Barefoot Dilema - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Barefoot Dilema

I'd like some advice from some of you have gone barefoot after having your horse previously shod. My gelding COULD have really good feet, I have no doubt he could go barefoot. He currently has front shoes on with a terribly hack job from the farrier, I'm not going to even get into that, lets just say I have never been more ticked off with him than the last time he came. So I really would like to pull my geldings front shoes and go barefoot (already did my laid up mare). I am able to trim him myself, his hinds have already cleaned up nicely, but I obviously can't do anything with his fronts with shoes on.

My dilema is that I would like to get him boots for trail riding on rocky/gravel areas until his feet have toughened up. However I cannot measure him for boots with the shoes on now, as he has a ton of flare, lopsided foot, and terribly unbalanced... so obviously when he is done properly his foot is going to be different. We are planning on a trail riding trip the 3rd week of October. So do I pull his shoes now, trim him up properly, give him a couple days off from riding until I can get the right size boots? Or keep the shoes he is wearing now and wait(problem with that is that he has only had them on 3 weeks, and my husband has already had to tighten the clinches (sp?) so he might loose one riding by them time 5-6 weeks come around)

Last edited by horseluver250; 09-27-2010 at 08:49 AM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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I realize I am going to get, why didn't you get a new farrier? Well he is the third farrier we have had in the area, and basically the only one we could even get to come out that we could afford. I know other really good farriers, but I just cannot afford $150+ for front shoes every 6-8 weeks.
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 09:03 AM
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Please dont be offended with what I have to say. Its just my opinion. First off, how much do you know about trimming horses feet? It is so important for you to understand the balance and trimming of feet. One thing I do if I cant get my farrier out right away and my mare desperatley needs a trim is trim myself. But only, if it is severe to where she starts tripping or splitting. And I only take a bit off. But I still have my farrier out to correct my trim. Now with shoes, I think you need to be careful taking them off and trimming. Your horse is going to be sore because he is used to walking with the way his feet are now. I wish I could send you my farrier. She is awsome. She went to school for balancing and how trimming can affect a horses gait. She is very thourough and doesnt do any unnecessary trim. Why did your horse have shoes on in the first place? Just wondering. I had a QH I had shoed because of terrain on the trails we used to ride. But like you said now you can get boots for them. Those sound wonderful for rough terrain. I would use them on my horse. She is sensitive to rocks and such. I wouldnt wait to long to do something about the shoes if his feet are outgrowing the shoes. Not good on his legs. Whatever you decide to do, just becareful and hopefully you can find a decent farrier that cares about their work. Oh by the way,,,, have fun on your trail ride, it sounds like soooo much fun. I wish I could do that too.
I just read about the amount of farriers you have gone thru but think of this.... Better to make sure you have a good farrier this time to take shoes off and trim real good than to have a crappy farrier ruin your horses feet and legs for a life time. I know its expensive but it can be more expensive to fix a foot or leg issue in the long run. Once you take those shoes off and ride barefoot you wont need to pay so much the next time for a decent trim. Good luck.

Last edited by mbender; 09-27-2010 at 09:06 AM.
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 09:07 AM
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This was, in a way, how I got my start. All my horses started with bad, overgrown, flared feet in the beginning, and I went through several local farriers and never found one I wasn't "fixing" their work after they left. This is also what Amarea is going through right now with her mare Rain in transitioning to barefoot.

You don't want to try to measure for boots with the feet in bad shape. Get the shoes pulled (pay a farrier to JUST come and pull shoes if you have to) and trim your horse down, removing flares as best you can for the time being. Transitioning to barefoot is NOT an instant thing, it can take time and need quite a bit of support from you. Plan on once a week or every two weeks trim schedule of your horse for the near future, to get his feet back in shape, and expect it to take a while for healthy feet to grow to the ground - it can take 6 months to even as long as a year, depending on how bad of shape they are in.

Don't assume you can buy one pair of boots and stick with them. Chances are you will need to get him boots that fit him for now, and lower sizes as the flaring grows out and the fit changes. Amarea has found an easy boot trading group, where people trade used boots amongst each other. I'll ask her to come on this thread and give you the details.

There are some VERY educated members on this forum that can offer some tips and help you out along the way, I was lucky to have someone giving me some tips from the beginning.

Good luck with it and feel free to pm me with questions, I've not been doing it long, and there are certainly more experienced members on the forums here than I am. But I now trim the feet on all the 9 horses in my care, and have seen a LOT of improvement.


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post #5 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 09:26 AM
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I don't do barefoot but I'm going to comment anyway. If you can trim a hoof to be balanced and level then you are 90% of the way to getting a shoe on. Nailing a shoe on is not terribly difficult. A poor barefoot trim is no better for a horse than a poor shoeing job so make sure you are educated enough to do a good job and continue to improve.

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post #6 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 09:26 AM
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Try HoofBootExchange on yahoo. It's a yahoo group but I have seen all brands and all sizes come across both for sale and trade!

Good Luck!

*Dreams are within reach, you just have to go that extra mile to catch them*
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinshorses View Post
I don't do barefoot but I'm going to comment anyway. If you can trim a hoof to be balanced and level then you are 90% of the way to getting a shoe on. Nailing a shoe on is not terribly difficult. A poor barefoot trim is no better for a horse than a poor shoeing job so make sure you are educated enough to do a good job and continue to improve.

Agreed 100%!!


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post #8 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 09:34 AM
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Sorry for the double, but I also want to again stress the point it WOULD be wise to hire a farrier to come remove the shoes for you rather than tackling it yourself. It's easy to do damage and bruise the sole if you don't know the correct way to do it or don't have the proper equipment.


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post #9 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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I have not done my own trimming in a number of years, as most of my horses have been shod and I have a bad back. I started doing my mare after having her shoes pulled off last time the farrier was out and my back has been okay. I just have to take frequent breaks, which the horses don't seem to mind.
My husband has pulled shoes to help out a farrier friend, so I dont' need the farrier out. I personally would have fired the farrier months ago if it wasn't for my husband and mother in law wanting to "give him another chance" and keep giving excuses for him. Thats entirely up to them if they want their horse's to still be done by him, I choose not to.
Indyhorse, I would really appreciate info on the trading group. I did figure I would need a bigger size now, I was looking around for used pairs so then I can maybe trade down a size later on. The amount of flare he has is going to take 3-4 months to grow down. From what I have read on barefoot transitions, I am most likely looking at at least a year before he might be comfortable going without boots. Our pastures aren't rocky, so I don't see any problems with him going barefoot there.
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-27-2010, 09:41 AM
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Horseluver250, see the yahoo group Amarea posted above, that was the one I was talking about. My pasture has some rocky spots, but not many, and my horses have been pasture sound since day one, but 2 of mine and 1 of Amarea's need boots for riding off property at this point. My mare likely always will. My big draft gelding is still being worked on, he can ride without boots perfectly fine as long as we avoid rockier areas. The rest of my horses (and the others on the property) go across rocks and gravel like it isn't even there. But my big gelding Claymore and my mare Freyja did both take close to a year to get to this point. My gelding has been ridden, booted, throughout, my mare did need several months off (but this was more related to arthritis issues. Her feet were a steady improvement since the day I took over her trimming.)


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