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HalfPass 06-19-2009 09:45 PM

What made those who are barefoot decide to go barefoot???
I am having a hard time deciding what to do with my horses feet.
If you have read some of the postas about his feet you would know that he has no coffin bone drop but does have soar fractures of the cofffin bones..
I am so undecided about what the right thing to do it.

From the past experience while my horse was in a 40 x 40 in another state on my parents place because I could not ride...he went through periods where the front shoes were off then back on.
When they were on the horse did much better.

When he arrived to me a few weeks ago his feet were is a desperate need of a trim. I had the aluminum shoes and pads pulled, but he has a really difficult time moving on certain surfaces.

While I like the lady trimmer who does a natural trim, the vet has suggested to put the shoes and pads back on. She originally wanted a reverse shoe but I am not sure if that is what she still wants me to trasmit to the shoer...a different person who will actually trim and shoe.

While I like the idea of a natural foot. My horse always seems to be better in front shoes. Right now he just is having a tough time.

The lady trimmer said that this barefoot deal will take a long time to get undercontrol and he would be on a 3-4 week trim schedule. She told me that hammering nails into a horse foot numbs their feet.
I have never heard of this! Of course I have been out of the horse sceen for quite sometime and I always rode performance horses who had nice sound feet with shoes.

I am open to either Idea so I am somewhat struggling with which way to go.

Something in my gut is telling me to allow my horse to have the shoes put on the fronts and continue to document the feet with photos every week. When I take the photos I take them from the laterl aspect and then the botoms and a front view.
his heels look a bit low to me at this point and I believe we would like to see that grow some.

His coffin bones are perfectly paralel(sp) to the ground, but he is thin soled.

I pick his feet everyday, and have only just been doing some outings from his paddock and shelter for cirrculation. I have changed his feed some to get out of too much alfalfa and more grass hay as well as having him turned out for 2 hours or so a few times a week on pasture grass. I also let him eat 20 minutes of grass when I work with hi m after we are done...

The vet has now cleared him to work on some ground work and re-gaining of respect but she did tell me it could case some flares with the shoes off.
Now the shoer guy said he could be out at the end of the week...

For those of you out there who are barefoot...what can you tell me about your decision to go this route???
What breed of horse do you have?
What problems did you have prior to the Bare foot choice? long didit take to get a good tough nice and natural hoof?
What types of things did you do during this process...

Any info and or stories is great. I did read the post shoes or no shoes and continue to read in that post but thought I would ask some specific questions...
Half Pass

PaintHorseMares 06-20-2009 07:12 AM

Of our three Paint mares, only our lead mare, Angel, has ever been shod. Here is a short summary of her history going barefoot.

Originally Angel was raised as a cattle working horse, did team penning, and was always shod.
Her next owner kept her shod, but she wound up being lame in her left front. They couldn't figure out what was wrong, and kept her on bute almost everyday. They finally gave up and sold her to our Paint breeder friends to use as a brood mare.
The first thing they did was pull the shoes and take her off the bute to find out why she was lame. Turns out she had a terrible abcess that took about 3 months to clear up. As is typical with brood mares, they kept her on simple pasture trims, and after the abcess was taken care of, she was fine barefoot in the pasture, but still a little ouchy on gravel.
After we bought her, our old English farrier convinced me to trim her myself (with his guidance to start) and to start riding her on harder surfaces (asphalt) to help keep the hooves worn and toughen up her soles (she had thin soles, too). By doing this often (every 3 weeks), we were able to keep her from getting long with only a rasp (and save a bunch of $$s), and we kept riding her on a mixture of surfaces from grass to hard packed earth to asphalt roads (we never put boots on her, either).
To make a long story short, we saw progress every month, and after 2 years her feet are as tough as our other two mares that had never been shod, and we can ride her anywhere without getting sore.
I know that the barefoot v. shod debate can get very emotional, but this is the summary of our experience, all IMHO...
- Our 2 younger Paint mares have never been shod and can be ridden over anything.
- We (including our breeder friends) were successful in getting Angel from being constantly lame and on bute with shoes to having tough feet. It does take frequent trims, patience, and TIME. We keep our horse care simple, never used boots or any supplements.
- Although I'm sure that some horses do better with shoes, barefoot just seems more natural and certainly saves a lot of $$s and you don't have to worry about getting a farrier out for thrown shoes, etc.
- Most of my riding buddies keep their horses barefoot, but the ones that do shoe always seem to have more foot problems (e.g. abcesses, lameness, etc). This is just an observation and I don't know if it is just the horse(s), the farriers or just coincidence.

In spite of being partial to barefoot, I don't believe there is one 'right' decision, so good luck with your choice. If you go barefoot, you can always go back to shoes later if needed.

iridehorses 06-20-2009 07:50 AM

At first I thought about barefoot shoeing then using boots but that seems like it would defeat the purpose - ask your farrier about that. While you are deciding, I would keep shoes on since that is making your horse more comfortable.

Personally, I've owned horses for nearly 30 years, and I've done both shod and unshod. It all depended on the horse, the conditions I was riding in, and the advise of my vet. Your horse has foot problems and although your farrier thinks she can properly condition your horse's hooves, I would tend to lean towards the vet's advise.

Walkamile 06-20-2009 07:56 AM

When I bought and brought T and Walka home 9 years ago, it was my farrier that broached the subject of letting T (she was the only one shod, Walka was only 2) go barefoot. While she had always been shod, the trails I was riding on had considerable muddy sections, and T was over reaching and pulling her front shoes off. Travis showed me that T had really good feet to let go barefoot. With the terrain I was primarily riding, soft woods trails, lots of mud, very little gravel, he felt that her feet would wear well and so she went barefoot

She along with Walka now travel over all types of terrains and do not show any signs of discomfort. My only consideration now are hoof boots for T because we are traveling on gravel trails quite a bit with the riding group we joined and she is wearing her hoofs out. Still not sore, just want to be careful.

If my farrier had not broached this subject with me, who knows I might still be shoeing. I value and trust Travis very much, and if you have a good relationship with your farrier, I would give great weight to what they are suggesting to to along with any input from the vet. I do believe the farrier (again, depends on the farrier, we're fortunate to have some top notch ones here) is the first source to tap into on that decision.

Not all horses are able to go barefoot, and that is okay, it's what is best for the horse that must be taken into consideration first.

Good luck, and trust your gut. You know this horse better then anyone.

HalfPass 06-20-2009 09:28 AM

Hey All,
Thanks for the input. I am going to see how he does the rest of the weekend and begining part of the week. The farrier I chose does vet referrals but we decided we will look at the referral and then the horses feet and go from there. The vet was supposed to e-mail the farrier so we shall see. Since I have lived here in my town for 13 years i have not been that involved with horses so I do not have that many horsey contacts. In my old home state I had many many contacts to draw upon.
Something tells me that my horse will be better in shoes on the fronts. If it works out great! If I have continual problems then I can revisit this idea...
I am not opposed to either way. the one thing I do not like the thought of is the nails...ouchy! Not sure why I never thought htis way before!
Yesturday I had my dad bring up some stall mats for his shelter and encloseure...Now he has some better suface to stand on which will make me and him happier....I plan on being out there about 4-5 times a week this summer so he won't be coped up but eventually I will work part time...LOL or I will go just kidding...I have taken the summer to try and get his restored and on the right path and also take a break from school and then hope to find a part time job so I am not going to the ranch every day!

We are going to do some ground work and respect excersises today...
thanks again.
Half Pass

walkinthewalk 06-20-2009 10:42 AM

The lady trimmer said that this barefoot deal will take a long time to get undercontrol and he would be on a 3-4 week trim schedule. It will take at least as long as it takes for each horse's hooves to grow completely out. I can see 3-4 week schedules if the horse has problems but that might be able to be stretched to 4-5 or even 6 weeks once the hoof walls have grown out and are healthy (soles too).

She told me that hammering nails into a horse foot numbs their feet. REALLY?!?!? I've been on horses for 60 of my 62 years and breaking/training them since I was 12; that is news to me:?:?

His coffin bones are perfectly paralel(sp) to the ground, but he is thin soled. While my metabolic horse does not have thin soles, he has always been flat-soled since I bought him as a coming 3 yo; he is 19-1/2 now. I can't say enough as to what Omega-3 Horseshine has done for his hoof quality and also my other three horses. Beautiful healthy coats too.

I pick his feet everyday, and have only just been doing some outings from his paddock and shelter for cirrculation. I have changed his feed some to get out of too much alfalfa and more grass hay as well as having him turned out for 2 hours or so a few times a week on pasture grass. I also let him eat 20 minutes of grass when I work with hi m after we are done...
Less is more regarding feed. As I now have one horse that is IR/EM and a second one wanting to head that way, none of my four get oat/corn based grain. They all get locally grown grass/mix hay, pelleted rice bran, pelleted vit/min supplement, and Omega-3 Horseshine. The metabolic horse also gets herbs and minerals geared toward his metabolic issues.

For those of you out there who are barefoot...what can you tell me about your decision to go this route???I had been reading a lot about it before my horse went insulin resistant. He handsome 19-1/2 yo self has some hock arthritis, which was exploded by the IR/EMS. He cannot handle having shoes nailed on. The jarring/pounding is too much for him.

The regular pasture trim that shoers do was out of the question because it has no "principles".

The new barefoot methods that have been developed in recent years have principles and those principles work IF the trimmer is any good. Like shoers, just because someone says they are a barefoot trimmer doesn't mean they are any good at it. They can sore up a horse every bit as fast as a bad shoer --- I have seen it and I have heard others speak about on other forums.

Anyway, I have trimmed off and on since I was 12, so I spent 6 months learning principles and started taking care of my own horses because I enjoy it and it also was saving me the $$$$ I needed for the herbs/minerals for my IR/EMS horse.

Then I had a Level II vertebra slide (the constant upkeep of 16 hooves was the icing on the cake), so I had to have the Pete Ramey student that tutored me start trimming everyone:-(.

The most crucial thing with the modern barefoot principles is to NOT trim the soles or the frogs UNLESS they indicate they are wanting to shed. In that case, the shedding parts need to be carefully pared away.

Now that my horses are two years into the new barefoot trimming methods, I can say I am really happy with how their hooves look.

My most difficult horse to keep balanced is the TWH with the mild clubfoot. He is naturally splay-footed (99.9% of TWH's are), so couple that with the club foot and it is a very sticky wickett to keep him balanced on the front end.

If I were still hard trail riding (that equals sliding their butts down hills and digging up the other side on their knees, I would still have shoes on someone.

One thing I am not is a barefoot cultist. I have nothing but the greatest respect for the trimming principles because I KNOW they work.

But my first reaction to anyone on ANY subject when they say "you HAVE to do things THIS way or you will be murdering someone or something, is to walk the other way. They may be "right as rain" but I will walk the other way:-)

I choke when the absolute devouts start getting preachy because all that does is turn folks like you, who are on the fence, in the opposite direction.

What breed of horse do you have? Three Tennessee Walkers and one Arab.

I also thought it might help for you to look at pictures of the front hooves on my metabolic horse (the one that is 19-1/2 and has always had flat soles), using the Pete Ramey barefoot trimming principles.

His soles are very hard as well they should be on a healthy, barefoot horse. Even though I can't trim anymore, I still maintain the soles and frogs myself. That way when the trimmer gets here (every 5 weeks), all he has to concern himself with is balancing the hoof wall.

I also think that's why he continues to only charge me $40/horse.

What problems did you have prior to the Bare foot choice?None actually. Everyone has healthy hooves, but I gotta say as I look back on "before Pete Ramey trimming" pics and "after Pete Ramey trimming" pics, there is a whole world of difference in how everyone's hooves look. long didit take to get a good tough nice and natural hoof? Two of my horses didn't have any transition time because their hooves were always healthy. The metabolic horse and the "wannabe" metabolic horse took until they grew out entire new hooves.

What types of things did you do during this process...Put them all on Omega-3 Horseshine and did my own frog and sole maintenance to keep things growing in the right direction.

I hope I have been of some help to you:-)

These hooves belong to my Insulin Resistant horse. Thankfully he hasn't foundered but I hold my breath every day. Pics were one week after his "barefoot" trim. I really wish someone would come with a new word that indicates it's the new method & principles of barefoot trimming. We have been "trimming barefoot" since Mobey Dick was a minnow - lol

kitten_Val 06-20-2009 06:55 PM

I just keep both mine barefoot since I got them as yearlings. My farrier is pretty much against shoeing too unless there is a real need (even though he makes much more on shoeing :) ). I keep front boots though for the rocky parks.

StormyBlues 06-20-2009 09:06 PM

I haven't read all of anything on here, but my suggestion. GET A MASTER FARRIER! Not a shoer, trimer, race plater, or farrier. Get a farrier who makes his own shoes, and will know exactly what to do to help your horse. Our farrier has made all of our horse's feet amazing. And Aluminum shoes and pads? BAD! Pads really arn't good for the horse at all! They make the frog soft and make it easy for infections and fungi to grow and reproduce. And Aluminum shoes don't let the farrier bring the heels up. All of your horse's feet issuses can be fixed if you get a farrier who knows what he's doing

Qtswede 06-21-2009 08:18 AM

For most of my life, my horses have been barefoot. The only exceptions to that have been the 1 pony that had navicular and needed heart bar shoes, and a horse that when I was a teenager I just about wore the feet off of. In my area, there is a lot of sandy terrain, so just riding them is usually enought to keep them trimmed - our farrier usually just cleans them up a little, no major cutting of any kind. BUT, if you have one that needs the tar ridden out of them - they may need shoes to keep their feet alright. If you are competeing in certain shows/classes they may require shoes. It's actually one of the things that has kept me from joining our local mounted patrol. I don't want to shoe unless it's absolutely necessary.

hotreddun 06-21-2009 08:21 AM

Mines a simple answer. I took my vets advice. My vet told me to pull the shoes and allow more circulation to the hooves to help his arthritis. The shoes do inhibit circulation in the foot and can actually worsen any medical condition in there. Shoes "work" because they are a band-aid solution. They stop the circulation, stop the pain, stop the inflammation, but also stop the healing. It literally took my horse 3 months to feel comfortable barefoot though. But his degenerative arthritis, and ringbone has completely stopped its progression as seen by xrays and his chronic windpuffs have never been seen from again. Of course critics would say I also stopped riding him hard which could have helped in that respect also. But Im a barefoot believer...the physics of it just make sense when you get down to the nitty gritty questions. I HIGHLY reccommend the Pete Ramey DVDs on barefoot trimming. He shows the science behind the trim and then shows lots of medical cases in a really understandable way.

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