Shoes?..or not? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-16-2008, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Shoes?..or not?

I don't know if this has been asked before, (I checked quickly)
BUT, I wanted to get some thinking on when you shoe, why you don't and why

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post #2 of 16 Old 11-16-2008, 11:02 PM
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In the summer time, we keep all of our horses that we use shod. Because in the summer, we keep cattle in the pasture for a feedlot. The only reason we use shoes during this time is because we do a lot of work in the gravel roads and sometimes it is done at high speeds. Mostly we use shoes for a preventative measure. It helps to protect the hooves from the small rocks on the roads. Also most of the pastures we use have caprocks and areas of rocky ground. However, in the wintertime, we keep our horses barefoot because they are not being used very hard and it is better for traction on ice or snow. If you are just trail riding or pleasure riding, I would advise going barefoot. If your horse has hoof issues that need shoes or if you are using them hard on rocky or harsh land, then by all means, keep them in shoes. I guess what I'm trying to say is if your horse doesn't really need shoes, I would leave them barefoot. Just remember to keep them trimmed and shaped.

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post #3 of 16 Old 11-16-2008, 11:29 PM
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It totally depends on the horse--some can go barefoot and some can't. Arrow can't --he's shod all around April through November and goes barefoot for winter riding December through March. He wears his feet right off, including his toes, if he's barefoot in the summer.
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-16-2008, 11:36 PM
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I do not shoe. The only good farriers around here are so busy that they are unreliable should your horse lose a shoe. My Anglo Arabian gelding has rock hard feet and really doesn't need them. Since taking my mare barefoot, her feet have really improved. She's growing tougher foot faster than before, without any hoof supplements. She's still ouchy on rocks, but we're bringing in gravel in the next month or two to put in her pen. I'm hoping that will toughen up her feet. She's sound on hard dirt, pavement, pasture, arena, and trails that are only mildly rocky.

I'm trimming my horses myself, which has really strengthened our bond. Their ground manners are better than before, and I didn't think that was possible, lol. I'm using a Ramey style natural trim. I have an instructor come and check my work twice a year to make sure I'm on the right track. I've dealt with two abscesses and some moderate while line separation successfully on my own. It's been a very empowering experience! I highly recommend trimming yourself, but only if you can get some in-person experience & instruction first, from a long-time natural barefoot trimmer or an instructor.
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 12:09 AM
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We don't shoe. BO does hooves. He's letting me watch when he does them so that I can learn how to do hooves. I'm not convinced that I'll have the physical strength to do hooves but, man, is it interesting!

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post #6 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 01:01 AM
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Basically, we shoe for three reasons...

1. Protection... When wear begins to exceed growth; when the horse is dealing with a variety of terrains/environments, etc.
2. Traction... to assist in providing traction (on snow, pavement, jump courses, etc.) or to take traction away (as is often done with Reiners)
3. Gait alteration or enhancement... to alter or enhance a way of traveling; this can be "corrective" as when a horse is hitting himself or it can be "enhancing", as with a toe weight on an English shod Arab, etc.

If you can't justify shoeing for one of the above reasons, you're fine to go barefoot. In my farrier practice, about 60% of my client horses are barefoot, and about 99% of those who get shoes get them for reason #1... Most of these are performance/show horses that are being shown heavily.
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post #7 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 08:29 AM
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I do not shoe, and Sonny will remain barefoot unless something happens where he NEEDS them (like navicular or an injury that shoes are required)

I go barefoot because it's healthier for the hoof and the horse, they get better traction when barefoot compared to shoes (yes, believe it or not they do...especially on a wet slippery rock....I went out trail riding and my horse was the only barefoot horse, all the horses slid down the rock and mine, though he did slide a tiny little bit didn't slide all the way down), it helps the hoof expand more like it is supposed to when the horse moves, and is 100% better on the joints (shock absorption......metal does not absorb any of the shock causing strain on the joints....definately worse if you have studs on the shoes for winter time).

I was told by my vet that Sonny needed shoes in the summer or else he'd go lame. I was also told that by the lady I bought him from. My vet told me that he'd be sore if I rode him on gravel, and if I did a trail ride without shoes he'd turn up lame.
Well, never once put shoes on him....never once was he lame, done a whole lot of trail rides that cover ALOT of severly rocky ground, through creeks, and lameness.
Definately not all horses can go barefoot, some as Arrow said, wears their hooves down when barefoot, and that definately is bad for their hoof, so keeping the horse shod is the only way to protect the hoof.

But the easiest thing to say, is, if your horse CAN go barefoot, does not have any medicail problems that would require a shoe, then go barefoot.
It's cheaper also
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 09:11 AM
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It depends.. If your horse is going to be on concrete or gravel all the time then you should. If he's being ridden mostly on grass then it shouldn't be a problem for him to go barefoot. But you shouldn't wait on an ijury or lameness to get him shod though.
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 09:48 AM
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We keep our 2 Geldings barefoot year around. We also use a certified barefoot trimmer. I think that you should look for someone certified in barefoot triming instead of just having any old farrier simply pull off the shoes and trim the hoof. They are different types of trims.

Although I keep my horses barefoot for foot health and well, it's cheaper...We don't ride to the point where the horse is wearing off his hooves faster than he is growing them. Should we ever get to that point we will shoe the horses.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

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post #10 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 05:08 PM
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2 of my horses are currently barefoot. My mare has always had strong feet and I was told if I was really going to be riding her a lot etc, to shoe her, but I'm not.
My gelding Montana has shoes on all 4, then only had fronts, and then went barefoot (all before I owned him) I have taken him on trails ridden him quite a bit and he's been fine. I told my farrier about his past and he said if he was doing well barefoot, there was no need for shoes.

Gem is my only horse who is shod. He only has front shoes. He was barefoot for a while, but recently got shoes put on to help with a breakover and to help correct the very slight rotation of his coffin bone.
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