Originally Posted by Cielo Notturno View Post
Most horses who live 24/7 in a box need shoes so the iron can protect them from pee.
Of course, standing in gluppity glup is not good for hooves. Standing around in a clean
stable or yard... or even paddock, if the horse is not motivated to exercise(eg horses kept singularly in paddocks where feed & water is in one spot.) - is not good for the horse & hoof strength is one of the things that suffer. Iron(or otherwise) shoes do not protect the feet from urine or such, just help hold them together when they're in bad shape.
She is out for half the day in a rocky, muddy more natural paddock and in half the day in a very clean, deeply bedded stall. She's ridden mostly in the arena but I've started taking her on roads and trails too. The trimmer recommended that I spray iodine on the bottom of her hooves once or twice a week to dry them out and stop thrush (a lot of horses have thrush in my area). We live in a very wet climate.
What brand of boots work best?
That she is cooped up for half the time, and that she lives in mud are problems, which makes it a lot more likely she will need hoof protection in certain situations. Keeping her out in a paddock with a herd would generally be much better, BUT then she may be in mud 24/7, which stabling may provide the only respite from. In that case, I'd be keeping her stabled for a few hrs daily at least, in the wet seasons, to have at least a small amount of time to be dry & clean each day.
Re thrush & wet feet, yes, they will be far more 'prone' than dry environment hooves. I'd be cleaning her feet when you bring her in & packing her feet, sulcii etc, with salt. That will help dry them out & also kill any bugs. Volcanic/active clay is another alternative/additive. Mixing clay & salt will help it stick too. If thrush is already a problem, I'd also be spraying with ACV or t-tree daily
. Iodine will also work, though not so much to dry out feet, but it is deactivated with contact from dirt & air, which makes it very short acting on hooves & twice weekly, esp for a horse living in mud, would be not much point.
What kind of boots? Generally speaking, the best boots for your particular horse are the ones that fit her best. They come in different shapes & sizes & the biggest factor is fit. Then there are questions of easy of use, toughness(eg do you do serious hard, long riding in rough country or only shorter, easier trail rides?), etc. If you look at the Easycare Downunder site; Easycare Down Under - largest range Easycare hoof boots & Easyshoes - Hoof Boot Range & Sizing info
you will find some good info on why & how to choose the most appropriate boots for your situation. Renegades are another good boot brand to consider, along with Easycare's range.
Don't worry about boots. She may or not be tender on gravel but the positive is it will help toughen her soles.
Afraid Saddle, I have to very strongly disagree with you on that. It is something that really irks me, that this idea(I think legacy of Dr Strasser) still persists. It is a common source of problems & injury of horses who's too little educated owners wish to 'transition them'. As such it is also a very common reason for ill advised people saying 'I tried barefoot but it didn't work'.
If you have only ever gone bare on carpet & someone forced you to run bare on gravel(& with extra weight on your back), or if you'd just had a few hrs soak in the bath & someone made you do the same(like a horse that lives in mud who's feet are soft).... or imagine if you had a foot problem - perhaps you've always needed arch supports, perhaps you've burned your feet or otherwise have little skin & callus protecting the soles at the moment.... If you were forced to just 'suck it up' & put up with being 'ouchie', then you may well eventually still 'toughen up', but at the expense of a lot of suffering & potentially serious injury in the meantime. If however, you were sensible about it, and protected/supported your feet when necessary, to allow you to do as much as possible bare without injury or much discomfort, your feet will become tougher, quicker, without any suffering.
Agree with Beau, that IME traction is one reason you may choose to shoe, that for jumping & speed events, boots may not be good enough for this. Just that I wouldn't be shoeing a 3yo horse regardless - I wouldn't be jumping/racing an immature horse, or doing much at all on the back of a 3yo & wouldn't put shoes on a horse prior to maturity either(rare, orthopedic reasons aside).