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Discussion Starter #1
So my gelding that I compete barrels on seems to get sore feet when riding to the arena. I have to ride him 1km to the arena on a dirt road. But sometimes the village puts the rocks and dirt on the road and after riding him there and practicing then riding home, he is really sensitive on his feet. So last summer I got front shoes on him and he seemed to be ok. But my question would be: Does having just front shoes leave him unbalanced? Should I get all 4 shoes this summer? And would there be any way to protect his feet without putting a boot on him?
 

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I used to ride to the local rodeos and compete too.

The situation may very by dint of living conditions and other good stuff.

We rode often on the road ways.
If your horse is distressed by the environment you're riding him on. I would suggest boots for him. exclusively for the ride there and back. I would go with something that Cross Country riders use just for reassurance of not losing them lol. My largest problem with boots was loosing them on the trails or just on the roadway. lol

I have knowledge of riding with 4 shoes on the pavement and it makes for a dangerous situation. Roughly on any slick surfaces. The majority of horses obtain front shoes only. They shouldn't pitch your horse off to a noticeable degree.
 

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One of the geldings I used to exercise had sensitive soles and would NOT go over gravel. Once he had front shoes on he was fine, never had any issues. He's not a barrel horse but I'd imagine after and adjustment period they should be just fine!
 

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If your horse is uncomfortable/sore on certain surfaces, you need to provide *adequate protection to allow him to be comfortable & not do damage to sensitive feet. Eg. not only is it obviously painful for him, but riding on stony roads with unprepared/unhealthy hooves is likely to result in stone bruises which can cause abscesses & such. He will also not be using his feet properly so potential for other problems too. If hoof boots aren't appropriate, if conventional shoes are, padding is also necessary, for support & protection under the foot.
 

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My mare had iron hard hooves. I put her on green soft pasture in the South East. When I brought her back, I took her for a few short rides, I did not boot her b/c, I reasoned, they were short rides. She got hoof bruises from going from soft to rock hard terrain. So, like others have said, until they are conditioned to a given more unforgiving terrain...short distances or not, protect them tootsies.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't have boots and don't really see the need if he has shoes on. I do thank y'all for your suggestions and will take them all into consideration :)
 

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I don't have boots and don't really see the need if he has shoes on. I do thank y'all for your suggestions and will take them all into consideration :)
Depends on what surfaces you're on & what the shoes are for, as to the point of shoes, boots or pads. Boots protect the whole foot, namely the sole & frog. Conventional rims do not.

Rims protect the ground surface walls from wear, they lift the bottom of the foot slightly off the ground, which can reduce likelihood of stone bruises to soles from very small stones. Shoes can enhance grip in slippery situations. Shoes, due, I think mostly to peripheral loading & constant pressure on the coronary & circumflex arteries, reduce feeling to the feet. Shoes on hard surfaces without support of pads under the hooves can be problematic due to concussion and peripheral loading(walls bearing the load), allowing the foot to 'sink' within the capsule and the sole become thinner. They also restrict further development of the heels & soles, due to lack of good function.

So... don't think shoes are necessarily problematic, but in your situation, talking of working your horse on gravel roads, that your horse's hooves aren't up to coping with, I would absolutely be protecting the bottom of his hooves, and ensuring you also provide support under them, so they're not peripherally loaded if shod. So if not boots, which would be my choice if practical, he needs pads anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
but in your situation, talking of working your horse on gravel roads
I'm not working him on gravel roads, I'm simply walking him to the arena. I do try to avoid having to walk on it, but that's hard to do. I will ask the farrier about pads next time he is out. Thank you :)
 

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If he were mine I would pull the shoes and get a pair of well fitting boots and use them only for walking to the arena. They would last a looong time doing this and would pay for themselves over time vs. the cost of reapplying shoes every 6-8 weeks.

I'm not against shoes but keep my horses barefoot and boot as needed as I dislike the inconvenience of them throwing a shoe, one coming loose etc. Especially since my farrier lives over an hour away and it would be a long wait to get a shoe tacked back on.
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I'm not working him on gravel roads, I'm simply walking him to the arena. I do try to avoid having to walk on it, but that's hard to do. I will ask the farrier about pads next time he is out. Thank you :)
You wrote; "I have to ride him 1km to the arena on a dirt road. But sometimes the village puts the rocks and dirt on the road and after riding him there and practicing then riding home, he is really sensitive on his feet."

If you're not doing that, only working him in an arena, you may be able to do without pads.
 
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