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Anyone Gone Barefoot?

10 replies

mdoodledoo · 29/06/2011 22:25

I'm considering whether my 13 year old ID gelding would/should go barefoot. He's been shod for as long as I've known and then owned him but has good strong hooves and I don't do masses of roadwork with him. He's a general purpose boy - schooling, hacking, and jumping mainly. If we hack on roads it's normally less than a hour, but I estimate we go on a longer road hack (approx 2 hrs) about once every 4-6 weeks and the vast majority of our jumping is on all weather surfaces but we do XC a few times a year, and the odd Summer show on grass.

I'm going to ask my farrier's advice next time he comes (but maybe just maybe he'll not be to keen to lose a customer!), and I need to do a bit of reading up, but I wondered if any of you guys have made the move from shod to barefoot and what your experiences have been. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks.

OP posts:
fourstickymitts · 29/06/2011 22:39

We did with our oldie, but mostly because he was struggling to keep shoes on. We used Old Mac boots with him, worked fine. Had to be careful how the fit though.

MitchiestInge · 29/06/2011 22:46

Reluctantly made move the other way, pony was always always barefoot until this spring/summer drought and concrete fields and tracks wore his feet away. He only needed a quick rasp about once a year, very low maintenance. It still feels weird to see him with shoes (only fronts) but it's been about four weeks.

What do you have to lose by trying? You can always put shoes on again if you need them.

AlpinePony · 30/06/2011 08:45

My warmblood mare is barefoot, I made the transition when she was 6 and I suspect she'd been shod since 3. The transition was difficult and she was lame with absesses. This can be worse the longer you've had shoes on.

A traditional farrier is only likely to be familiar with a 'pasture trim' used e.g., for mares in foal. He is also likely to pooh pooh your idea! ;)

Try and find an equine podiatrist, recommendations likely on Kelly marks website. Research on Pete ramey's site.

I'm happy with barefoot and can trim myself although its tough back-breaking work.

Disasterpiece · 30/06/2011 10:47

Have you heard of Rockley Farm? Its a yard specialising in hoof rehabilitation and bare foot horses. Theres some really good information on their website.

Link to Rockley Farm website

Butkin · 30/06/2011 11:15

Our Welshies are barefoot but we had to show our Connemara when she started to be ridden just due to the nature of our tracks. I tried taking shoes of aging show cob but his feet were so bad that we had to go back to having them in front (still off behind).

Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 30/06/2011 15:40

I firmly believe that no horse has to be shod. Yes, shoes might be helpful for roadwork, but with careful management, any horse can go barefoot. When shoes first come off, the feet look poor and brittle, and will often break where nail holes have been. This doesnt mean the foot is too weak to go barefoot, it just means the nail holes need to grow out. Try growing the foot fairly long before having the shoes removed, so there is more of the holey stuff to trim away. Horses are often footsore and look lame when the shoes first come off, but that should pass. They just have to become accustomed to the foot coming into contact with the ground, stones, lumps etc.
All our animals are barefoot, from an 8hh miniature pony, to an 18hh warmblood. And we trim them all ourselves. They often hack out, you just need to keep an eye on the hoof length, if they get too short, school for a week or two. It's just common sense really. Carriers are often not keen on barefoot. It's money from their pockets. A trim, if you don't do it yourself, coats around £15-20. Shoes cost £50+.

ManateeEquineOhara · 30/06/2011 21:08

I recently had to start shoeing Dmare on her backs because an old injury made her walk slightly odd and her feet were wearing down unevenly. She is still barefoot on the fronts and is fine. I took the backs of my ID, but he seemed to struggle, however in retrospect I could have taken it a bit more gently and he might have been okay.

mdoodledoo · 30/06/2011 22:44

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply - really useful.

OP posts:
Pixel · 30/06/2011 23:12

Remember you have to feed properly to have strong feet. I swear by Equilibra, it really seems to do the trick. Dhorse's feet are so hard he sounds like he has shoes on when he is on concrete.
Also, don't assume that it will always be hard ground that is your enemy. The only time dshetland has been footsore has been when we've had very wet ground as the little bits of grit in the mud can act as an abrasive on water-softened feet (if you rub some mud between your fingers you can feel it for yourself). Since we've put paving by the shelter so that she always has somewhere dry to stand even if dpony won't let her inside, she hasn't had a problem. I always wonder why people worry so much about being barefoot on the roads as the wear is very even, unlike stony/bumpy ground which can cause chips and splits. It now feels odd to me to ride a shod horse. When I went riding on holiday at half-term the pony seemed to spend a lot of time skidding on the tarmac and drain covers, which dhorse never does!

QuietTiger · 03/07/2011 09:22

We are barefoot and I wouldn't do anything else. Like Alpine Pony says, if you can afford it, use a qualified Equine Podiatrist doing a proper trim, rather than a farrier doing a pasture trim.

The EP balanaces and trims the horses foot in a totally different way to the farrier. Also, don't go barefoot just to save money, because proper EP trimming is not cheap. We pay ours £45 a trim every 5 weeks, it's the same for our shetland as it is for my 16hh Lusitano. But then, around here, a decent farrier is also £70+.

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