Opinion on if I should keep or pull my horses hind shoes
I have a 13 year old TB/Warmblood, Hunter type gelding. Although he is a cross he looks 100% TB and EVERYONE thinks he is a OTTB. Anyways, I purchased him just over a year ago as a three foot hunter/jumper. He had regular shoes all the way around and was very muscled up, as he had been ridden 6x a week, for over an hour.. a very heavily ridden horse. College started and I switched barns and basically equine life styles, instead of being a 3 foot hunter, he is basically my pet. I ride him a few days a week, nothing extensive or hard, and not really any consistent high jumping. He moves very well and has nice movement, he doesn’t move under himself as much as he could and seems to be a little stiff in his back end. He doesn’t like to stretch his legs back when you pick up his feet and cant balance on 3 legs very well if at all ( for example having one foot lifted for over a minute for the farrier is difficult). He often times slips in the hind end and trips, I was told he has four shoes because his back end is weak and they put back shoes to “support him”, although they are just regular shoes so I don’t know if they do anything extra. Anyways, I come from show barns where everyone shoes there horses all around, too a place where shoes are VERY UNCOMMON. I am wondering if I should pull my horses back shoes to save money and the foot, or leave them on. I am afraid if I pull them he wont move as nice, or be more reluctant to move under himself. I also want to be able to ride various terrain and not have to worry about sore feet or any of that. I was wondering anyone’s feedback on this? What would you do? Right now with school I am really only riding 2 or 3x a week…
I did speak with my farrier and he seems indifferent, he said I could take them off and see how it goes, or I could leave them on. He has good hind feet, but I dont want to ruin them by taking the shoes off..
Talk with your farrier about it. I have a TB who wears only front shoes.
When JJ came to me, he had shoes all the way around. Since he's not ridden as much as I'd like, my farrier said he could take off the back two shoes and it wouldn't make any difference. The two fronts needed to stay on though, since horses carry the majority of their weight in the front, and he doesn't have the greatest feet.
As for not 'moving nice', it doesn't sound like he is anyway. Shoes shouldn't make him less reluctant to 'move under himself'... assuming he can do that at all anyway.
Riding on various terrain... depends on many factors, esp on environment & terrain the horse lives as to whether they need hoof protection &/or support in some situations at least. Most horses will need some protection on rocky trails for eg. Conventional metal rims provide little if any(depends on terrain) protection & no support to the underside of a horse's foot. These days there are many different types of hoof boot, that mean there is something suitable for almost any horse in just about any situation. They are also generally more economical, only needing to be used when extra protection is required, rather than 24/7, needing to be redone 6 weekly.
I am not dead against shoes, but IMO removing them will not damage feet(except in rare exceptions), however keeping a horse shod long term without respite does. At any rate, you will need to do your homework, learn the principles & factors that affect hoof health & function, learn the pros & cons of various approaches and ideas, and make up your own mind about what's best for your boy &/or you. The links in my signature will hopefully help you get started on that.
let me try to clarify.
When I purchased the horse I was told they placed back shoes to "give him more support", He moves nicely as he has nice movement and very floaty, however he does not stay in a frame and would rather just prance around then rock back and get his power from behind.
I have shoes on because I feel like if he needs them he has them, if not they cant hurt. If I can save money and take them off without him needing them and put the money into something else such as extra chiro visits then I think that would be more beneficial, but I am just wondering how much he is actually getting out of hind shoes.. I have never been told I NEED them, but I want them if they do even a little good.
and I mentioned they are regular simple shoes to emphasize how they are not anything special to protect him from rough terrain or give him more weight or anything like that...
Thank you for your response!
As someone who just did this with a TB two months ago, here's my 2 cents. I pulled my horse's hind shoes for some of the same reasons you are mentioning. My horse was short strided in back, stiff, couldn't step under himself to save his life. I pulled the shoes hoping the added circulation and letting the hoof do what it needs to do would fix that. In a nutshell...it did just that. Just today I was riding with a woman who hasn't seen my horse move since before we pulled the shoes. She commented how much better he was moving now and how she's never seen him track up before. I wasn't sure it was not just wishful thinking on my part that his gaits were improved, and now I know for sure.
The downside is, if you're in winter right now, and in a cold climate, this is a bad time to do it. The rock hard frozen ground would brutal to the feet while they try to adjust to the changes they will go through. While you could use hoof boots, they should only stay on about 8 hours at a stretch, so he probably would not want to move while they were off. The key for my horse was to keep him moving. Mine is out 24/7, so it was easier for me. Initially he didn't want to move at all, so I worked him up to it by hand walking him everyday on pavement and cement, which are the easiest surfaces for them. Once he was good there, we moved onto grass and the soft sand surfaces. These are a little harder for the horse since they are not even surfaces like the pavement. Finally come the gravely surfaces, rocks and stuff, which my horse is so-so on. Where I'm going with this is, if you wait until spring, his feet will be growing more quickly, the ground will be softer, and I'm sure you will be more motivated to help him through his transition by hand walking him everyday than you would in the dead of winter.
Basically, if you pull the shoes, it's not just a matter of doing it and leaving him to toughen up. You have to make the effort to keep him moving and out of pain via hoof boots. Like others said, he may or may not be able to do it. There's only one way to find out.
Yeah that is what I am thinking. I figure I could always put them back on if its not beneficial but I want to do what is best from the start, that is why I am trying to get feed back from real people with real horses instead of my farrier or barn owner who may be bias. I am taking into consideration the weather as I realize his feet may be tender. I am trying to look at the weather and when he is to get shod. My horse goes out 8 hours a day and hoof boots probably wouldnt work. I am definitally not going to pull the shoes on a week with hard frozen ground without snow. I am thinking waiting until there is soft fluffy snow, or until there is grass. I am also trying to think if I want my horse to have four steel shoes on ice, thats why I am trying to consider taking them off before ice. The weather where I live has been really mild with days being in the 40s and even 50s. I am wondering what you think about leaving him in the mud? Mud should be soft, but I don't know if its a good idea since its got so much bacteria and it essentially is mud...
Our paddocks were very muddy when I pulled my horse's shoes. He hated it and did not want to move at all, but that might have just been him.
Yeah my horse doesn't like walking around in the mud as it is, maybe ill just wait till spring when the ground is soft and grassy
Sounds like a good idea. Really can't go wrong in spring between soft ground and fast growing hooves.
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