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Surrendering to Shoes, Need Support

2667 Views 30 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Smilie
Hi,

I just agreed to have PJ, my four year old paint, shoed for the first time. The trainer, who I trust, had been mentioning it last week. My helper had been saying he needed shoes or boots for trail - that the rocks were troubling his feet.
I just wanted to keep him natural. My 20 year old quarterhorse has had shoes all his life, special shoes, for special knees. I never needed a "natural" horse.
But PJ was never shod.
He grew up on hard dirt and rocks.
But now that he's in training for the first time, it's apparent that he needs shoes. I just started crying with this big sadness for him. The trainer said he'll be happier. I guess I can have them removed if they don't prove to be the solution for him.

I am not at a big training barn like I was when my first horse was young. I found this forum to give and get support because I am not surrounded by helpful voices... just a few... and my own gut, which has only raised up one horse for the past 18+ years.

Wow. So sad! Didn't expect this... Would love to hear experience, strength? Got some hope out there for just trusting the process of this new horse and me? He is smart, his training is going well...

Thanks in advance,
bg
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Really good shoeing isn't the devil's own practice and I see nothing to feel sad about
My horses go through the winter 'barefoot' I have any shoes removed when we stop riding but by this end of the year I can have different things going on for each horse - one is still barefoot, 3 have shoes on the fronts and 1, as of two weeks ago, now has shoes all around.
If my horses start to feel as if they aren't going as well as they should be because their feet are getting too worn down or sore they get shod, hooves that are getting broken and cracked or splitting because the horse isn't handling the ground conditions are IMO better off with shoes on - or boots if you are happier with those
 

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Horses have been shod for thousands of years. You are attached to a romantic idea which isn't reality-based. Most horses are going to need some kind of protection whether boots or shoes, when worked consistently on harder surfaces. My mare was barefoot all her life until put into harder work. She got tender in the fronts as a lot of trails around here are gravel or rock or sand, so I put shoes on her fronts. I'll take them off when it gets muddy this winter. Doing what works for your horse is all that really matters.
 

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this was my first summer dealing with shoes, i wasn't a fan of having to go the route of shoes but my mare's feet kept flaking/cracking with how dry this spring was.

next spring will see what the farrier says, keeping her on Source HF along with her purina enrich and the farrier has said how great her feet are with the addition of the Source & shoes, lots of new hoof hard hoof, and lots of miles on the shoes.

threw a shoe at the start, then had one come a bit loose so that is why i'm not a "fan" of shoes, but they are needed for my mare this year so she got em.

so not the end all be all of your horse's feet, like i said I plan on going barefoot this winter and leaving it up to the farrier what he does next spring based upon what her feet are telling us
 

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I hear what you are saying, but shoes are sometimes necessary. My mare had rock hard feet, but I did put shoes on her in the summer for trail riding. She was sometimes ouchie on stones and she would wear her feet uneven. I pulled the shoes every winter. She did well. I would have preferred to have her barefoot, but for her comfort it wasn't an option.
 

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Although it's very useful to know and to consider what is natural to horses living in the wild, it's also good to realize that very little of what we do with them is going to come up to those standards. Horses don't need shoes in the wild because they wander very slowly all day randomly eating stuff off the ground, which most riders are not all that into participating in to any great extent.
 

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I'm in the same boat OP, I really really really wanted to keep Dreams barefoot fo evah. But while he's perfectly sound riding in the arena, I've noticed lately that he's a bit ouchie when travelling over gravel, rocks, etc. I'm a little bummed that I can't keep getting "discounts" when the farrier comes along, but it's nothing to be sad over. It is what it is. If he needs shoes, then he'll get shoes - because even though I prefer to keep my horses barefoot whenever possible, their comfort and soundness is more important than my ideals. So I've just been tapping rocks and things on his feet, doing what I can to get him used to that kind of stuff so he's not scared for the farrier.
And in a week or two, he'll have shoes on. *shrugs* That's just the way it goes sometimes.

-- Kai
 

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I just agreed to have PJ, my four year old paint, shoed for the first time. The trainer, who I trust, had been mentioning it last week. My helper had been saying he needed shoes or boots for trail - that the rocks were troubling his feet.
Yeah, for one reason or another, horses frequently can't cope well on rough/stony ground, without protection/support. It's really important, if you want what's best for your horse, to do your own homework on the subject. On that note, to start you off, check out the thread link in my signature line below. Barefoot is not necessarily for the best, for the horse, IME.

And I don't believe even conventional rim shoes are necessarily a bad option. But as a rule, there are far better & more appropriate options. Especially for an immature horse, whom I wouldn't consider putting conventional metal rims on, unless as a rare orthopedic type situation. Instead, I'd choose hoof boots, as a first choice - so you can use them as necessary & keep the horse bare for the majority of the time. Or if the horse must be shod, I'd be using something flexible and with sole and frog support/protection, such as Easyshoes, Eponas or such.

He grew up on hard dirt and rocks.
But now that he's in training for the first time, it's apparent that he needs shoes. I just started crying
Just because he needs artificial protection is not a reason to be sad for him. It's a bit like you crying over needing shoes yourself to run comfortably down a gravel road! But I would look into the reasons why he needs it, and see what you might be able to change, re management, diet, etc, that may help him grow really strong feet that do cope bare with all you want of him. Even if he's been perfectly fine bare on rough ground, got healthy feet & ideal circumstances, if he's just been started under saddle, the increased weight on his back & therefore feet may be the current reason, and with 'conditioning' and development - a 4yo hasn't developed much caudal hoof strength by that age - he won't need protection down the track.
 

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Although I had to put shoes on my 5 year old mare because she was starting to be gimpy, my plan is to pull them this winter and try boots on her fronts next summer. I think boots can be a great alternative to standard metal shoes. I just could not bear to go through one more fiddly expensive experimental cycle right then, having just settled down to finally relax and enjoy my saddle, bit, headstall, reins, girth, feeding system, trailer set-up, and other things which took quite a bit of tinkering-with.

So remember you can always try something else later.
 

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I never put shoes on my Arab gelding. We trail rode, over some very rocky terrain at that!, but he never needed shoes. Rode him barefoot for over 20 years.

My 1/2 Arab Mare and AQHA Mare I showed in cowhorse (and other things) so they would have to do sliding stops. They had shoes all around, sliders in the back. Even if they weren't showing, I think they would both need shoes on the rocky terrain (and there is no getting away from that in my area). I see no problem with their having shoes nor any reason to be sad about it. It's what they need. With a good farrier it is not a problem.

You do what the horse needs. While "natural" is a nice goal, it is not always possible. And, as others pointed out, boots could be a nice alternative, depending on what you are doing with your horse and what you want to mess with.
 

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Some horses benefit with shoes, others do not need them.
My old horse Daytona was always barefoot, she never required shoes. However, Redz (my current one that I'm leasing) needs front shoes. It really depends on the horse, and what's best for them. No reason to be sad about it at all, shoes can be a big help. :) Depending on the horse, of course. Some can go barefoot all their life while others need them for extra support.
 

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Op I am with you. We purchased a TWH horse this summer knowing she had been foundered in March of this year. With the help of a great farrier we were on the road to barefoot. She was going on trail rides (with easy boot epics) and bi-weekly lessons in an arena. Early Aug she started showing signs of lameness when being ridden. She wore boots most of the day to help. She still presented lame at the gait and the boots were turning and starting to chafe.

At the insistence of our trainer we put front shoes on her - natural balance shoes and she has been fantastic since. The farrier that shod her said we may be able to do a couple sets of shoes and then try the boots again,
We are pretty firm on barefoot and all of our horses have boots. For this mare we needed to try something else.

She bucks, canters and gaits in the pasture - a very happy horse! We will try barefoot again next year but shoes may always be necessary
 

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I was sad that X could not manage being barefoot. I was sad for about 30 minutes. then, the farrier finished putting on front shoes, we geared up and went out on the trails. Whee! what fun. not sad anymore.
This. I felt somehow I had failed or my horse had failed, but my horse didn't think that way. She was real happy to not have tender footsies any more. And I was happy to not feel guilty riding a horse who had to pick her way slowly across gravel and kept falling out of her trot because she wasn't comfortable.
 

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I think getting too attached to one idea of how a horse will live out it's life with you is usually setting yourself up for a rude awakening, because they do not consult our. You are not doing anything that is harming your horse, and in fact will likely improve his quality of life and make him much more comfortable.

Think of it this way - mustangs have hard feet and don't require shoes, because the ones that did need them...?

Well, they're not around anymore. Natural selection has no mercy for those animals out in the wild who stumble, fall, or go lame. They either get better, or they become food for predators and scavengers. As a domestic animal, your horse has more options :)
 

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Agree with what has been said.
Shoes themselves on healthy feet are not a problem, esp if the horse has time out of shoes. The problem with shoes is bad farriey/trim, before the shoe is applied, as shoes will lock in both a bad trim and any hoof pathology
All my horses are barefoot in winter, and I then either ride them barefoot,or use studded hoof boots
However, Smilie will for the first time in her life, have glue on shoes year round, as I have realized she might never be able to go barefoot again, and if that keeps her moving sound, so be it!
 

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I think getting too attached to one idea of how a horse will live out it's life with you is usually setting yourself up for a rude awakening, because they do not consult our. You are not doing anything that is harming your horse, and in fact will likely improve his quality of life and make him much more comfortable.

Think of it this way - mustangs have hard feet and don't require shoes, because the ones that did need them...?

Well, they're not around anymore. Natural selection has no mercy for those animals out in the wild who stumble, fall, or go lame. They either get better, or they become food for predators and scavengers. As a domestic animal, your horse has more options :)
Agree. There is also the fact that mustangs are not carrying weight, and don't go where we sometimes ask our horses to go.
We have feral horses,but, they are never seen up on top of mountains, above the treeline, nor along rocky river beds, but stay in the foothills
None of our domestic horses come close to putting on the miles, that those horses, studied in the desert did, esp right froma bout the time they are born
Barefoot does not mean without hoof protection, necessarily, and hense the growing hoof boot market. If riding with boots where needed, and barefoot on turn out, works for you, then that is optimum, however, showing with boots, or even really training with them, does not work for me and many others
I have donated enough hoof boots to bogs and rivers out west, that I have gone back to shoing our trail riding horses, in the period we haul to the mountains
 
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