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Hi everyone, I've decided to transition my mare out of shoes permanently. I know that this may be a bit of a journey and am hoping to post progress, questions and photos here and form kind of a support group :D

My mare is a sensitive chestnut 12 year old 17 hh Swedish Warmblood. We are starting dressage training but keep coming up against hoof/leg/muscle development issues - my trainer suggested we try her barefoot.

Barefoot trimmer pulled her back shoes a few days ago and only trimmed a little since she did not want to make too much of a change right away. Her back hooves were crumbly and she had thrush under the shoes. I've never seen her feet look so bad.

Next appointment is Monday when we will be pulling the front shoes and trimming the back again. We may do casts/boots or glue on shoes depending how she goes when the fronts are pulled.

Mare lives in a large dry lot paddock with shelter that is gravel on one end and packed dirt on the other. Area between paddocks and arena are all sharp gravel and most horses are ouchy walking there.
She is walking confidently across the gravel with the back shoes off.

Any and all suggestions and success stories of this transition period is very welcome!
 

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Durasole, boots and getting the thrush under control will go a long way to helping the transition so smoothly for your mare. Some beer, wine, or other beverage will go a long way for you during the transition ;)


Every horse is different and will transition differently. Some take years to get fully comfortable while others seem to transition in a matter of days. Just keep in tune with your mare and be ready to change course if you need to to keep her comfortable.


Best of luck!
 

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Sounds like your trimmer has many options to pull from. That is good. Dont forget to address all 4 areas that contribute to overall hoof health and strength for the greatest success. Diet, Trim, Movement & Environment. All 4 hold each other's hand in the quest for a strong healthy bare foot. Good luck and we look forward to pictures.
 

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Hi, my advice - educate yourself the best you can, rather than just leaving it up to the trimmer to do/advise stuff. As Trinity mentioned, there are many factors aside from hoofcare that go into creating a healthy, sound horse. Check out the thread link in my signature. So what's the update? You wrote this mid June & haven't been back to it....
 

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Hi, all,
Glad I found the thread. I have recently gotten a four year old paint - love him!! - who has always been barefoot on rocky trail and in hard ground pasture with his herd growing up.

One of my helpers said he seemed ouchy the other day re tiny rocks on the trail - suggested boots. Wouldn't he have needed boots long ago if that were an issue? I know many of us project our stuff on to our horses and other animals...

The farrier saw him last week and said he looked great.

I really don't want to over-mother him! He's got a great mind and a sweet and peaceful presence. I read up on boots. Taking an hour to orient him to them sounded stressful for him.

Thoughts appreciated. Thanks for listening to an anxious new mom! I'd forgotten what bonding to a new baby horse was like re sleeplessness!

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A change in diet, Any degree of illness, even aging can really affect hoof soundness.

You might want to evaluate what he used to eat, compared to what he is eating now, including hay and grasses. Even drought can affect hooves as it changes the quality of grass that a horse has always been on:)

I doesn't take an hour every time to acclimate a horse to boots, lol. I have stuck boots on three of my horses and rode right out the driveway without issue. BUT the key is knowing the boots fit properly:)
 

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A change in diet, Any degree of illness, even aging can really affect hoof soundness.

You might want to evaluate what he used to eat, compared to what he is eating now, including hay and grasses. Even drought can affect hooves as it changes the quality of grass that a horse has always been on:)

I doesn't take an hour every time to acclimate a horse to boots, lol. I have stuck boots on three of my horses and rode right out the driveway without issue. BUT the key is knowing the boots fit properly:)
Ha...misspoke. An hour the first time! Thanks for the feedback. Will ask re the feed... Helpful!
 

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Hi & welcome!

Hi, all,
Glad I found the thread. I have recently gotten a four year old paint - love him!! - who has always been barefoot on rocky trail and in hard ground pasture with his herd growing up.
As a 4yo, his feet will only be just beginning to mature in the caudal region(back, digital cushions), assuming the conditions are good for him to do so. It does make a difference, the extra weight of a rider on their back too(try walking on gravel barefoot yourself, then carry something heavy & do it...).

Diet, environment, hoof infections, amount of exercise... all make a difference to hoof health. Great that you've found this thread - & hopefully my links - helpful, because if you start now & give him what he needs to develop great feet, he should have a long lifetime of soundness!

That's not to say he may not still sometimes need protection, and if he's not comfortable, not only is he potentially in danger of direct injury - stone bruises, etc - but he won't be moving properly & can risk other damage so doing as well. So yes, it's a good move, and you're not 'babying' him to provide it when necessary. Boots are generally a great option if/when needed.
 
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