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hanse004 05-16-2007 06:52 PM

Barefoot or Shoes????
The barn I am boarding my new horse Ronan is all natural. All of the horses are barefoot and one barn manager specializes in natural hoof trimming. My horse had shoes all the way around when I bought him ( well actually, he only had one when I brought him because the previous owner had not replaced the lost ones or trimmed his feet in a while) But anyways, I have never had shoes on the horses I have owned, but all of the barns I have worked for in t he past did. Ronan seems to be very tender footed even when walking from the pasture to his stall. The manager trimmed his feet yesterday and said I have three options. 1) transition to barefoot and buy horse boots so I can ride without worrying about his tender feet 2) No boots and be very concious about where he walks or 3) reshoe him. I am really having a hard time deciding what to do since he will take 3 to 4 months for his feet to harden to the point where he will not need boots or shoes, and won't be tender. Please let me know your thoughts on this. I really would like him to go barefoot but I am not wanting to spend extra money on boots or have to wait 3-4 months to ride either really. Let me know your opinions! Thanks!


savepitbulls 05-16-2007 08:59 PM

If you really don't want to wait or buy boots then put shoes on him. But barefoot really is best IMO. There is hoof hardener you can buy that will help speed up the process if you can be patient. I think it will benefit you in the long run and it probably won't take 3-4 months for him to get used to being barefoot. More like 1-2 months.

ColleenT 05-16-2007 11:34 PM

re-shoe. i have a tenderfoot horse, and i made him suffer for 3 months. i feel terrible and my farrier says he'll always be a tenderfoot. SO he gets all 4 shoes, and in the winter, we add snow rim pads, and he gets borium for traction.

i almost considered boarding at an ALL 'natural' place, until she told me i could not have shoes, could not give supplements and could not have fly spray. i told her -NO THANK YOU!!

Dave Singleton 05-17-2007 12:20 PM

I think that question very much depends on your horse, your lifestyle and you.
If your horse turns out to have long term tender feet then this is most certainly not an option. Also, if his hoof condition is naturally not that great then probably it will cause quite a few headaches in the near future!
Keeping a horse barefoot requires more time in general care - if you do not have this time then do not consider it. However, it does mean a significant reduction in overall upkeep of the horse.
Finally, if you are a worrier then with a barefoot horse you are most likely going to spend all your time worrying rather than riding! Horses can cope pretty well barefoot really - you just need to be a bit careful.

Manda<3Wes 05-17-2007 03:17 PM

When I bought my horse, he was barefoot, and lame, as he is a flatfooted TB. When I brought him home, I had shoes put on him (fronts only) and saw an immediate difference in him. It all depends on what you want (and how much money you want to spend!) and what will make your horse more comfortable. Personally if it was my horse, I would shoe him, because I'd feel horrible watching him suffer walking from the pasture to his stall.

dellamoore 05-20-2007 12:16 PM

IMO barefoot is the best unless you don't have the time and have a horse that has hooves that will not allow for a healthy transition.

I have a 9yo QH that gets ALOT of exorcise and he doesn't have shoes...his feet are hard as rocks...

BUT it took a long time for them to build up and recover from having shoes on him...the shoes (with my horse) had a tendency to restrict blood flow throughout the hoof...they made his hoof walls very brittle and weak b/c of the nails...and there was obviously no natural wear from being active which enables me to see how balanced we are and how much progress we've made...

Since I took his shoes off (late 2005)...he has been a different horse...I live in S.Florida and I have a natural trimmer come to me...his work is amazing and the knowledge is just incredible...

Anyway, sorry to ramble...if you want more info on it or on my specific case, I would love to share:)


Oh, my natural trimmer costs me just as much as my farrier used is not at all less expensive (unless there were corrective shoes involved:)

dellamoore 05-20-2007 05:51 PM


Originally Posted by jr
my experience of barefoot trimmers is they are persons who don't have the ability nor skill & understanding of the autonomy of a horses hoof to shoe it properly nor soundly, they make outrage's claims about there superiority & the evils of horseshoeing but the facts is there just masking there inabilities with a natural tag, we as humans could get a round with out shoes but given the choice choose wisely to wear protective foot wear ? :idea:

Actually it's really funny that you mentioned human feet. If someone walks around wearing tennis shoes and socks all day long, yes, their feet will be protected and soft. But if you look at a person that is barefoot all day will see that the feet have toughened up and are in desperate need of a pumice stone, BUT they would be able to do many more activities barefoot...

It's the same idea behind the hoof...and yes, some horses do need shoes...I stated that in my original post...

I don't, however, think it's fair to generalize 'all trimmers' into one category...just as I would not categorize all farriers as 'good' farriers...

hanse004 05-21-2007 09:07 AM

Thank you all for your replies. I really want to make the transition to barefoot. All of the boarders at the barn that have made the transition say it is well worth it and their horses have done great. I'm just worried that if he is so tender now...will he still be too tender later or is he just one of those horses that need shoes?? The call is hard to make. And I'm ready to start his schooling. We board north of Birmingham, AL at the end of the Appalachian Mtn. chain. The ground is very rocky in some places. The round pen even has rocks (The second day I was there, I racked the entire round pen to clear the rocks, but more just kept coming up from the ground....wish they would get a load of dirt/sand) But anyways, that's really out of my control. The point is, he's ready to start his schooling and I'm not sure I can wait however long it takes to toughen up his feet. And then I don't even know if he will still be tender then. So, I'm really considering still putting on shoes (maybe just on the front). BUT, I would RATHER go barefoot since it would be cheaper and I wouldn't have to worry about him pulling shoes. This decision has really bugged me for the past couple of days. I would love to hear more opinions so I can maybe make up my mind! Thanks again!

Dave Singleton 05-21-2007 10:15 AM


my experience of barefoot trimmers is they are persons who don't have the ability nor skill & understanding of the autonomy of a horses hoof to shoe it properly nor soundly, they make outrage's claims about there superiority & the evils of horseshoeing but the facts is there just masking there inabilities with a natural tag, we as humans could get a round with out shoes but given the choice choose wisely to wear protective foot wear ?
Actually in human terms most shoes end up being more damaging in the long run than if you had gone without from the start. It also results in us being dependant on our shoes to get around without any injuries i.e stones in feet etc.
To go back to the horses, barefoot trimming and barefoot care actually requires a much deeper understanding of the anatomy and functions of the horse in order to keep a horse sound. This is quite obvious as any good horse podiatrist (proper term) manages to keep a horse sound without any protection while farriers pretty much depend on the protection of the shoe.
Saying that though, I would get my horses shod as it saves all the horse hoof crack hell in the summer months which can easily get very nasty. I'm also a bit of a foot worrier. However, if the farrier in my area wasn't that good then I'd have no quarms about switching even though it is a bit of a pain for a while.

dellamoore 05-21-2007 08:45 PM


Originally Posted by jr
You have to love the way this bare foot trimming fade has taken off & promoted as the best thing for your horse, let me remind you all it is not a new concept, they have tried the going with out horseshoes caper with horses "in work" long before theses guru's of the horse world got there brain storm :roll: "fact" they tried it in the bore war & the first world war it was disastrous in both trials with devastating results, more lame horses then you could point a stick at & they weren't ridden on man mad surfaces either. Any one wishing to embrace the concept that shoeing horses is detrimental to there well being, need to ask them self why persons in some of the poorest third world countries bother shoeing there horses, when a set of shoes & nails costs more then they earn in a fortnight & in some cases a month if bare foot is the way to go, the answer is very simple there horses cant do with out them when in work :wink:

I don't think anyone here thinks that 'barefoot' hoofcare is 'new'...considering that's the way horses started out to begin with. With that being said...I am sure that during warfare the care of the horses was not the first thing on the mind of the soldiers...they were probably just hoping that they would live to see another day.

I am not saying that 'all shoes are bad'...'barefoot' is the best...etc. I simply stated that because I have the extra time to care for my horse's hooves...that I prefer to have him barefoot.

I will tell you, my horse is the only one in the barn that is 'worked' and ridden pretty hard and is the only one that doesn't come up lame. His feet are in phenomenal shape...much better shape than any shod horse in my area.

Anyway, like I stated before...I'm just a proud mom of my horse and I do what's best for him. The original poster was asking opinions and I gave one that was directly related to my specific one elses...


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