't been without shoes in the last 25 years and again he is totally sound.
That said my 4 year old new horse is barefoot.
When the wear exceeds the growth or the ground get icey on will go the shoes on my youngster. When things get too dry and we start running alot of road miles he will need the shoes for wear purposes.
Kiwigirl I think you did the right thing in shoing.
While I have been fortunate that my two horses have been able to go barefoot, over all types of terrain, I am not a die hard barefooter.

What is best for the individual horse must come first. Glad Phoenix is doing well, and I know it was a tough decision, not wanting to cause further discomfort or damage. But sounds like you made the right/best one for her.

Riosdad, while I am riding T without shoes, that may change in our future. The last few trail rides over gravel based trails took her hooves down to the point there was nothing to trim. Just cleaned up a bit. Never showed any tenderness, or lameness, but she is not producing the hoof growth she has in the past. Not sure if it is due to her age, or maybe a combination of that and the "challenge" she's experiencing with her immune system. The vet and I are trying to sort that part out.

So, I may get the hoof boots to use on those particular rides, and if that isn't satisfactory, I will discuss what is best for her with my very trusted farrier. He is also the one that use to shoe her, and when I brought her and Walka home, suggested no shoes. So he is very open to what is best for the individual horse and the riding that is being done. I like his open mindedness and willingness to discuss this. Shows he is very secure in his knowledge. He's also always willing to show me and explain every thing he is doing, and I'm not asking him to either.

So back to the "shoe or not to shoe" topic. I remember a saying my grandmother used for a number of things and it fits here.

"You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear". Interpretation, if the horse has bad hooves due to structure and conformation, do what's best for the horse. It may need shoes all it's life to be sound and comfortable. If you have a horse that has good hooves, count your blessings and go barefoot if that works well for your horse. It must be what is best for that horse, based on the reality of its hooves then.

Just my two cents.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
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post #66 of 66 Old 01-26-2010, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: ontario, canada
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We have been having a really mild winter and no snow to speak of and my guy is barefoot. This weekend we got heavy rains and what snow we had in the field melted and then refroze leaving nothing but ice. My guy went out yesterday morning but before noon he was pulled back in because he could walk, he just slid all over the place.
I shod him with for studded shoes and rim pads and today he is out running over the ice without a slip.
While I prefer to run barefoot traction requires shoing.
As soon as the ice/snow melts off will come the shoes until the hard dry summer forces me to run roads and then he will again require shoing.
I do what is needed to keep him safe and comfortable.
Being a farrier myself I can make these decisions anytime and act on them at no cost.
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