to start natural hoof trimming or not - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 27 Old 02-29-2012, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Smile to start natural hoof trimming or not

I've always had a farrier come trim and put shoes on the horses and take them off for winter, but now that iam done school, and got into horses again,and I've read and heard about natural horse trimming, iam unsure what to do. I have a couple of 9 month old fillies here and iam thinking natural....or should I stick to normal trimming?
They have not yet had thier feet trimmed.
Suggestions?
Pros , cons......?

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post #2 of 27 Old 02-29-2012, 06:07 PM
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To shoe or not to shoe is always one of those topics where everybody has tons of different opinions, so prepare yourself. Haha

Anyway, I'm thinking that the general consensus will be that since your girls are only 9 months, they should be trimmed (no shoes) until they get into work. Then, opinions will divide.

Personally, I like keeping horses barefoot. I can definitely see that there are times and places where shoes are probably appropriate (when the horse is wearing hoof off faster than hoof is growing, reining, etc) but I think the average horse will do just fine, or better than fine, barefoot.

My 27 year old mare has been barefoot her entire life and she's the soundest horse I know. She's never had a lame day in the time I've had her and we regularly ride on gravel/cement/asphalt/etc.

Barefoot is also generally cheaper which I really like since it leaves me with more money for other things.

The key to going barefoot, to my way of thinking, is to have a really good barefoot trimmer. Often times (at least around here) a farrier will say "oh yeah! I can trim your horse without shoes!" but a pasture trim (a trim where shoes could be put on or left off) is different than a barefoot trim (the hoof is shaped a bit differently and I don't think a shoe could be put on it but I'm not sure...). Some farriers know the difference between a pasture trim and a barefoot trim but in my area, farriers like that are non-existent. I had to go find a "barefoot trimmer", who never does shoes, to get a real barefoot trim.
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post #3 of 27 Old 02-29-2012, 07:43 PM
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At 9 months old bare foot is the way to go. I have to shoe my horses come riding season there feet wear faster then they grow. Wish I could go bare foot all the time would sure save money.
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post #4 of 27 Old 02-29-2012, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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well I wasn't planning on shoeing her now, but I just don't know if normal trimming or go for natural "wild horse" hoof trimming and start now, so by the time I ride its good to go. As I heard that if you have always shod your horse and then decide to go the natural way, it takes a good 6 months to a year depending on the horse before they get used to it, and can be shown and ridden....sound right.... so if I start now.... but is it the same if you go natural and then decide to shoe the horse later on, cause the hooves just need shoes....would you have to wait for the hoof to "grow out" of the natural trimming?

Wallaby I agree with you on if I can keep her barefoot I think that would be the best to go, and if she turns out to have great "tough" feet, id love to keep her that way. :)
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post #5 of 27 Old 02-29-2012, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pastrychef View Post
well I wasn't planning on shoeing her now, but I just don't know if normal trimming or go for natural "wild horse" hoof trimming and start now, so by the time I ride its good to go. As I heard that if you have always shod your horse and then decide to go the natural way, it takes a good 6 months to a year depending on the horse before they get used to it, and can be shown and ridden....sound right.... so if I start now.... but is it the same if you go natural and then decide to shoe the horse later on, cause the hooves just need shoes....would you have to wait for the hoof to "grow out" of the natural trimming?
If I were in your shoes and I had those options, I'd go for the "wild horse trimming" now to get her started off right. You can always switch to "normal" farriery and shoes later on, if need be.
I think using a qualified barefoot trimmer now will only set you up for success in the future, no matter what you choose to do later on. :)

About switching from shoes to barefoot later on, it really all depends on the horse for how well they'll adjust. Some horses are adjusted immediately and others need months to years before they really adjust. A member on here, MyBoyPuck, went barefoot with her middle-aged(?) OTTB who had been shod since he was basically a baby (if I'm remembering the facts right) and I think I remember reading that he's pretty much 100% adjusted only 4-5 months since his shoes came off. I was impressed about how short of a time he recovered because he had been shod for SO long!
I can also say that about a year after I got my mare, my BO had a set of 4 shoes put on my mare. She was shod for probably 5 months but as soon as the shoes came off, you would never have guessed that she even had had shoes on. I rode her the next day without any missteps or "off"-ness.
For horses that need extra support, hoof boots are a major plus. They encourage a strong barefoot hoof while protecting the hoof from any "ouchies" that might be occurring during the transition (like for a horse that's been shod and is transitioning to barefoot or for a horse that can go barefoot but is ridden over really tough terrain, etc).

I'm not 100% but I think you probably wouldn't have to wait long for the hoof to grow out enough to be shod. Basically, I think it's because the barefoot trim rounds the hoof a lot more while a hoof that's to be shod has more of a square edge. However, I'm really not knowledgeable about that so I could be wrong.
Hopefully someone who really knows things will come along since I only kind of know about this stuff.

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Last edited by Wallaby; 02-29-2012 at 08:39 PM.
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post #6 of 27 Old 02-29-2012, 08:53 PM
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I think it's important to do as much research as you can, learn the principles behind the practices & then you're better able to mak an informed, objective decision. Hopefully the links in my signature will help you get started.

Re your 9mo filly, if she hasn't had her feet done yet, they're likely in dire need & I think it's extra important to keep youngsters well maintained, to avoid problems later. Therefore, I wouldn't wait until you've done your research before attending to her, but while there are generally a couple of minor differences between 'normal' *good* farriers & *good* 'barefoot' trimmers, it shouldn't make much difference who you use so long as they're knowledgeable & skilled at what they're doing. Balance is of primary importance IMO & any *good* trimmer, whatever their ilk should be able to do that.
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post #7 of 27 Old 02-29-2012, 09:27 PM
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Loosie's right about trimming your 9 month old whether you're going to add a shoe or not. One thing I've learned during my own horse's barefoot transition is, a good trim is paramount regardless of which way you go. I believe a horse's coffin bone grows/develops up until the age of two, and after that what you have is what you have. If you stick a shoe on there prior to age two, you may ****** that development.

As Wallaby said, I did recently transition my 9 year old OTTB. He'd been wearing shoes since he was a yearling. While he is way ahead of the curve in terms of his transition time, all the right factors were present and I think we did a lot of things right which sped things along.

That all being said, I'd rather he had been barefoot to begin with rather than have to go through all this healing process. You'll have a stronger hoof and a healthier sound horse overall since most "leg" problems start in an unblanced hoof. Until a horse shows a bonafide need for shoes, I would stay barefoot.
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post #8 of 27 Old 03-01-2012, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
Until a horse shows a bonafide need for shoes, I would stay barefoot.
I don't imagine OP was even considering shoeing the baby at this age, but it's good to understand the pros AND cons of different approaches such as this question, before the need arises. My personal opinion is that the vast majority of cases where people feel a 'bonafide need for shoes' is that generally these are the horses most in need of rehabilitating.

While the pedal bone may be pretty much developed by 2yo(can't remember about the palmer processes), Dr Bowker's & other's evidence suggests that(even in ideal situations) horses don't *begin* to develop their caudal hoof strength(fibrocartilage in digital cushions, etc) until around age 4yo, so I would be inclined to avoid shoeing a horse that needs them until around 6yo at least. As their spine & hocks aren't fully mature until around that age, I wouldn't start working a horse hard until around then anyway.
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post #9 of 27 Old 03-01-2012, 07:52 AM
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I have someone come in and do Ceilidh's feet and she is all about natural "wild" feet and NO shoes. My friend has been using her for almost a year now and her horse's feet are great and solved many problems she had with him.

I like the natural no shoes and I will probably put shoes on her for show season.

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post #10 of 27 Old 03-01-2012, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Loosie, ....Ive had horses for years,always had shoes and know when they need it trimmed, and feet done ... so I do plan on trimming her feet , as that's why iam asking anout the natural trimming. She is in no dire need thou. She needs a tiny...trim, as of right now.....very tiny.... but I just wanted to see and ask questions

Which leads me to say with everyones comments so far, I was leaning towards it, but now I've tipped over :) and I think I will go that way. As wallaby said

If I were in your shoes and I had those options, I'd go for the "wild horse trimming" now to get her started off right. You can always switch to "normal" farriery and shoes later on, if need be.
I think using a qualified barefoot trimmer now will only set you up for success in the future, no matter what you choose to do later on. :)

Capercowgirl.... natural horse trimming is trying to avoid putting shoes on at all even for shoeing unless they actually need it. If your horse is getting the actual "natural wild horse" trim, try going without shoes,...at all, I wouldn't put them on for a show unless you had to.

I do know of just 1 natural trimmer, ill contact her.....and also check and see if there are any more in the area.

Thanks everyone

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