showing barefoot vs shoes
My horse gets alot of knee action when her hooves grow out a little and I want for the showring. It is hard to find a farrier to leave a hoof wall long and in my opinion they trim too short in general. I was thinking about front shoes for a little action but I assume it would be healthier and less expensive to just keep a little longer hoof. Her hooves grow evenly and are strong. What do others do when some action is desirable and shoes are not a neccessity for your area you work the horse?
All my horses are barefoot, regardless of what I'm doing with them. If the horse's hoof can handle being barefoot, it's best that they are, IMO.
However, I won't do anything unnatural to encourage action. To me, trimming hooves in an unbalanced manner falls under that. Not worth it to me. If you're going to be leaving them long, just make sure they're still balanced.
This is an old post but I will reply anyway. I have been a farrier for over 40 years. Generally, a horse should be trimmed not over every two months. If a horse has shoes on the amount or wall removed will be about 3/4 inch at the toe. If the toe is allowed to grow longer than that it may strain the tendons. Long feet over time change the confirmation of the hoof. The hoof will become box shaped and lose it's roundness. A round hoof in the front feet is desirable to distribute weight. Two thirds of a horses weight is on it's forequarters which is one reason we see more front end lameness. Unless the the toes are grossly long any difference in gait would be negligible, anyway. Gait is a consequence of breeding. In the show ring it is often accentuated by the use of heavy, toe weighted shoes and stacked pads....to the great detriment of the horse. If a horse can go barefoot without lameness or hoof damage it is better off. If it limps after stepping on a pebble it should be shod.
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