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Like ive stated in previous posts ive only had my new barrel horse for three weeks. The girl who is training me on barrels (and owns the barn I board at) told me that she keeps shoes on all four of her barrel horses. I started wondering if this is something I should look into because Dixie (my new barrel mare) is barefoot. Ive also heard before that horses who havent ever had shoes or atleast not in the past couple years would walk funny and act up if they got shoes put on due to not being sure of what they are and why they are there. Does it matter in barrel racing?
 

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In my opinion, it all depends on the footing you're working on. If you only work your horse on sand in the arena, and he doesn't need any corrective shoeing, it's better to keep him barefoot. It's less expensive, and harder to mess up. If you ride on roads and the like only occasionally, you can buy horse boots.

Get shoes if you ride on hard surfaces regularly, or if your horse has major problems that need to be corrected.

I've never seen a horse react to shoes, as in walk funny afterwards.
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It depends where you compete at for barrel racing. And it depends on personal preference.

If this girl takes her barrel horses to rodeos, often it is the best idea to have the horse shoed on all 4 feet because rodeo ground has the reputation of being trashy. You can shoe for the purpose of giving the horse better traction.

But there are some rodeo horses out there that run barefoot no problem.

Typically the ground at jackpots and 4D races are better maintained and footing is usually not a big problem.

I have to have front shoes on my barrel horse for soundness issues. I also put hind shoes on him for the first time last year because I felt him "slipping" here and there on the pattern. With the hind shoes on for traction, he slips much less.

So it kinda depends on WHERE you barrel race, the individual horse, and your personal preference.

Certainly there is no rule that says you have to shoe a barrel horse.

No, they will not walk funny if they get shoes and have never had them. They might be a little unsure of the nailing going on when the shoes are put on, but as long as you have taught your horse good ground manners, they should tolerate it fine.
 

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Like some on said above me I think it depends on the horse mainly, I have friends that race with all 4 shod and some that go barefoot. As for my mare I got her barefoot and I would've rather her stayed barefoot but her feet would get so sore to where she stumbled when ever she was walking so I shod the front two hooves and shes been fine since. But like I said I think it depends on the horse.
 

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Barefoot is much better for the horse.
I disagree 100% with this.

While the vast majority of horses do just fine barefoot, there are a select few that NEED shoes.

My gelding is one of them. I have a great farrier. One of the best in the area. I bought my horse last year and kept him barefoot all year and he was fine. This year? A strange faint lameness showed up in his front end with some heel pain. We believe he is landing/loading off-center due to the fact that he is slightly pigeon-toed. With the shoes, we are able to offset them slightly to help him land/load more evenly and reduce the stress on his heels and joints. He was 100% sound within a couple weeks. It was amazing. He's never felt so good.

That's why it is incorrect to say that barefoot is always better, because that is just not the case. For my horse, you can't alter the hoof to make up for his pigeon-toed problem, because you'll just make it worse by making something else crooked. But you can alter where you place the shoe.
 

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As many people say it depends on what footing you are working your horse. My thoroughbred is barefoot, I mainly work him in a grassy pasture or soft arena with no hard rocky areas. After you determine the footing then go from there.

Plus for me barefoot is cheaper and works well for my horse so i'll go with that!
 

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Personal Preference...

But all my barre horses are shod because I run on different kinds of ground and don't want to risk anything. And JJ wouldn't be able to go without shoes because his feet are not the greatest, and he was cupping out WITH shoes on this year...I wouldn't want to be on him barefoot and try to power out of a turn.

So it is personal preference, but I won't run a barrel horse without shoes.
 

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Shoes should be for corrective reasons. If there's a need, then get shoes. If not, then don't! My wife has a great barrel racer who has shoes on his front hooves only. And that's to control an abnormal growth pattern in his hooves. My thoroughbred has not had shoes since he was rescued off the track. He's 14 now, and an absolutely awesome trail horse. His feet are really healthy and I wouldn't dream of putting shoes on him. He doesn't need them. Strictly case by case, but only if needed! That's IMO!
 

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The reason I will never put a shoe on any horse ever again is because I now understand the mechanics of the hoof.
Once I learned that the hooves are essentially auxiliary pumps for a heart that is essentially too small for an animal the size and bulk of a horse (thus affecting him when he is under stress such as racing, endurance etc), putting shoes on, which essentially prevent that pump action, seemed an appalling thing to do.
I'm not saying everyone has to go barefoot but I think it would be great if they did. The problems are finding a real barefoot farrier - it is a specialized sort of trim and then allowing however long it takes (and this varies from horse to horse) for the horse to develop good hooves after being shod.
Just my opinion ;-)
 

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The reason I will never put a shoe on any horse ever again is because I now understand the mechanics of the hoof.
Once I learned that the hooves are essentially auxiliary pumps for a heart that is essentially too small for an animal the size and bulk of a horse (thus affecting him when he is under stress such as racing, endurance etc), putting shoes on, which essentially prevent that pump action, seemed an appalling thing to do.
I'm not saying everyone has to go barefoot but I think it would be great if they did. The problems are finding a real barefoot farrier - it is a specialized sort of trim and then allowing however long it takes (and this varies from horse to horse) for the horse to develop good hooves after being shod.
Just my opinion ;-)
Hey Merlot, I feel the same way! Barefoot all the way since about 8 years ago. Boot only as needed. :)

Hey how's your " 'arry little boy" doing? I check your blog nearly every day looking for his latest adventures. :D
 

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Thanks Trailhorse,
Le 'airy little boy (Zephyr) is doing brilliantly. His Muzzerr is back home and in the next door paddock which is lovely. I've been too busy to write another Zephyr Memoir...must get on to it!!!
Thanks for checking in on him ;-)
 
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