Shoes Vs. No Shoes in the Winter...
Its my first year of actually owning my very own horse, and i was wondering about whether or not I should keep her shoes on or have them taken off?:? She had shoes on the front all summer when I was showing and now that show season is over, I'm just riding in the arena and some light trail riding. But I'm scared if i take her shoes off that her feet will chip. And living in North Idaho, We tend to get a butt load of snow! She has cracked feet, though they aren't cracked to her cornet band. I was told it was just because her last owner didn't keep up on her feet! Helpppp!
I am interested in seeing the replies. The general practice at my barn (in snowy New England) is to have the shoes off when the riding comes to an end for the winter, and to let the horses go barefoot through the season. I believe the farrier still comes to do trims and stuff.
I think it depends on the use of the horse. I remove my shoes so I don't have the extra worry of ice building up excessively on their hooves.
I remove shoes around this time of year ( I actually did it early this year as we're done with heavy trail riding now) unless the horse has bad feet. With Excel and Molly, I leave shoes on but put snow studs on.
Both of mine go barefoot all year long.
I go barefoot year round. I would definatley take off the shoes, and I would reccomend year round :-) . Lots of horses do just fine doing the stuff so called hard on their hooves, jumping, dressage, uneven trail riding just fine without shoes- and often better! If you ride your horse on rocky ground, and they have soft feet, I would recommend easyboots, or a some other hoof boot. They protect the hoof from the ground, and isnt as limiting to the hoof as shoes are. And, with about after two trimmings, you will start saving money (if you by hoof boots). Great article:
Oh, and snow doesnt really compact in barefoot hooves!
In your case I would go no shoes, and buy a set of front boots and use for the few times you go on a rocky trail ride.
Mine gets shoed all winter, but I am in VA, and I ride mine way more in the winter than summer,
My family has never had a shod horse in my memory and never had any foot problems. Of course I can only speak from the last 40 years, since I was living in Germany before that. But to this day I've never had a shod horse (although I rode some in Germany). Back in the 70's after going 4 years of hearing my vet tell me I was going to have trouble with my horses feet he finally admitted that my horse's feet were fine and healthy. although he couldn't understand why, because I road them on the road and everywhere.
Over 30 years after he said that (and with new horses...the others having long since passed away) we can still claim to have not had any foot problems with our unshod horses.
Of course everyone has to make their own choice about what to do with their own horse. I just know that no horse of mine has ever slipped on the road (unshod hoofs get better road traction) or had any of shoe related problems that some of my other horse riding friends who shoe theirs. And when I would do long distance riding I never had to worry about throwing one :)) Not many people do long distance riding though, so that's not generally a problem they worry about. :))
I'm still waiting though, because I have people who still insist that I'm going to have problems. None of the vets tell me that anymore though :)) Apparently there has been a transition in the riding world and more people are going unshod, so I guess my grandfather and some of the old timers from my youth were either ahead of their time or people just forgot what the old timers had known from experience.
I'm just about to pull my horse's shoes for the first time ever. It might be a big mistake, but if that turns out to be the case, I'll just throw shoes back on. Only one way to find out. I want to try shoeless for the increased circulation in the legs it provides. I've seen plenty of shoeless horses at my local shows, so I know it's not a problem for low level eventing. It's definitely a matter of personal preference.
There are plenty of horses that go barefoot but there are many who can not for whatever reason. My daughter uses her horse during riding season and wears the shoes paper thin. My own horse doesn't need them but... saying that not all horses can be barefoot. Just like some people need orthopedic shoes to walk so do some horses need help. It would be unreal of us to believe otherwise.
In this case again, I would suggest to you that you remove your shoes for the winter months and if you want or feel the need to use shoes during the riding season than so be it. Your choice!
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