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Running Whisper 12-04-2012 07:53 PM

Barefoot OR Shoes
I have been wondering which is better for horses being barefoot or shoes. All of my horses have always been barefoot, but I have a mare that's hooves need correcting. Would it help if she had shoes? Her hooves go outward on her front hooves. The inside is also bad. They are really deep, it's hard to explain. I've heard that shoes hurt their joints. I have just been wondering if it would help at all. She also has trouble walking on hard surfaces, especially rocks. So I was just wondering what everybody thinks tomorrow ill try to get a picture of them. And my farrier is in Arizona until march, but usually there hooves do just fine until then. Thanks.

laurenlewis24 12-04-2012 08:14 PM

In order to keep a horse barefoot, unless on very rocky surface, you need to get their hooves trimmed every 5-8 weeks depending on their growth rate. When a horse has a conformation issue, corrective shoes, generally, will just hurt the horse. The fact that your horses hooves go outward, you need to look closely and see if it is just how the hoof wall is growing (rare but happens) or if the actual leg structure is following the hoof. If the leg is conformationally incorrect, shoes will just injure your horses joints, ligaments, and bones. Once bones are set, so is everything else in the leg. There is not much correcting you can do. Although, in a situation such as one of my geldings, he had low heels and it took months and months to trim him differently to help create a heel and less toe.

As for her sensativity on hard surfaces:
My horses were kept on hard rocky surfaces with several random slabs of concrete in the pasture from old buildings and their hooves developed nicely. They were completly hard 6 months after the natural barefoot trim. In the case of horses with soft grassy pasture, you may need to WALK them on concrete or rocks to help them harden faster. Remember, it is just like humans, if we are used to wearing foot protection and then we decide to start walking around barefoot, it will take some time to develop a callus (spelling?). It is the same idea with horses, the longer they have barefeet the more they will harden. Also, you have to consider, if we were to walk barefoot in grass all the time we would build up less callus than we would on rocky or concrete terrain.

I do recommend finding a NATURAL barefoot farrier because they do trim a little but differently to help the horse's hoof wear more naturally than a horse who had just any old farrier trim off the "excess" stuff and let them go.

Hope that was helpful!!
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spirit88 12-04-2012 08:35 PM

Pictures would be helpful sounds like your letting the feet go to long before getting them done. Shoes wont hurt their joints if the farrier is skilled and knows how to do it correctly. Iv seen the so called barefoot trimmers who butcher up and lame your horse for you. Thank you very much but i"ll keep my farrier whos very good with all kinds of issues. My horses wear shoes 8 months out of the year with no problems they are barefoot now till march.

Saddlebag 12-04-2012 08:46 PM

A good farrier will do what the horse needs. A trimmer can only trim. Go with a good farrier.

laurenlewis24 12-04-2012 08:46 PM

Running Whisper, there are infinate opinions on this matter. It honestly depends on your own opinion. Do some research on both from SEVERAL knowledgable websites. There are always going to be good and bad farriers whether they do natural barefoot or shoes spirit88. Always research and talk to other clients of your farrier to hear their opinions on His/her trim. My farrier had to trim a horse in front of a vet one time because he thought that going barefoot would make the horse go lame, after trimming the horse her normal ways, he exrayed the horse for several weeks to see if it was causing damage. It turned out that the horse was improving in his every day riding and carrying himself more comfortably. The vet was shocked and owed my farrier an apology. Like I said, whether you decide to go with barefoot or shod ALWAYS research and ALWAYS do some background checking on their other clients.

Remember that humans think they always need to change natural thing, and horses in the wild live perfectly normal active lives going barefoot. I am not against shoes I just dont think it is necessary to shoe your horses. Even horses in hard work do well on a natural trim. It is a personal decision and should not be taken lightly. A horse's hoof is its main thing it depends on, jack it up and you could ruin your horse.
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RustyBucket 12-04-2012 08:49 PM

In my opinion shoes are not the answer. If you want whats best for your horse keep her barefoot. Shoes prevent the hoof from working the way it is designed to.
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laurenlewis24 12-04-2012 08:52 PM


Originally Posted by RustyBucket (Post 1785039)
In my opinion shoes are not the answer. If you want whats best for your horse keep her barefoot. Shoes prevent the hoof from working the way it is designed to.
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Agreed, it does keep the horse from moving their natural way. Also, shoeing for a long period of time can really hurt your horse's hoof wall. It makes the frog sensative, especially when they wear shoes for part of the year and a few months out of it are expected to walk around barefoot. It is almost impossible for them to stay comfortable.
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NorthernMama 12-04-2012 09:12 PM

Sounds like all your horses are overdue for a trim. Especially when you say that they are usually okay until March. THat's far too long... like way WAY too long. Every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the terrain, the horse, activities. Regardless if barefoot or shod, months is too long to go between hoof maintenance. Your question should be more about basic hoof care first. THen you can start the debate about barefoot vs. shod. If you search the forum you will find this discussion happens a lot here and it is very situation dependent.

Let's see some pics of all your horses' feet and go from there.

Catpeedontherug 12-04-2012 09:15 PM

Is using hoof boots an option?

deserthorsewoman 12-04-2012 09:51 PM

We really need to see the feet to get an idea. I have my idea already, but will wait for pics.
One thing for sure, waiting until March will make things worse.
I agree with spirit, barefoot trimmers can "butcher" a foot, but so can Farriers. It all depends. An educated owner can judge if a trimmer or farrier is good, it's usually the person not the method.

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