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Are shoes necessary?

This is a discussion on Are shoes necessary? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • My horses feet have become smaller since going barefoot
  • Boots on chipped hoofs

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    08-14-2011, 09:42 AM
  #21
Foal
I agree that shoeing requires little more than good trimming as far as obedience goes. On a hard trails, they really can tear up and fall off.
     
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    08-14-2011, 10:33 AM
  #22
Weanling
I like boots way better than nail on shoes. I ride endurance, and easy boots have held up to even the tevis cup. I don't know if a draft would have fitment issues with the boots though. They have some monster feet, lol.
     
    08-14-2011, 02:22 PM
  #23
Weanling
I just got back from a week in the Gospel Hump Wilderness Area riding mostly very, very, rocky trails. Think gravel size to sofa size rocks. Ups and downs comparable to climbing onto a picnic table bench then onto the table, or vise versa. Washed out steep trails covered with loose rock. You get the idea, I think.

Mr. Big is barefoot and did fine. On the fourth day I could tell he was a bit sore footed, but not bad. He had no cracking nor serious chipping of the hoof walls.

I used Easy Boot Epics the first day and a half and for a few minutes on the fourth day. Halfway into the second day he stumbled/fell down a ledge (the guy behind me was sure he'd broken a let but he was fine) and lost a boot so I took them off.

On day four I put boots on shortly after lunch. He kept losing one of them in some bogs we had to cross. Up to this point the "lost" boots were held on by the gaiters. But as we were going over/around some down trees in the trail he lost his boot again--and the gaiter tore out and the boot was gone. No telling where. (Happy ending: some other trail users found the boot and returned it to us at camp that night! I was more concerned about "littering" than losing the boot so I'm glad they returned it!)

The boot that kept coming off in the bog was brand new and I think the cable was too long, perhaps--we ended up crossing them to tighten them and the boot still came off and got lost.

I now have three Epics with trashed gaiters. I like the boots--but I do have trouble with them coming off, sometimes. I'm thinking about designing my own gaiters that will keep the boots from getting lost if they come off.

Part of the problem is his feet are a bit wide which means it's hard to get a good fit for him. But ALL our horses have wide feet so it seems to be a common problem. Perhaps, someday, there'll be a boot that actually fits horses with less than perfectly shaped feet. Perhaps. Someday. Maybe. Sigh.
     
    08-14-2011, 02:34 PM
  #24
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorGriz    

Part of the problem is his feet are a bit wide which means it's hard to get a good fit for him. But ALL our horses have wide feet so it seems to be a common problem. Perhaps, someday, there'll be a boot that actually fits horses with less than perfectly shaped feet. Perhaps. Someday. Maybe. Sigh.
I think wide feet come with going barefoot. My horses hoofs grew a couple sizes after I quit shoeing. My farrier said that happened to all the horses he stopped shoeing.
     
    09-01-2011, 03:48 PM
  #25
Yearling
I'll never understand places requiring shoes. My horses have always been unshod (the ones I had from youth never saw shoe). Use to take off on long weekends and did 30+ miles a day with my AQH back in the 70's. Paved road, gravel, rocks, grass, dirt, mud, even swam swollen streams at times. Had everyone telling me that I was going to ruin their feet and have problems, because I didn't shoe them. Never had a foot problem or a lame day in their life. The vet finally admitted that my horses feet were as good as the best in the county.

Today it's accepted by most of the medical community that shoeless is better for the horse. Ok, so you might need to toughen them up, but since your mount has already reached that point it seems pretty stupid (if not unhealthy) to require you to put shoes on him.

I'd tell the "powers that be" to get a better education horse foot health.

(ok, I'm off my soapbox :)) )
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    09-01-2011, 08:52 PM
  #26
Yearling
I'm fed up with boots and barefoot. Two of my horses have never had shoes until this summer ( they are 7 & 6 yo) I been a major source of income for Easyboot. Just as Salior Griz comments, I tear gaiters every trip and loose the the occassional boot. I started with Easyboots plain, then bought EPICs, then bought BARES and now have the Gloves. They work just fine, but they are too expensive to keep repairing and replacing. With four horses, I'm usually end up being the one that has to go around and put 16 boots on and take 16 boots off. It takes too much time every ride.

Since I committed to going barefoot 5 years ago, I've learned to trim my own horses feet. Got too expensive to have the trimmer out every 2-3 weeks to trim. So he taught me how and I'm thankful for the knowledge. That first year we alternated trimings, I would trim and 2 weeks later he would trim and critc my trim. I learned a lot and feel comfortable with trimming.

I could ride my bare foot horses on any trail for a day. The problem was I couldn't ride them 2-3-4 days straight, It really depends on the type of rocks. This past memorial day I decided I had had enough. We went down to ride the area around Bryce Canyon. Horses did great the first day, Half way through the second day, they were getting tender footed and by the end of the day, They all needed their boots. I destroyed numerous gaiters and lost one boot on the next day. The decision was made, If my horses can not go barefoot all the time, I would rather put shoes on than keep messing with boots. It was just costing me too much in repairs, replacements and time. Too often I have friends, guest, and other non-horsey people on my horses, So the chores are all mine.

I put shoes on all my horses the 1st of July. With my experience in trimming, I decided I would try shoeing. Had my old farrier come out and check my work, He said I did great. Shoes all stayed on and I just pulled them last week and will be reshoeing them next week for the fall hunting season. I bought 16 shoes for less than what one gaiter cost to replace. I spent 2 hours shoeing the horses, But that was less time than what I would have spent over 7-8 weeks of putting on and taking off boots. And it was time spent back at the house vs putting boots on while I have people standing around wanted to get on and ride.

My horses will still spend 8 months a year barefoot. But for the hardest riding part of the year, They will now wear shoes.

This is what my boots looked like after a weekend at Bryce



And this is what we were riding across. The rocks around Bryce are very angular and sharp vs be round and worn.

I found it's not the big rocks that are the problem but the smaller ones


Here are some pictures of my horses when they were barefoot riding through some rocky areas like sailorgriz describes above



     
    09-01-2011, 08:58 PM
  #27
Trained
I keep shoes on my horses that actually get ridden. I also got tired of lost boots, cracked hooves, stone bruises. It is WAY less trouble to put shoes on and forget it for 6 weeks or so.
     
    09-02-2011, 04:56 AM
  #28
Trained
IF your horses have feet that don't do well barefoot :]

My horses are barefoot and I just forget about them - And no chance of lost shoes. Never had a stone bruise in 11+ years, no cracked hooves, have a pair of hoof boots just in case but never used them :]

Definitely the easiest way for me!
     
    09-03-2011, 02:01 AM
  #29
Trained
Talked to the farrier again a couple of weeks ago when he came out to shoe my friend's mare. He looked at Aires' feet again (just to get Aires more used to the farrier...we're still having issues with him liking most men) and was amazed that they hadn't grown very much and they hadn't really chipped at all. He doesn't think we'll need shoes, but he said the only way to find out is to try him on the rougher trails. So, as soon as we get our stopping issues worked out, we're going to try the trails.
     

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