Barefoot Lease Horses Need Shoes?
So my mom and I are leasing these two great horses, but they are barefoot. I wouldn't be against that but one of the reasons we chose to lease them is because of their close proximity to trails.
In order to get to the trails, you have to cross some jagged rocks and there is a lot of walking along the cement road. The horses seemed very uncomfortable and they were rushing to get over to the grass - not to eat it, but to walk on it. They were stumbling a lot over the rocks and seemed pretty miserable the whole way.
Their feet are in good condition so I feel bad asking her to shoe the horses, as I've heard after you shoe them once it is difficult to go barefoot again. I know it can shave a lot of the farrier costs off too. It is very obvious that they are feeling discomfort on certain terrains that we need to cross, though, and I am not sure how this will go over the whole summer.
Would it be wrong to ask the owner to shoe the horses? I've heard other people have asked and she has said she wants to keep them barefoot as long as possible.
Not wrong at all! Bring it up as a suggestion and bring up points that you had in this thread. In my experience, it is not hard for hooves to go back to being barefoot, but the hoof walls can be weakened by nail holes; they just have to grow out.
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You could also explore some other options. Like easyboots or if she has a certified barefoot trimmer they can offer suggestions on how to possibly toughen up or support the foot without shoes. Ultimately, if you're paying to ride a horse then it should be rideable in the manner that you ride. It is hard to walk the line with owners who want one thing and leasers who need something different. If you go into the conversation by saying, I enjoy your horse and the trails but they are not comfortable on them and their health and comfort is my biggest concern that opens up a line of communication. If you go up to the owner and say your horse can't hack being barefoot and if you want me to keep leasing you have to shoe it...that shuts down communication. There are multiple ways to skin a cat and I'm assuming that you don't necessarily need shoes on the horse but for the horse to be comfortable hacking over the terrain that you are riding. If you tell the owner that you're amenable to trying some more "natural/barefoot" methods that will help get them used to the idea of having to change their routine. Ultimately though, you need to politely give them a timeline and be willing to make concessions. Tell them that you're willing to try other options than shoes but if you can't get them walking happily over rocks in the next month then it's not feasible to keep leasing them. Giving yourself a time line helps you both instead of being in a stalemate for a few months and wasting your whole summer with a horse that's not comfortable. Also, bottom line is that you're leasing a barefoot horse for a set cost, if shoes are more expensive and that's what the horse needs then you might have to chip in for them since the cost of the maintenance of the horse for you to use it has gone up. Be realistic and flexible as well as polite and respectful that ultimately it is the owner's decision and you have a better chance of getting a positive result.
Are they being trimmed natural barefoot or just barefoot? There really is a big difference.
If trimmed natural maybe you need to check if the farrier is certified and doing thier job correctly. As a natural barefoot person myself I would not let my horses have shoes put on them. It takes quite awhile to grow out a new hoof and there are lots of issues that can crop up with shoes. Since a lot of my mares took awhile to get to the stage they are at now I'd hate putting them back at square one. If natural barefoot trimmed, then like NittanyEquestrian said check into easyboots or talk to the farrier.
Now if just trimmed barefoot by a shoer then shoes shouldn't be to hard to have done and I can't see the owner not letting you though she may ask for you to pay the difference.
all my horses trail ride without shoes on jagged terrain. Like others have said see about getting a certified natural barefoot farrier and look into easy boots (which are cheaper than shoes anyway) The horses will get used to the trail rides. Even with shoes you shouldnt be riding a horse over a lot of gravel/jagged rocks anyways.
I think the first thing to explore is whether there is an alternate route to the trails...
At the facility I am leasing, there is a gravel road in front of the barn because vehicles often need to drive up with deliveries - but this is NOT for the horses. To get to the trails, we walk our horses next to the road until we reach a grassy area with mounting blocks. Then it's time to mount up and ride the trails.
I'm wondering if there is a similar set up at your stable? It doesn't sound right that the owner would want you to ride over jagged rocks and cement...
Personally, if I was leasing my horse, keeping it barefoot would be a condition of the lease.
I ride in some pretty rocky areas & my horses are both barefoot. Also, its been my experience that riding on the pavement at a reasonable pace is actually easier for my horses since its completely flat.
If the horses are having problems, their feet may not be as good as you think.
I would bring the issue up with the owner and ask her to provide boots.
The boots might go over well, I definitely like hearing both sides of the equation. I will try to figure out whether they are natural or not as well.
There is really no other route to the trails. The barn is on a road, and the trails are just up the road about 10 minutes. There is no other exit. Good question, though.
Thanks for all your help, guys! I'll be talking to her soon.
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