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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been wondering if I need to shoe my horse rowdy. I have read articles on this but prefer to hear people's experiences. Rowdy has never had shoes on a day of his life. He grew up on really rough rocky ground and he walks on a gravel road with no problem. I have been told though that with the added weight of a rider that he could go lame with no shoes on a gravel road or trail. I don't mind shoes and will put them on if needed but I do not want to put them on if they are not needed. Any thoughts or comments are appreciated!!馃槂
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I wondered that too about my horse. I was wondering if she needed shoes to have freer forward movement. Turns out it didn't make a difference, except on this pebble limestone road where we had ended up using more often to get to trails. When we moved to a barn with no limestone road the shoes came off and she didn't need them.
 

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In my experience none of my trail horses have ever gone lame and they're all barefoot. We ride on roads, gravel and uneven ground a lot as well. My theory's always been if they have good feet they don't need shoes.
 

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Why borrow trouble? If he's not showing signs of being sore, he's probably fine. That being said, don't wait until you see him limping to assess. Look up early warning signs to tell if he's getting foot sore. Take him for an extended ride on the rocky ground shortly before your farrier comes and get their assessment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for your comments!! I'm gonna go ahead and leave him barefoot I'm hunting for a farrier right now and also plan on asking them their opinion on it soon as I mange to find one in my area:/.
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IME shoeless(meaning no conventional rims) is generally best, but not necessarily barefoot. It depends on a number of factors, mostly on the horse's environment & lifestyle and what they're expected to work on. Also diet, as to whether they can do well bare or need protection/support. Moving comfortably & correctly is important, so I believe it's vital to consider that. Generally I think hoof boots are best for this when necessary, although some times they're not appropriate or suitable for the horse/situation & rims or other alternatives are.

Rider weight does make a difference, not to mention what we may ask of them, and a horse doesn't start really developing the back of his feet until around 4yo, so if still young, may not be up to quite as much with a rider, but if your horse has grown up soundly on rough terrain & is comfortable on gravel & such, there is a good chance he'll be perfectly fine bare on the same. I'd just suggest 'listening' to what he tells you & providing protection if/when necessary, and learning about hoof form & function, etc, so you can recognise good or bad changes & factors & respond to them. Eg. If you do lots of hard riding on abrasive ground, particularly if it's sporadic, so the horse's hoof growth doesn't adapt to it & keep up, he may also need protection against excessive wear.
 

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You should ask your farrier - not a bunch of randomers on the internet. Some horses don't have hooves that stand up well to going barefoot, some horses need some transition time go tenderfooted for a while. Some horses need corrective shoeing.

That being said, I think if a horse's health or job requires him to be shod, then he should be shod. If he can chug along barefoot, then he should go barefoot.
 
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