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This is a discussion on Shoes? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    02-11-2010, 11:53 AM

I didnt know where to put this.......
We just got a new farrier and he is awesome but we have never had a farrier mention that Phantom needed shoes. Is it common for older horses to need shoes, he's 21-22? I mean sometimes his feet splay a bit but not bad. I don't know if he has ever had shoes so I don't know how he will react, how did everyone elses' horses respond to having shoes first put on??
Sorry if this is a nonsense question....i've just never had to put shoes on my horses.
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    02-11-2010, 04:26 PM
If he's been without shoes all this time and is sound and healthy...then he doesn't need shoes. I'm not sure that any horse needs shoes. There are some farriers that will say that because it's extra money in their pocket. For 8 yrs I listened to my farriers when they told me my horse couldn't go w/o shoes. Finally I decided I would really like to try it and told them to take the shoes off. A year and a half later he's just fine w/o shoes and only needs hoof boots to go riding. Maybe if Phantom's feet are chipping or splaying hoof boots while riding would be more appropriate than permanent shoes.
    02-11-2010, 06:18 PM
Did you ask him why he thought he needed shoes? Maybe there is a valid reason. And if you think that his reason isn't good enough, call in a 2nd farrier and see what he says. If he says he's fine without then you know first one is just after money.
    02-11-2010, 07:39 PM
Green Broke
Get a second opinion. If he is sound and happy there is no reason to go nailing stuff to his feet.
    02-11-2010, 07:49 PM
In my opinion, few horses actually NEED shoes. Most horses would do better without them on, and if he's gone most of his life without shoes, and hasn't had recurring lameness issues, or abcesses or something, I think that he will continue to be fine without them. I listened to my trainers for years saying that most horses need shoes, and I thought it was weird to have a horse without shoes. I pulled my TB mares hind shoes after she tore her tendon, and she was absolutely fine. Never ended up putting them back on, and I would have pulled her front shoes too, but couldn't because of the injury. I will only put shoes on my Arab when I absolutely have to, which will be once I start jumping her on a regular basis. I agree about getting a second opinion, and seeing what the other person says. Either the farrier you have now is like others said just looking for some extra bucks, doesn't know what he's actually talking about, or is actually correct in thinking that your horse needs shoes. The only way to find out is to get a second opinion, and ask lots of why questions about him possibly needing shoes.
    02-12-2010, 09:45 AM
I would suggest a better trim to help get the flaring under control. Hooves chip and splay due to overgrowth and flaring. Amber Mohr's Barefoot Hoof Care go there and check out trim methods that keep this from happening.
    02-12-2010, 09:51 AM
No, older horses don't need shoes if they didn't need them for whole life. Unless something terrible wrong there. What is the reason he needs them? Does he wear out the hoofs or lame or something else? I agree, I'd get 2nd opinion about it before putting lots of money into shoes (plus it can be difficult in some cases to switch back to barefoot if you start shoeing).
    02-12-2010, 11:04 AM
Just like with elderly people, sometimes elderly horses need more support. Shoes can help keep a horses feet from splaying and cracking. There is nothing unhealthy or cruel about putting shoes on a horse of any age. Listen to the pro that has actually seen your horse. I have no idea if your horse needs shoes or not and niether does anyone else on this board. Farriers are generally not starving so much that they have to try to swindle you into putting shoes on your horse. They are much more concerned with making you happy with thier work as bad word of mouth can hurt thier business.

It really irritates me that you have gotten some diffinitive advice to go barefoot when you didn't even post photos of your horse. It could absolutely need shoes worse than any horse in history but some people have swallowed the barefoot trimming koolaid and they can't see any benefit to shoes. There are very few absolutes in life.
    02-12-2010, 11:26 AM
Kevin, with all my respect some farriers DO rip off. Because trim is $40. Shoes are $100+. Guy I used before kept telling me I need shoes on back feet and because back goes with front, I need shoes on all 4. My neighbor's TB had nice feet. When her farrier (with 0 experience and just the KY school under the belt) started trimming him he was getting worse and worse, now he shoe him to "prevent from cracks" (and front feet have cracks up to coronary band even with the shoes). I completely agree with the farrier who was an instructor in my class: "correct trim is the most important whether you shoe or not. Shoes will never help if the trim is bad in 1st place".

I'm NOT against the shoeing and there are situations when the horse absolutely needs it (whether it's young or old). With that being said I still think the OP better get 2nd opinion on old guy's feet before making the final decision.
    02-12-2010, 11:27 AM
^^ I agree with Kevin here.

My farrier actually tries to save me money. We down graded from bars and chose other solutions instead. He actually comes out for free to help me with things. He puts shoes back on for free if he was recently out for a reset.

Im no hoof expert so I trust my farrier with hooves more then I trust myself.

Kitten- some farriers do believe horses are more balances with four shoes on.

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