Shoes vs no shoes - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-31-2012, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Thunder Hoc View Post
I should have mentioned before that he is also sore on hard terrain, rocks, dirt roads etc, I'v ridden him cement before and he seemed to do fine but everything else that's hard and relatiively uneven he get uncomfortable. mostly on his front feet, never seems to have to much trouble with his back feet.
Horses carry the majority of their weight on their front end, which is why they may need front shoes and not rear ones.

My TB wears front shoes because otherwise he's gimpy on hard surfaces. He doesn't need them on his back feet.

You shoe or not depending on the horse, not what someone who isn't your farrier tells you.

Mustangs 'do fine' without shoes because one, nobody rides them, and two, those with bad feet die early on in their lives. You can't compare a feral, unridden horse with one who is expected to carry the weight of tack and a rider, and asked to do extreme physically challenging disciplines.
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post #12 of 26 Old 12-31-2012, 01:37 PM
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Having a competent trimmer or farrier is more important than whether or not you choose to shoe IMO. However, there are a surprising number of them out there that aren't doing a great job on horses, barefoot or shod. If what you're doing is working, then there's no need to change it. Most horses will be sore over hard terrain if they spend a majority of their time in soft paddocks, stalls, and arenas. Hoof boots can be a very good solution for those situations.

Originally Posted by Ray MacDonald View Post
Actually white hooves are softer than black hooves. Doesn't mean they will chip or crack more easily, just a softer tissue.

One of the foremost experts in his field, Doug Butler, Ph.D., of LaPorte, Colo., is the author of The Principles of Horseshoeing, one of the most widely used texts on horseshoeing in the world. He also has 30 years of teaching experience and acts as a consultant and lecturer on horseshoeing. In 1976 while doing research at Cornell University, he conducted a study on white versus black hooves by taking squares of hoof material and crushing them in a compressor.

"There was no difference between black and white," he agrees. "The main difference was in moisture content: The softer hooves fell apart easier." He notes that genetics also play a role in hoof strength. "Some Paint Horses have extremely brittle white hooves and others donít. Appaloosas seem to have extremely strong feet, no matter what color; genetic propensity seems to be more important than the color of the hoof.
(Whole article)
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post #13 of 26 Old 12-31-2012, 02:03 PM
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Hmm, makes me wonder if maybe white tissue holds more moisture than black, hence creating the myth that white is softer than black.

I have noticed a difference on my horses that their white hooves tend to be easier to trim/rasp than their dark hooves, but I'm no scientist, so I don't know why that might be.

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post #14 of 26 Old 12-31-2012, 02:52 PM
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Blue Thunder - your horse may be sensitive on uneven hard ground because he is not used to it. If his paddock is grassy or sandy, he doesn't spend much time on gravel, so he doesn't have much callous built up on his sole. If his feet are otherwise healthy, and he has no difficulty in the arenas then I would also opt for the hoof boots. It's protection that doesn't damage the hoof wall and you can apply/remove as needed.

You mentioned that he wasn't maintained properly before you got him and he still "doesn't have terrific feet." Maybe some fresh eyes on your farrier's work would be helpful? Or maybe there is something you could add to his diet to help? eg. biotin and minerals. Maybe more frequent farrier visits? Could be a million different things, but if you aren't happy with his feet, the first thing I would be doing is getting his feet as healthy as possible and then determining if shoes are in order.
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post #15 of 26 Old 01-01-2013, 01:58 PM
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There is also the plastic glue on shoe, but they are not very common.

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #16 of 26 Old 01-01-2013, 02:05 PM
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I know a lot of people have said that shoes reduce the shock the hoof receives in high impact sports like jumping or barrel racing, and they are probably right, but I think shoes are more important for a solid footing (I have them on my "not so sure-footed" eventer;). My mare was barefoot for five years, and last summer, she severely bruised the frog in both of her front feet, so we had shoes put on her. However, the overall condition of her hooves deteriorated, and we had to take them off after several weeks. That's not to say shoes are bad for a horse -- they certainly have their place, and some horses just flat out need them -- but I think that if you don't have a specific and pin-pointed reason for putting them on, I'd try to stay away from them. I know there are some boots to put on there that absorb the shock, maybe try some of those? (Although they seem fairly expensive) But I don't know your horse, so that's just my opinion! Good luck!!:)

Last edited by madeline97; 01-01-2013 at 02:11 PM.
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-01-2013, 02:12 PM
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My guy was sore over gravel even after several months of regular work and living in a rocky pasture. On arena footing or sand he was fine though. Once I put shoes on all around, he's happy to trot down the gravel trail rather than ouching and gimping down it at a walk, and since we go down that trail once or twice a week, every week, for him shoes are necessary. If we were to move somewhere where gravel wasn't part of our daily life, or he wasn't sore on it, I'd leave him barefoot.

In short, sometimes shoes (or boots) do help. But only if there's an issue that might be helped and a competent farrier involved.
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post #18 of 26 Old 01-02-2013, 10:47 PM
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My opinion is keep him barefoot and buy some hoof boots with extra traction instead. They are expensive to buy, but wayyyyy cheaper than shoes in the long run! Plus, shoes cause a lot of problems to the hoof.
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-03-2013, 10:38 PM
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My horses are kept barefoot and trimmed by a barefoot specialist who is a Natural Horseman...he's in the process of perfecting a polyurethane shoe for horses in need of shoeing...particularly those who have foundered or who have particularly uneven feet or really bad cracks that need support. Polyurethane will flex and absorb shock more like the natural hoof does whereas iron shoes are stiffer and tend to transfer the shock to the hoof and leg. If the horse is okay without being shod, don't shoe...just what my farrier recommends. Or get a second opinion from someone else's recommended expert or a vet school.
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post #20 of 26 Old 01-03-2013, 10:45 PM
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You HAVE to have a competent farrier and a good balanced trim or barefoot wont work for ANY horse.

Do you have photos of your horses feet that you could post?

As someone already stated, white feet don't = soft feet. The pigment has nothing to do with hoof growth and hardness.

I have recently learned about a product called Simmerdown. It has shown to greatly improve hoof growth and overall health. You can order it from SIMMERdown | Herbs for Horses

Correct nutrition can also make a HUGE difference in overall hoof health. What is your horses current diet?

Some horses can go barefoot from the start, some have to be correctly conditioned and some can never go barefoot. It all depends on the individual animal and their diet.

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