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Hoofprints in the Sand 07-09-2012 10:54 AM

Barefoot horse may need shoes - here's my dilemma...
 
I have an 11yo Paint mare who has ALWAYS been barefoot her whole life without issue. Never taken a lame step from it at all, and I ride and compete with her quite frequently (cross country and in arenas). I recently had to move barns due to financial reasons, and this new barn has all limestone arena footing. Unfortunately for the first time in her life, my mareís hooves are getting so chipped up and sheís not moving like she used to anymore :-| Iím going to talk to the farrier this week but she may need shoes because of the footing.

My dilemma is that I LOVE this barn, the people, the owner, everyone who works and boards there. I love the turnout, and the care they give to the horses. I love the facility and the trainer and basically everything about the place except the footing :? But if itís going to mean putting shoes on my horse, extra $100/month in farrier costs, etc. Iím not sure what to do now. Iím battling with myself because my mare has always had rock hard hooves and no issues whatsoever, but this footing is just too rough. Iíve heard several others have had to leave the barn for that same reason, but I always just kind of thought they were exaggerating or something.

I really donít want to leave, but I feel like if I stay and drill holes in her hooves and weaken them Iíd feel pretty guilty, just because I didnít want to leave I had to put shoes on her for the first time in her life. I rode her on grass at a show this weekend and felt like there was a different horse underneath me, so I know itís the footing unfortunately, that sealed it for me :-( So if you were in my shoes (pun intended ha!) what would you do?

And if I go the shoe route, I have a whole list of questions, like:

1. Aluminum vs Steel on the fronts Ė I know Aluminum is more $ and wears down faster, but some have told me not to put Steel on the fronts because it will change the horseís way of goingÖany experiences with either?

2. If I put the shoes on and then take them off later, will her hooves be crap because of them? Iíve heard both ways, some people I know put them on in the summer and remove for winter, but a friend of mine did that and said her mareís feet basically disintegrated after she took them off, so I donít know what to think :cry:

Hoofprints in the Sand 07-09-2012 10:58 AM

And wow, didn't realize how small that font came out...here it is again in a larger one so it's easier to read...
I have an 11yo Paint mare who has ALWAYS been barefoot her whole life without issue. Never taken a lame step from it at all, and I ride and compete with her quite frequently (cross country and in arenas). I recently had to move barns due to financial reasons, and this new barn has all limestone arena footing. Unfortunately for the first time in her life, my mareís hooves are getting so chipped up and sheís not moving like she used to anymore :neutral: Iím going to talk to the farrier this week but she may need shoes because of the footing.

My dilemma is that I LOVE this barn, the people, the owner, everyone who works and boards there. I love the turnout, and the care they give to the horses. I love the facility and the trainer and basically everything about the place except the footing :???: But if itís going to mean putting shoes on my horse, extra $100/month in farrier costs, etc. Iím not sure what to do now. Iím battling with myself because my mare has always had rock hard hooves and no issues whatsoever, but this footing is just too rough. Iíve heard several others have had to leave the barn for that same reason, but I always just kind of thought they were exaggerating or something.

I really donít want to leave, but I feel like if I stay and drill holes in her hooves and weaken them Iíd feel pretty guilty, just because I didnít want to leave I had to put shoes on her for the first time in her life. I rode her on grass at a show this weekend and felt like there was a different horse underneath me, so I know itís the footing unfortunately, that sealed it for me :sad: So if you were in my shoes (pun intended ha!) what would you do?

And if I go the shoe route, I have a whole list of questions, like:

1. Aluminum vs Steel on the fronts Ė I know Aluminum is more $ and wears down faster, but some have told me not to put Steel on the fronts because it will change the horseís way of goingÖany experiences with either?

2. If I put the shoes on and then take them off later, will her hooves be crap because of them? Iíve heard both ways, some people I know put them on in the summer and remove for winter, but a friend of mine did that and said her mareís feet basically disintegrated after she took them off, so I donít know what to think :cry:

BlueSpark 07-09-2012 11:23 AM

All the horses on the farm are barefoot as long as possible. One gelding has weak hooves and is shod all summer, but bare in the winter.

My arab has amazing feet, but I ride on sand and rocks a fair bit and i litteraly wear the feet off her in the summer, right down to sole. Her previous owner had her shod all year even when not ridden. I pulled her shoes this spring and have been riding barefoot up until next week, when she gets a set of shoes put on. I will shoe her untill the riding season slows down in september, then she will be barefoot again.

So I guess to answer your questions,

1) we've always done steel, except on the race horses. I've never seen it "change the way of going", they adapt to the extra weight easily. Kinda like a person putting on sneakers.
2) We do crazy miles on terrain most people wont ride in. We need shoes on our horses in the summer, but typically 9 months out of the year they are barefoot, no problems at all. Also half of the horses on the farm are ottb's, which are known for having terrible feet. We get them off the track, pull their shoes and give them a few weeks to get used to it and off we go. Havent had a horse that doesnt transition well from shod in the summer to barefoot in the winter in the last 10 years.

Hoofprints in the Sand 07-09-2012 12:03 PM

Thanks for that, makes me feel better about at least giving them a try knowing she'd be able to go back without trouble :-) I've been talking with a friend this morning who is an apprentice under her farrier and she gave me the same advice you just did.
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aforred 07-09-2012 12:09 PM

If your horse's hoof quality is good, putting shoes on won't change that. You can generally get by shoeing every six weeks versus trimming every four. I don't know whay farriers charge in your area, but mine charges 40 for a trim and 80 for shoes. He charges less if I have him reset shoes, and more if one of the horses needs a specialized shoe.

Personally, if I was in your situation, I wouldn't hesitate to shoe a horse. It can be difficult to find a good barn. If the only issue you have is the footing, I think trying shoes on her might be the way to go. If it doesn't work out for you, you can always move later.
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GreenBackJack 07-09-2012 12:28 PM

You don't say how long she's been at this barn. What I'm wondering is if you've given her enough time to adjust? Since she's had great feet all her life and you've ridden her in a lot of different terrain my first blush guess would be that her hooves will adjust to the new surface. Of course based on your post I don't know things such as how lame she actually is or is she just a bit off, is she loosing massive amounts of hoof or is it just chipping that you're not accustomed to, when is the last time she had a trim? Next, you may want to consider other options such as polyurethane shoes or equisocks . These options would allow you to avoid nails in her feet and allows the hooves to flex naturally while still protecting them.

Saddlebag 07-09-2012 12:31 PM

isn't that what gets put on baseball fields for no dust and that it packs fairly hard? Is she moving like she is on pavement? The limestone is drying so a cheaper option might be hoof soaks a few times a week.

Hoofprints in the Sand 07-09-2012 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aforred (Post 1588420)
If your horse's hoof quality is good, putting shoes on won't change that. You can generally get by shoeing every six weeks versus trimming every four. I don't know whay farriers charge in your area, but mine charges 40 for a trim and 80 for shoes. He charges less if I have him reset shoes, and more if one of the horses needs a specialized shoe.

Personally, if I was in your situation, I wouldn't hesitate to shoe a horse. It can be difficult to find a good barn. If the only issue you have is the footing, I think trying shoes on her might be the way to go. If it doesn't work out for you, you can always move later.
Posted via Mobile Device

Thanks that's kind of the opinion I'm starting to have too, it is certainly very difficult to find a good barn!

Hoofprints in the Sand 07-09-2012 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GreenBackJack (Post 1588452)
You don't say how long she's been at this barn. What I'm wondering is if you've given her enough time to adjust? Since she's had great feet all her life and you've ridden her in a lot of different terrain my first blush guess would be that her hooves will adjust to the new surface. Of course based on your post I don't know things such as how lame she actually is or is she just a bit off, is she loosing massive amounts of hoof or is it just chipping that you're not accustomed to, when is the last time she had a trim? Next, you may want to consider other options such as polyurethane shoes or equisocks . These options would allow you to avoid nails in her feet and allows the hooves to flex naturally while still protecting them.

Sorry I thought I mentioned that but I wasn't very detailed, just a few months. And to reiterate, she is NOT lame (yet), but I don't want to wait until she is lame to do something about it proactively. I have also tried boots on her before (Cavello Simple boots) and they rub the sole of her hoof. I've even tried wrapping her hoof with vet wrap and it just bunches up and moves. They're kind of a pain and to be honest, I'd rather put shoes on her than mess with those some more.

She was trimmed less than 3 weeks ago and they are already horrible looking. She's on a 4-week trim cycle because of the chipping but last time all they did was rasp them because she had nothing to trim off. Now it's been 7 weeks since the last time she had anything extra to actually trim off and she has nothing. So obviously this footing is wearing her hoof down faster than it can grow :-(

Hoofprints in the Sand 07-09-2012 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saddlebag (Post 1588459)
isn't that what gets put on baseball fields for no dust and that it packs fairly hard? Is she moving like she is on pavement? The limestone is drying so a cheaper option might be hoof soaks a few times a week.

Yes when it packs down it packs VERY hard, or if it rains a ton then it's like CEMENT until it gets dragged again! I'm not sure about pavement, as there isn't any around to work her on (the driveway is gravel and the road is too busy with a blind hill, fast speed limit, and huge ditches on either side so I'd never walk her on that).

When you mention hoof soaks, what are you referencing/what product do you use?

Also in terms of drying it certainly is (and this dry summer we've had is certainly not helping out the pasture either!). The farrier has me using Keratex which is a hoof hardener as kind of a last ditch effort to keep her barefoot but her hooves are still chipping and wearing down.


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