Shoes,boots or barefoot - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 25 Old 04-27-2012, 01:29 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 71
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I have a gaited Mountain Horse.

Because I live where there is much snow in the Winter, I was pulling my horse's shoes in November, and putting them back on in April. 2 years ago in April, I thought, "Why not just leave them off?" So I did, and have never looked back!

My farrier said "Even 1 nail compromises the integrity of the hoof wall, so if your horse can go shoeless, DO IT." I trail ride. Initially, there was quite a bit of chipping. But after the hoof that had had nail holes in it grew out, the chipping stopped. It is nice not to have to worry about him throwing a shoe! Now, after 2 years, my horse rarely needs trail boots. His feet just keep getting stronger and stronger. The boots that I used were Easy Boot Trail. They fit well, and have never come off, even when gaiting.

"Do you give the horse its strength, or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?" (Job 39:19)
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post #22 of 25 Old 04-27-2012, 01:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Whidbey Island Washington
Posts: 676
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I do all three....
3 horses have shoes, one MUST have them or be lame, two are going through equine search and rescue training and they highly encourage shoes. One of those two was barefoot for 6 years, and still needed boots for even a mildly rocky trail.

The other 5 are happily barefoot, though there is an occasional ride that I will shoe any horse I plan to ride for. There is lots of large crushed gravel type rock that just plain LOOKS painful, and it can pop up even in the middle of a meadow, so I prefer to have that extra clearance. If I had to ride any of my horses consistently in boots, I would probably just shoe that horse, rather than keep trying to force the barefoot issue (assuming I had given the horse adequate adjustment time).
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post #23 of 25 Old 05-01-2012, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: In Sunny, HOT and HUMID S.C.
Posts: 1,516
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I've always kept my unshod. I'll admit I've spent a year getting feet right before with a new horse that had always been shod (improved blood flow can be uncomfortable and hurt at times, as can the hoof suddenly being allowed to expand when it bears the weight without shoes, pulling heels back, etc....), but doesn't always take that long. I've never regretted taking the time though. End result has always been worth it.
I do a touch up about 4-6 weeks if needed, but I ride on pavement for at least part, if not most of every ride and that gives me enough wear to provide some self trim. The drawback is after a while the hoof tends to get very hard. I can start out trimming with the hoof knife as with my filly. Eventually I can only use a rasp to trim the hoof, which is the point my mare is about at now (not worth the effort to try the knife anymore). End up just using the knife to remove bar and trim frog. Of course nippers will remove hoof wall, but mine get enough wear that I never use the nippers.

I've never had a problem with slipping or a lack of traction. I guess if the day comes that I want to make demands on the feet of a new horse that hasn't yet been conditioned I'll look into boots, but conditioning has worked with my horses for over 40 years, so I'll stick with it until then.
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post #24 of 25 Old 05-03-2012, 10:14 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Outside of Oklahoma City
Posts: 2,653
• Horses: 6
I'm not ever on any super challenging trails, and I normally ride barefoot..Shoes are not an option, as alot of the have solid Red Rock, which can be a bit slippery with shoes.
Boots would definitely be something I'd like to look into...

Be wary of the horse with a sense of humour. - Pam Brown
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post #25 of 25 Old 05-03-2012, 10:27 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 3,391
• Horses: 2
Both of my horses are barefoot and have never been shod to my knowledge. Sarge has great feet and they are hard as rocks and he can pretty much go across anything with no problem.

Biscuit's feet weren't kept up like Sarge's have always been. I have owned Sarge almost 3 years and Biscuit 18 months. Biscuit had crappy hooves when I got him - as in old abscesses and feet that had been lopped off too short, deep thrush and contracted heels. He was tender footed as all get out. He still can but his heels are near as contracted, abscesses are nearly totally gone as they were in the middle of his soles. They took forever to grow out.

I mostly rasp his feet. He actually has nice hard walls and as soon as those soles start cupping up more he won't be as tenderfooted.

I do use Easy Boot Gloves if we are going to be in a rocky area or when I was growing out cracks. I have a pair for both horses as we have taken them to very rocky areas. I use them if needed...if not, they stay in his cantle bag.

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