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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello :)
Im new to the forums. I am starting competitive Trail Riding next year and my anglo mare has quite sensitive feet. She has been bare foot most of her life but for trail rides I am hearing it is recommended to have shoes with boots over top? Any suggestions?? :) Thanks:D
 

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Regarding the sensitive feet issue, impacted bars could be the cause of the sensitivity/pain.

If you're not familiar with what a healthy, properly cared for equine hoof should look like, please research to know if your farier is doing a good job for your horse.

A place to begin: Equine Lameness Prevention Organization
 

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Cincinnati--Your post confused me... Are you promoting (or not) the use of shoes? /ICan'tReadApparently
 

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A horse that has been barefoot its whole life is a blessing to me. Transitioning a shod horse to barefoot can be a long process even taking a year. I personally would NOT put shoes on your horse.

That being said the shoes vs. no shoes debate has many opinions and some people are very staunch supporters of one way or another. I have almost the exact reverse opinion as Cincinnati as I can not understand shoeing a horse unless it is absolutely needed. But I don't think one way is wrong over another way there are just different philosophy of horse care. (BTW I am a farrier who was originally trained in traditional shoeing and hot shoeing - although I now do barefoot trims almost exclusively.)

OK so if you choose to go the barefoot route here are the main things you needs to know: The thing about keeping a horse barefoot is that the trim your horse is receiving must be a correct barefoot trim. The trim your horse gets before the shoes go on WILL NOT WORK also a "pasture trim" or "brood mare trim" also will not work. The reason being that the hoof must be prepared a certain way for the shoe but in doing so most of the sole of the hoof is pared away. On a barefoot horse the sole needs to build up and callous which is what keeps the horse from getting tender. Another key point is getting the hoof correctly balanced and getting the break over of the movement correct. There is sooo much more detail in what a barefoot trim requires but this can give you a starting point - I suggest jumping on over to the hoof section for more reading because there is some great advise over there.

So now what? Well think about the kind of trims your horse is getting. Ask your farrier questions and if you need to look at finding someone who specializes in barefoot trimming. Once you have the hoofs ready for barefoot and you know what shape they will be then get some hoof boots - they really work and are a great choice.

The reason so many people don't think that horses can go barefoot is because they don't give them enough time to transition off of shoes - it can take a year. Also without the proper trim the horse will be tender. Barefoot is possible in the majority of horses with the right kind of care but it takes patience. Its not a quick fix like shoeing.
 

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I'd suggest trying boots for a little while. If they work for you then problem solved. If not, then give shoes a try. I do like to keep horses barefoot when possible, but not enough to keep them barefoot if it's keeping them from being comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank-you for the links to the other ads and the opinions. I am fairly open minded and to be closed minded wouldn't be fair to my horse. She is the one that is going to be carrying me across all the miles. I want her to be as comfortable as possible. My last farrier I believe gave her an abcess by shaving too deeply. Any recommendations besides epson salts? ( which I am already doing) Good to know I can use the boots on the trail,, I was unsure of that. Thank-you for all your replies :)
 

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I tried the barefoot process for 5 years. My two youngest horses were just coming under saddle and had never had shoes when I started going barefoot..

I could ride my horses ANYWHERE for a day. What I could not do was ride them anywhere for two or three days in a row. If I gave them a day off in between rides, they were fine. But I could not ride rocky trails multiple days in a row.

Hoof boots will provide the protection so you can ride your horse on rough rocky trails. For me, hoof boots worked fine, But were just too expensive to use all the time. I usually brought 4 horses with me, By time I spent 5 minutes on each horse putting boots on and a couple minutes per horse after the ride pulling boots, I found I was spending 30 minutes extra every ride to deal with boots. I was also trimming their feet every 2-3 weeks, so I was spending more time trimming. I can spend 3 hour to put shoes on every 6 weeks and save time.

Also I was hard on boots. I've lost my share of boots. The boots stay on just fine at a walk, But do any cantering, any lateral work like chasing cows and I would loose a boot or tear a gaiter. It seemed like every time I used boots, I was spending money to fix or replace a boot after the ride. ( remember, I usually booting up 4 horses each time)

Between the cost of fixing, replacing or the time spent putting them on, I decided my horses either were going barefoot all the time or getting shoes at least during the hard working months of summer and fall, Since my horses can not go barefoot multiple days in a row and work those days. Shoes were the best choice. So from about the 1st of June through October they get shod.

These are from a November ride. Horses were barefoot and did just fine for the day that we rode in these rocks




On another note. Look into your competitive trail riding organizations rules. Most allow boots, But some organization do not allow any protections above the cornet band. So boots with gaiters would not be allowed.
 

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I had exactly the same problem boots rubbed my mare raw after a trail ride and yes they did fit her and yes she was "broken" into them.
I think Epona shoes are the most amazing thing to come along for horses feet.
1. there shock absorbing.
2. they take the toe back.
3. they give proper frog support.
4. they support the whole hoof not just the rim.
5. there light weight.
6. the foot can toughen up with out getting stone bruised.
(where as I have found they stay sensitive in boots, But with Epona's there twice as tough as when you put them on)
7. They can be Glued, Cast, or nailed on.
8. You can use packing or mesh to stop ANY stone bruise.
9. No tripping
10. Builds up sole on a thin sole horse.
11. MUCH MORE incredible benefits.

There amazing and I wouldn't think of using anything else on my mare or other horses ever..

Ps. Metal shoes are horrific things in my opinion, I have never and will never use metal shoes and rim shoes are not comfortable for your horse at all they contract the heels and think about it your horse is landing on steel! Not rubber or flexible plastic or a shock absorbing frog its landing on exactly the place they should not bear weight on the hoof and on top of that there landing on steel.
Metal shoes are not comfortable.
The only shoe I agree with is the Epona Shoe and Barefoot if you horse is comfortable like that.
I think the ACT Trim is the way to go trim the bars take the toe back ect...
If you need help "The Happy Hoof" on youtube is the best ever trim (my opinion)

EponaShoe Flexible Polyurethane Plastic Horseshoes



Best wishes!!
 

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I guess I spoke to quick, as 99% of my riding is in rock or rocky ground. I can not see my horse going barefoot in those conditions.
I also ride on rocky trails and I really prefer shoes. Boots are a lot of trouble to me and the shoes do a great job of keeping my horses sound.
 

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I have used the Easyboot Epic on my mare for trails and loved them. There are many opinions on the topic of barefoot vs shoes. IMO I like to keep the horse barefoot and use boots for rocky terrain unless a vet/farrier recommend shoes and it proves effective for the horse's well being/comfort. Currently I have a mustang who has very tough feet but plan to get boots for him in the event we are on very bad terrain. My farrier encouraged me not to put any shoes on him, though I didn't intend to due to the condition of his hooves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank-you everyone for your answers to my question. I will keep her barefoot and I did buy a pair of boots. Hopefully this is a temporary problem and she will get back to her old self. My farrier is going to come out next week or so and discuss types of boot options. Thank-you all for your imput!
 

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I have a gelding that has been barefoot his whole life (he's 15 now). He's a Morgan so he's got super good feet. We have an Arab who we boot if we are going somewhere with rocks. We use the glove boots. Or just take them along just in case and put them on on the trail.
Barefoot vs. shoeing, that's a whole other discussion that can get heated. Check out horses competing in the Tevis in Northern Calif, one of the toughest rides in the US. Top ten horses are in easy boots - glove glue ons.
 

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Look into the anatomy if how a hoof is suppose to work and how shoes change the hoofs operation. That's why I've gone barefoot. There are reasons to go with shoes for those same reasons. It would be best if every horse owner read up on the anatomy of hooves so they can make the best informed decision for there horses health.
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