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Barefoot Trail Riding

This is a discussion on Barefoot Trail Riding within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Barefoot trail riding
  • Horse avoids rocky paths and steps into bushes

 
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    10-04-2009, 06:40 PM
  #11
Weanling
Oh, and...

Are they just needed on the front hooves or do you all recommend the back ones as well?
     
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    10-04-2009, 06:41 PM
  #12
Foal
My horses are barefoot, too. And yes, some people think that it is wrong or strange. But the horses are fine, they go on gravel too. They are not soooo happy about it but it's not a problem.

If your horse doesn't like the gravel or if the hooves are worn too fast, I would recommend the boots. From what I've heard (never tried them myself), they work really well as long as they are the right size for your horse. Some good boots are Easy Boots and Cavallo Simple Boots (at least they are two brands very much used in Europe) And I believe that the horse is much happier with the boots occasionally than the iron shoes 24/7. Also, if your horse is only 3 years old, it would be a bit early to put on shoes, as the feet keep growing and changing until the horse is 5.
     
    10-04-2009, 06:54 PM
  #13
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenuccia    
My horses are barefoot, too. And yes, some people think that it is wrong or strange. But the horses are fine, they go on gravel too. They are not soooo happy about it but it's not a problem.

If your horse doesn't like the gravel or if the hooves are worn too fast, I would recommend the boots. From what I've heard (never tried them myself), they work really well as long as they are the right size for your horse. Some good boots are Easy Boots and Cavallo Simple Boots (at least they are two brands very much used in Europe) And I believe that the horse is much happier with the boots occasionally than the iron shoes 24/7. Also, if your horse is only 3 years old, it would be a bit early to put on shoes, as the feet keep growing and changing until the horse is 5.
Thanks Lenuccia. I'm sort of leaning towards trying out the Easy boots...

Oh, and...lol, don't worry, I won't be putting shoes on her anytime soon...as in, ever. Well, unless I have to for some reason (knock on wood).
     
    10-04-2009, 08:04 PM
  #14
Yearling
It all depends on the horse. My first horse had bad thoroughbred-ish feet, so he pretty much needed his shoes. My current horse has great feet and has been barefoot all his life, and I am not planning on putting shoes on him. Being barefoot is excellent for the horse, because when they land on their hooves, they flex the hooves ever so slightly and there is blood circulation. This helps to absorb shock. When a horse is shod, they lose that small shock absorption and the impact goes more into the leg. All you need to do is make sure that their hooves are not wearing faster than they are growing or getting tender and they should be fine.
     
    10-04-2009, 08:06 PM
  #15
Cat
Green Broke
The people who I have seen use them have only used them on the fronts.
     
    10-04-2009, 09:20 PM
  #16
Green Broke
Lori, I know how you feel...I get "attitude" from some people about my horse being barefoot as well! It sucks to hear it from people, because it makes you feel like you're not taking care of your horse properly (which is crap by the way!) I've found several good articles on riding barefoot...here are some of the best I've found...

United Horsemanship - Barefoot Event Horses: They don't just do it, they do it better!
Barefoot Horses In Action
Healthy Hoof - Solutions for Barefoot Performance


Bottom line - it all depends on the horse. As some others have said on here, some horses could never go barefoot, they just don't have the feet for it. Others will never need shoes and can do anything without them. Mine's been the latter so far and I'm hoping it stays that way! But if it doesn't, oh well, I'll slap some shoes on her, but ONLY if she NEEDS them! So many people seem to think that ALL horses need shoes, so they think that if yours doesn't have them, you're a bad owner or something...ugh...

I actually asked my farrier once about riding on rocks. My mare is the same as yours, she'll always tell me when something isn't right. And she avoids rocky terrain as well, or steps a little lightly on it...nothing too noticeable but she definitely prefers grass. My farrier said that 99% of horses will do that, shoes or no shoes. He said that if she were REALLY foot sore from being barefoot, she'd flat out REFUSE to walk forward on it at ALL. I told him my mare is pretty willing and he said "no trust me, if she was foot sore from it, she'd refuse...it would be VERY obvious and you'd know!"

So I wouldn't fret too much about it honestly...if you're worried, get some boots (I know you already saw my other thread!) or just make sure your rocky terrain time is limited to avoid issues. Also keep in mind that the more you ride on rocky terrain, the more you risk something like an abscess (which I'm going through now with mine!)...but that really goes for shod and barefoot alike! Good luck!
     
    10-04-2009, 10:30 PM
  #17
Yearling
My horses have been barefoot 3 going on 4 years. My 6 year old gelding and my 5 yo mare have never been shod. I can ride them ANYWHERE. But they just don't perform the same as if they had shoes.

I have spent $1500 on easyboots over the last 3 years. I tear the gaiters, rip buckles off, loose boots. Yes my horses do well with boots on. But I just can't afford to keep replacing the boots and parts.

This fall I gave up on the barefoot fade and put shoes on my geldings. I'm only going to leave them on for 6 weeks for the hunting season. As this is the time of year I work my horses the hardest. I'll pull the shoes at Halloween and leave them barefoot until next summer. I still think it's good for the horses to be barefoot as much as possible.

That said, it took my geldings about two rides to learn they didn't have to ride up the edge of the trails. They are "Digging In" much more powerfully when I'm climbing steep mountains. They move much stronger and quicker down any of the trails I ride. I'm amazed at how much of a positive impact it has had on their performance.

My two mares I've left barefoot. My kids usualy ride them and the lighter weight of the kids seems to help them. Also they don't get worked as often as my gledings. During hunting season I will boot or apply Soleguard to the mares feet.

If you just ask your horses to walk for a trail ride, occassionally trot /canter on parts of the trail with good footing, a barefoot horse will do fine. Especially if they have days off in between rides. Of course I see no need to put shoes or boots on for arena work or very short rides. But they will benefit from shoes/boots if you really work them day in and day out.

I'm just fed up with the problems/expenses I've had with boots and I have learned that my horses need some kind of protection for the type of riding that I do .
     
    10-04-2009, 11:03 PM
  #18
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by roro    
Being barefoot is excellent for the horse, because when they land on their hooves, they flex the hooves ever so slightly and there is blood circulation. This helps to absorb shock. When a horse is shod, they lose that small shock absorption and the impact goes more into the leg. All you need to do is make sure that their hooves are not wearing faster than they are growing or getting tender and they should be fine.
Cool, roro. I didn't know that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat    
The people who I have seen use them have only used them on the fronts.
Thanks Cat. That's what I was thinking, so I'll try it that way at first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoofprints in the Sand    
I actually asked my farrier once about riding on rocks. My mare is the same as yours, she'll always tell me when something isn't right. And she avoids rocky terrain as well, or steps a little lightly on it...nothing too noticeable but she definitely prefers grass. My farrier said that 99% of horses will do that, shoes or no shoes. He said that if she were REALLY foot sore from being barefoot, she'd flat out REFUSE to walk forward on it at ALL. I told him my mare is pretty willing and he said "no trust me, if she was foot sore from it, she'd refuse...it would be VERY obvious and you'd know!"
Ha ha, that is so funny! Sounds like your mare is like mine; polite, but she's going to speak up for herself. And thanks...I'm already paranoid about staying barefoot as it is...because people, like you said, DO sometimes act like you're just being cheap or something if you prefer not to shoe. So it's a relief to know that I'm not "abusing" my horse by not having her shod.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
If you just ask your horses to walk for a trail ride, occassionally trot /canter on parts of the trail with good footing, a barefoot horse will do fine. Especially if they have days off in between rides. Of course I see no need to put shoes or boots on for arena work or very short rides. But they will benefit from shoes/boots if you really work them day in and day out.

I'm just fed up with the problems/expenses I've had with boots and I have learned that my horses need some kind of protection for the type of riding that I do .
Thank you for the input, Painted, I will certainly keep it in mind.
     
    10-05-2009, 10:23 AM
  #19
Weanling
All my horses are barefoot as it's coming into the winter. My mare has shoes on because she always cracks...but my trail horse has always gone barefoot with no problems at all. I ride on all terrain with him and he'll walk on gravel,rocks, and so on and hasn't been ouchie afterwards
     
    10-05-2009, 12:29 PM
  #20
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori1983    
And thanks...I'm already paranoid about staying barefoot as it is...because people, like you said, DO sometimes act like you're just being cheap or something if you prefer not to shoe. So it's a relief to know that I'm not "abusing" my horse by not having her shod.
I hate that, and I've had it happen to me (recently actually) as well I actually had someone ask me "Why are you so afraid of shoes?!" I had to explain that I am NOT afraid of them and I don't care that they cost more, I care about drilling holes in my horse's feet when I don't need to! It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people shove their opinions down your throat like that. Now, again, if Sandie ever became foot sore or repeatedly got abscesses or had any other issues that shoes could correct, I would absolutely get them. But I'm relying on myself and my farrier for that choice, not others who have different horses with different situations.

Just like I don't go around telling everyone that they NEED to put sport boots on their horse's legs for tendon/ligament support, they shouldn't be telling me that I NEED shoes either. I always put sport boots on her when we're jumping, but I see a TON of people who only use splint boots or other boots that provide no support. That's fine, I'm sure they know what they're doing and know their own horse, so I don't say anything because it's not my place. But shoes are the SAME situation...it's not their place to shove their opinions down your throat and make you feel like you're not taking care of your horse.
     

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