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Blue Thunder Hoc 12-30-2012 02:10 PM

Shoes vs no shoes
I apologize if this is in the wrong forum!

I've been working with my gelding for three years now without shoes, and even before i got him he never had shoes on, I've been barrel racing him for about two and a half years barefoot and have though about putting shoes on him several times. He's completely white footed, so he has extreamly soft feet. What are the pro/cons of putting shoes on him for barrel racing?

Ray MacDonald 12-30-2012 02:15 PM

Shoes will reduce a little bit of concussion to his hoof and the possibility of a little more sliding when going around the barrels.

The shoe nails damage the hoof wall and are expensive.

If he is doing fine barefoot I would say keep him barefoot.

NorthernMama 12-30-2012 02:39 PM

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The colour of the hooves makes no difference.

Nails do indeed damage the hoof wall. I don't agree that shoes reduce concussion. I think they increase it because they don't allow the movement of the hoof wall which absorbs the impact.

Why is the question of shoes coming up now? Is there a specific reason, or just a general question?

Tianimalz 12-30-2012 02:44 PM


He's completely white footed, so he has extreamly soft feet.
Old wives tale, the color makes no difference to the condition of the hoof.

I once had a old show lady tell me that my mares white hooves would need shoes to ever stay sound, even though this lil mare is sounder over rocks than my "Black footed" horse ;) Just a silly pass of "knowledge" that is completely untrue.

WesternRider88 12-30-2012 02:48 PM

The color of the hooves does not make a difference. My horse has white feet and they are very hard and don't chip very easily. If he does fine without shoes then I would say just leave him.

WSArabians 12-30-2012 02:55 PM

Only thing I'd shoe is a reiner.
Mustangs go over way worse terrains then we would bring our own pets over and they do great.

amberly 12-30-2012 03:03 PM

Our horses are barefoot, and they do just fine. I will begin barrel racing with them - with no shoes. Shoes can affect the way they do their gaits. They do help with traction and footing sometimes. I say do what you want. I don't use shoes - and I most likely never will. I don't really see a point to put them on my horse.
I read somewhere that shoes can affect the way the horse moves his foot and the blood circulations. I don't know if it's completely true, but I did read that. One of my horse's - their hooves are white and they aren't any different than my other horse that has brown/black hooves. Color doesn't really say anything.

Nakiska 12-30-2012 03:19 PM

We game/barrel race locally and recreationally trail ride our horses, they are all barefoot and have been for over 5 years now.

Instead of the occasional shoeing, we decided to invest in hoof boots, for the once in a great while ride where we think they might get sore.

There are several people at our local playdays who ride the patterns with their barefoot horses using hoof boots with no problem at all.

If your horse is doing fine without shoes and has been for the last 3 years, then I would suspect you are doing something right. :) As someone else mentioned...if it's not broke, don't fix it.

My horses all have wayyyyy healthier feet barefoot then my friends who consistently shoe.

Good Luck!


Blue Thunder Hoc 12-30-2012 09:57 PM

I should have mentioned before that he is also sore on hard terrain, rocks, dirt roads etc, I'v ridden him cement before and he seemed to do fine but everything else that's hard and relatiively uneven he get uncomfortable. mostly on his front feet, never seems to have to much trouble with his back feet.

He hasn't had terrific feet since I got him three years ago, he wasn't exactly the ot well maintained horse out there.

But thank you all for the info about the nails damaging the hoof wall and the tall tales of "the white hoof" lol

Ray MacDonald 12-31-2012 11:45 AM

Actually white hooves are softer than black hooves. Doesn't mean they will chip or crack more easily, just a softer tissue.

Shoes do absorbe concussion as that is what they were designed for. They do allow very minimal splaying of the frog and hoof wall as a hoof would do naturally (un-shod) It is why we use the horseshoe shape (has an open end at the frog) and not a complete circle (Although you can get special shoes made like that).

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