How much can YOU do barefoot? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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How much can YOU do barefoot?

So I was just wondering, how much can YOUR horses do barefoot?

By this I mean, my horse is ouchy when walking over small rocks, like on a gravel driveway. Can your horses do stuff like that barefoot without a problem?
Also, will they get less ouchy on that stuff over time?

I'm curious as to how much you can actually do without hurting them.
For example in time could we cross a creek and stuff, or canter down a trail without having to worry about hitting rocks?

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post #2 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 08:54 AM
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All of my horse have really good feet. My mustangs and my percheron, I can lope them down a gravel road and they never miss a step unless there is an unusually large rock that they step on but they never limp and never have soreness after riding (in the feet anyway, only muscles LOL) My others, I have not ridden very much recently but I only ever had 1 horse go lame with me and that was from a stone bruise caused by chasing a stupid cow down a very rocky hill. Even him though, a few days and he was good as new.

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post #3 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Will his feet get more.. tough the more we ride on different footing?

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post #4 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 09:04 AM
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Yes, they will. Sometimes it takes a long time for them to adjust to the harsher footing and many people would advise you to get a protective boot like the easy boot or a boa. I believe that one reason that mine never really got sore is because I would alternate horses and seldom rode one for more than 2 days in a row. They would usually have at least 2 and sometimes 3 days off between rides.

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post #5 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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If I got a protective boot though.. wouldn't that sort of prevent it from getting tougher?

Also, would Keratex help? Or does that harden in a different way?

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post #6 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 09:15 AM
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No, I think you only use the boots when the footing is much harsher than they have been on before or if you notice them starting to get sore. It is kinda like putting a band-aid on a blister and have it become a callous later.

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post #7 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Would Keratex help speed up the process of toughening his hooves or is it only temporary? I've been considering hoof boots but to be honest I really would much rather not have to deal with anything that could possibly come off.

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post #8 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 10:50 AM
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NeOn Zero, both my horses go barefoot, T for the last 9 years and Walka his whole life (he's 11 now). Never a lame day, never ouchy on any terrain. They are trimmed religiously, they hooves are tough as nails, never chip ect...

Now that T is 20, I'm considering getting some hoof boots for those special times that I feel she may benefit. I guess it's more for my ease of conscious (her comfort is primary to me), since she hasn't really indicated ever that she really needs them, but would be good to have in case.
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post #9 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 04:53 PM
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The only time I ever had a problem with Cope was when we first moved to South Carolina (last May). He'd always had shoes on his front feet because I rode him enough that the rocks would tear his hooves up if he went barefoot, but he never was ouchy from stone sores or anything. The time I had problems was for only a little bit after he'd gotten his hooves trimmed for the first time here. It's sandy here, and there aren't many rocks. I rode him about a half hour after the farrier was done trimming, and he was just a little ouchy crossing the gravel drive, but on the way back in from that ride we crossed it and he did fine. It really just depends on the horse and on how comfortable you are with pushing them a little to get them used to it.

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post #10 of 41 Old 03-16-2009, 05:33 PM
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Our kids have always been barefoot. The only time I've felt the need to boot them (not shoe) is in an area where the trail owners recommended shoes. We tried it barefoot and did fine, but I wouldn't have done it for very long. It was extreme rock riding and mountainous. The rocks were large and loose so they would move with every step. I don't think shoes would have been much help either.
If you want to toughen up the feet, I suggest getting a load of rocks like what you plan on riding on and put it around their water tank. They will walk on them several times a day and "naturally" toughen up their feet.


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