natural horse hoof trimming
I have been reading alot about the natural trim and going barefoot. It does make sense, putting nails in a hoof wall can't be all that great. I see pros and cons about both, but would love to hear some opinions of folks who do natural trimming and riding with no shoes.
Oh yea, my three horses go barefoot during the winter for at least 6 months.
Yep, all for it. Nails through a hoof wall are one of the more minor 'cons' about conventional metal shoes IME. However, I advise you to educate yourself as best you can in order to make a fully informed decision. There are also a few different approaches and different considerations to consider. Learn all you can about hoof form & function & about all the other factors that effect hoof health - of which to shoe or not is but one of many considerations. Learn the pros & cons of some different approaches. I suggest hoofrehab.com barefoothorse.com & barehoofcare.com are 3 great places to start - among many other sites & resources.
To shoe or not is one thing, but depending on those other factors - management, diet, environment, etc, it may not be possible for your horse to cope with everything you want of him bare. But these days there are a lot of good hoof boots available, which I believe are far superior to metal nail on shoes. You also only use them when needed - eg an overly long or rough trail ride - and the horse can remain bare for the majority of time. Eg. when I first 'went natural' my horses were living & working on rocky ground, poor pasture and I was riding/playing with them a lot. Never had an issue. Only booted one horse for the first few months(a flat footed TB fresh out of shoes). But now my horses are on cushy, too good pasture. They also don't get anywhere near the amount of exercise outside that they used to, as I have young kids. I now find that they all need boots on rough ground.
It's essential that the horse is well and frequently trimmed. 4-6 weeks is about average for a trim schedule. Either a good farrier or a good hoofcare practitioner can do it, but there are bad examples under every banner, who may do your horse more harm than good. The above websites should give you a reasonable idea of the principles, so that you have a good idea whether some 'expert' of choice is doing a decent job or not. Most factors of hoofcare - diet, exercise, management, etc are down to you as an owner, not the trimmer. Altho a good hoof care practitioner will explain & help you decide on the best solutions all round.
Best wishes for your journey! Feel free to keep questioning, ask advice, send in hoof pics & info for critique... there are a number of people on here who know what they're on about when it comes to hooves.:D
There have been many debates about barefoot vs shod and I have never read a better balance more agreeable post than the one above. BRAVO!!!
Thanks Kevin! I know I'm far from the best communicator around, so really appreciate hearing when I get it right!:wink:
Totally agree with Loosie :D There are so many factors other than "shoe vs barefoot", that play a role in healthy hooves...
I prefer barefoot, but do realize that some horses need extra protection under certain circumstances; I prefer hoof boots, to shoes, though, as they are more 'supportive' with the rubber bottoms...you can also take them on and off as you need, so the horse isn't 'stuck' with it.
My horses all do fine barefoot using a "natural trim" approach, including a TB gelding who "had to have shoes" according to his previous owner. I do use front hoof boots on him and one of my mares for trail riding, but they both do fine for arena and pasture riding. The TB jumps and does Dressage.
I trim my own, with the guidance of a trimmer once or twice a year, or on "difficult" cases.
My horses are pastured, only stalled for feeding time. They get no grain, only alfalfa pellets with vitamins and flax. Their hay is Bermuda mixed with local grasses.
Also, I am not a "barefoot nazi" lol. I do think that shoes are needed in some cases. I have just been lucky to have the horses, pasture, and feeding regime to have good luck with barefoot (so far, knock on wood!).
nicely said loosie horse owners that understand the concept of shoes or no shoes makes our job as farriers so much easier i do both shoes and trims whatever the owners want or need thanks to good horse owners n those who want to learn
I have read all about the ups and downs, and DEF prefer barefoot. Just my opinion, but i encourage you to try it!
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