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Should a Horse be Barefoot or Shod?

  • Barefoot

    Votes: 11 25.6%
  • Shoes

    Votes: 2 4.7%
  • Depends on the horse

    Votes: 30 69.8%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In your opinion should a horse be barefoot or shod? Some say a horse should not be shod because each time the nails are pulled it hurts the horses hooves. Others say its natural for a horse to be barefoot so we shouldn't shoe them. There are those who say horses must be shod and those who say it depends on the horse. It saves a lot of money if you don't shoe a horse but does the horse need shod? What do you think? Please tell what you think and why you think it.

What would you suggest for a horse that is only doing VERY, VERY low-key barrel racing and mainly just being ridden in the pasture, round pen or the occasional trip on a road/trail?
 

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Do YOUR research. Not shoeing a horse only makes sense for some horses. My horses stay shod when I'm using them because the wear on thier hooves exceeds the growth. If your horse isn't like that and you don't ride in rocky areas then by all means leave it bare. Shoeing a horse is not unhealthy for it and in many cases can HELP a horse move better.

I suggest you try some research besides Pete Ramey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
kjr5horses- I kind of lean towards barefoot too. Major wore shoes for quite a while. He did just as good- if not better- without shoes. He would always end up losing his left hind (I believe it was left hind) shoe anyway about half way before it was time to get him shod again.
 

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unless there is an orthopedic need for shoes, I think it's best to leave them barefoot. better for circulation and shock absorption, and is less likely to cause joint conditions down the road.
 

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I'm going to have to go with depends on the horse, although there should be another option "depends on the type of riding". I always keep my horses barefoot unless we're going to be riding on terrain in which shoes would be beneficial (a few days on asphalt, rocky terrain, etc).

Also depends on if the horse has a hoof issue in which shoes benefit him more than being barefoot. I had a little gaited gelding many years back who was extremely tender footed on his front feet. Had several extensive exams to find out why but could never pinpoint a problem. Shoes made him comfortable though. Barefoot, he hurt to walk.
 

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My boy was 5 years barefooted before I got him but he just couldn't handle it for the longevity of riding that we do so I put shoes on him. And now he has griptec or something like that on there so he doesn't slide because he doesn't like to pick his feet up all the time. And it helps with his pigeon toed ness. I do wish I could of kept him barefooted though
 

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I have mostly left my horses barefoot with regular visits by the farrier for trimming and proactive care. I take my farriers advice on how a particular horse wears and grows his feet and act accordingly. A good farrier will tell you if they need them or not. Mine have always been honest folk and care more for the horse and not their pocket books.
Some of my horses have never needed shoes and with good diet/footing and excellent genetics my farrier groans when it's their turn for a trim. I've had a few (especially my old gelding) who had terrible soft feet that could not be ridden on trails without. If I was only doing arena work, had them turned out on good firm pasture with excellent forage and they had hard balanced feet then I would see no reason for them. If I were riding regularly on hard surfaces or they showed any signs of damage/chipping or tenderness they would get a pair. As for shoes damaging feet I have seen cases where a shoe was put on/taken off incorrectly or left on too long. The search for a great farrier is the most important factor, bad farriers equal bad feet.
 

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Honestly I think it depends the horse. There's a horse at my stable that required some corrective shoes and she is doing very well with them now. I'm lucky with my mare she has good hooves and I've left her barefoot the whole time I've had her. Talk to your farrier first and then you can make an informed decision.
 

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It depends on the horse....some horse have great feet and can go without having to have shoes, but some have crap feet that can't hold up being barefoot.

I barrel race and rodeo so I don't care how good my horses feet are they are going to have shoes if they are performance horses. We run on so many different types of grounds and are on asphalt and pavement a lot along with having to ride across gravel lots. So I want my horses to stay sound with everything that we do.
 

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Largely depends on the horse. There is no "one size fits all" scenario for shoes vs barefoot. Best to consult your farrier to decide together what is best for the individual horse, depending on the hoof health and work load etc.

My horse is barefoot and see no need for shoes so far. If that changes i would do whatever is best for her.
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If you have a horse with good feet and are not doing a lot of road work then barefoot is fine.
I doubt if any of mine would take the amount of roadwork and be sound.

Shoeing has its place.

This horse had never been shod, was unsound, thin soled and had sand cracks that were getting worse.



Sound after this

 

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It's not a matter of which way I prefer. It all depends on what the horse needs.

I've never had my horses shod because they've never needed shoes. If they did need shoes for whatever reason, I'd have them shod.
 

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There is no better way than the other. It depends on your horse's needs. If they do better barefoot, then have them barefoot. If they do better with shoes, then leave them with shoes.
 

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While I personally prefer my horses to be barefoot, I know that I only ride on relatively soft, smooth surface, and my horses have great feet. I didn't even answer the poll. Too many variables between horse, discipline, surfaces ridden on, what they are turned out on.....if they are.......really an individual decision.
 
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