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Barefoot vs. shod

Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby HighJinx » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:25 pm

Was thinking as I drove home from yard about this.

Thought to try and even things up a little I would give a view point for the shod horse so we dont seem too onesided 8-)

Farriers get a tough time sometimes. OK there are bad ones out there but then I have heard of horror stories for barefoot trimmers as well.

Our old farrier (before he moved away :cry: ) was fantastic!! He looked at every horse as an individual was genuinely interested and explained what and why. This was when I had my TB / Hann mare. She wasnt a barefoot candidate for me as she had wobblers which gave her a strange action behind and she wore through shoes at an alarming rate :shock: She would have trashed her hinds and or boots. She was also a very difficult horse to handle and I would have had seven shades of **** kicked out of me if I had messed about with hoof boots!! She (like Jinx :hmmm: had small feet for her size and would have needed booted). So for her to be a ridden horse she had to have shoes so does that make me cruel for wanting to ride my horse???
But because my farrier was excellent and she was shod so regularly she didnt develop foot problems (although she may have later in life?) and her feet were well balanced.

Often farriers get blamed for the mess shod horses end up in and a lot of the fault can actually be put at the owner as they leave it way too long between shoeing. I know one person who only got her horse shod about 3 times a year she used to wait until the shoes were literally falling off :shock: before getting them seen too.

So yes I do believe now that barefoot is best for the horse but would hate to see a horse miserable and sore just because the owner is so determined to keep it barefoot regardless and yes that does happen!

So basically I think there are good and bad farriers and trimmers but a lot still comes down to the owner.
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Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby Trudi » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:41 pm

So basically I think there are good and bad farriers and trimmers but a lot still comes down to the owner.


That is so true. I think it's hard for some owners to question the accepted systems; I keep chipping away...Rockley info give here, the equine nutrition course mentioned there :wink: and generally it's well received although they probably think I'm nuts :lol:
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Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby Chevalblanc » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:35 am

HighJinx wrote:

So basically I think there are good and bad farriers and trimmers but a lot still comes down to the owner.


It all comes down to the owner ultimately, doesn't it? And as I've said before, a lot of owners can't go barefoot because they don't realise how much work it involves or they don't want the work or they don't have the time or they can't keep their horse at livery in the way it would need to be kept for barefoot to be successful.

Unlike you Janet, I have yet to see a case of a horse that couldn't go barefoot.

At the yard the owner has an Arab who has had a lot of problems with lameness behind, she's had loads of tests done at the vet's, they can't find anything wrong, nor the osteo, but I keep seeing him standing like Jinx in that photo you posted, he's shod in front and I think he has heel pain, but when I explained about the article I'd read on here, she said oh yes, but he was unshod for a year when he was gelded but he didn't like it. He was unshod, but kept stabled a lot of the time and fed a lot of concentrates and not exercised much (because she was told to wait until the hormone levels had dropped) :hmmm:
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Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby Trudi » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:56 am

My experience is still too shallow to know if there are situations where a horse HAS to be shod but I'd guess they'd all be associated with what we as riders expect to do with them.
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Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby HighJinx » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:33 am

The little horse with the twisted leg genuinely cant cope without her 'special' shoe so i do believe shoeing gives her a life and a good one at that, she is a much loved happy horse.
My wobbler mare would have been ok unshod living out in a field (she did live out 24/7 as had COPD) but there is no way she would have been OK ridden she used to twist her hind feet and drag her toes, her shoes had tungsten (sp?) put on them and within 4 - 5 weeks they would be like razor blades.

It sounds awful but she was sound although she had a strange action and in no pain and I truly believe that it was work that kept her going as long as she did as if she had been left mooching about she would have lost her muscle and thats what kept her 'together'. So again it depends on your take on wether it is right to shoe to ride? IF she had been diagnosed at an early age then I guess i would of had her PTS anyway so the riding part wouldnt have been an issue anyway. I think we could go round in circles on this one :random: :rofl:

Helen it does sound very much like that arab could do with a proper barefoot rehab :agree:
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Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby spottygiraffe » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:29 pm

Thanks for the balanced view Janet :thumbup: It does sound like there was a good case for the wobbler mare! I love that description :-D

I think this is the absolute crux of the matter right here:

HighJinx wrote:it depends on your take on whether it is right to shoe to ride?


I am sure I am in the minority and I know I am very extremist, but I would say no, it isn't really. Hand on heart, I would rather not ride if it meant putting shoes on, just as I would rather not have a horse if it meant keeping it in a stable most of the time. I just don't see why we think we have the right. But this could lead onto a huge ethical debate about riding and working with horses in general, so perhaps we should try to keep it on topic and just talk about shoeing/barefoot and lifestyle, which can't be separated from barefoot.

Chevalblanc wrote:And how was she kept when barefoot? And fed? And trimmed? And how much exercise on what sort of surfaces? All these things need to be spot on, or the horse will have problems. That's why many owners don't do it, it's far easier to just have them shod and then leave it all to the farrier.

The reason a lame/footy horse will come sound after being shod is that the shoes dull the horse's proprioception so it cannot feel the different surfaces it walks on so well. A piece of metal will not give like an unshod hoof will, so the hoof can't pump blood up the legs as effectively, and biomechanically the hoof capsule cannot function as efficiently.

Good post!

Trudi wrote:That is so true. I think it's hard for some owners to question the accepted systems; I keep chipping away...Rockley info give here, the equine nutrition course mentioned there and generally it's well received although they probably think I'm nuts

Probably....? :lol:
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Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby JennieF » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:20 pm

hmmmm - as to whether I'd shoe to ride - I think I probably would but it would have to be for a v good reason and I cant think of one at the moment ...

I have also known horses that would never have survived without shoeing - one of my old liveries had a split front hoof due to a nasty coronet injury which never grew out and was never going to - unshod she was crippled and wouldnt have even been comfortable even just mooching round a field but shod she led a happy ridden life and then retired still always shod in front to hold the hoof together and as far as I know is still happily plodding round a field somewhere - an extreme case but there are some horses that do need shoeing ...
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Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby Sarah » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:48 pm

Chevalblanc wrote:And how was she kept when barefoot? And fed? And trimmed? And how much exercise on what sort of surfaces? All these things need to be spot on, or the horse will have problems. That's why many owners don't do it, it's far easier to just have them shod and then leave it all to the farrier.

The reason a lame/footy horse will come sound after being shod is that the shoes dull the horse's proprioception so it cannot feel the different surfaces it walks on so well. A piece of metal will not give like an unshod hoof will, so the hoof can't pump blood up the legs as effectively, and biomechanically the hoof capsule cannot function as efficiently.

She lived out 24/7 with a concrete based shelter to stand in, she was fed hay & a maximum of 2KG of c-mix a day, she was being ridden 4/5 hours a week of which 3/4 was in the school on sand and the rest hacking out which was a mix of road work & tracks.
She has been "barefoot" all of her life and when she was broken in (and afterwards in till she went to H) she was hacked out WITHOUT SHOES mainly on the road and never had a problem.
She was having the same trim at H that she has had all her life as we have had the same farrier for the last 9/10 years.
Common sense horsemanship comes free to those who have it but at a cost to those who don't!
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Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby Chevalblanc » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:10 pm

Sarah wrote:She has been "barefoot" all of her life and when she was broken in (and afterwards in till she went to H) she was hacked out WITHOUT SHOES mainly on the road and never had a problem.


So why did she have to be shod then? If she was happily barefoot for all that lot, what "work" is she now doing that she can't cope with? Doesn't make sense to me...... :confused:
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Re: Barefoot vs. shod

Postby M-E » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:00 pm

:agree: with Jennie, I would never say never re shoes. I am hopeing to keep Moss barefoot and at the mo he is doing really well and I can't really think where we would hit a problem, Brett will never be shod but that is because I will not put him in a crush to be shod full stop no question :lol: Teeps is retired and won't need then he copes really well on his walks. If I remember rightly on the long distance blog they had to at times shoe becuse of certain problems or injuries.


I would say Sarah that the main reason that Lamorna has had to be shod is that she went from sitting in the field to work with outbuilding up the road work first and doing 4 hour work in a sand school and only 1 or two hours roads and tracks is 1, just not enough road and tracks she would need building up to least 4-6 hours road work a week before starting on the shcool work, 2, sand is very wearing, it''s just the same as sand paper on your hand, you need really good strong hooves before doing that much work on sand
Last edited by M-E on Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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