My feed

to access all these features

Discuss horse riding and ownership on our Horse forum.

The tack room

Barefoot pony

11 replies

duckduckswan · 06/11/2021 20:54

Hi all, hoping someone on here might be able to advise. Welsh mountain 11 hand pony is 8 had him 4 years, he’s mainly ridden in the field but we want to do more hacking with him. He has always been very careful when going up our hardcore drive, seeking out the grass to walk on and just seems quite tentative with his feet on the tarmac, he walks really slowly. Farrier says his feet are excellent, he’s fit, not overweight, never had laminitis. No sign of lameness. I’ve described the issues we have to the farrier and he says he has a thin sole (?) and that I should shoe him. Is there anything I can before I go down the shoeing route? Could something else be causing this?

OP posts:
FamilyStrifeIsHard2Bear · 06/11/2021 21:33

Can be many different things from diet, environment, genetics etc and take a long time to rule out factors and get the right balance to harden soles. Are they on a hay / grass fed diet, low sugar feed or any hoof improving supplements?
Before shoeing you can try boots as they offer great sole protection. Speaking as an owner of a barefoot mare for 10 years who had thin soles that was hacked successfully in boots and did very well. We also did showing and work in the school barefoot.
Boots can be tricky to fit but once you find the right brand that works they can be great and they take away a lot of worry about the horse being footy on hard or rough surfaces.
I used an older brand called Swiss Horse boots, not really available daily now but hoof boutique website can offer a good selection.

Sarahlou63 · 06/11/2021 21:46

Hoof problems are almost always diet related. No grain, low sugar, lots of fibre is ideal. Our 7 horses are all barefoot and are fed soaked beet and alfalfa plus balancer and micronised linseed (only autumn/winter) plus ad lib hay spread around a paddock paradise track system to keep them moving.

duckduckswan · 06/11/2021 22:26

Grass fed diet but now coming in at nights so shares soaked Hay net with a donkey. He’s on quite a bare paddock because he’s a very good doer. Land has good drainage and the track he has free access to to get to his stable is compacted hardcore. I’m always worried about laminitis so I don’t give any additional feed but perhaps he needs a little alfalfa with some supplement (?). Thanks @Sarahlou63 and thanks @FamilyStrifeIsHard2Bear for the boot advice will take a look at them.

OP posts:
Sarahlou63 · 07/11/2021 06:16

Sorry, meant to second @FamilyStrifeIsHard2Bear about hoof boots - our section D still wears them for hacking after being barefoot for 10 years - better to have boots as necessary than shoes 24/7. They are expensive so see if you can try a selection first or get some second hand.

HighlandCowbag · 07/11/2021 15:27

I had a very similar situation with a little section A when I moved yards this summer. Very ouchy on the stones and tracks around the farm. I use topspec antilam balancer in a handful of topchop lite, he has a muzzle on for turnout and a 6lb soaked hay net overnight, plus adlib oat straw which he mostly ignores.

I found it took about 3 months for him to get used to going on the stones, farrier said he would improve over time as his feet got used to it.

Boots are a good idea if you want to avoid shoeing. I'd get boots for now, get him on a decent supplement and then once that's had time to grow down into his foot (probably about a year) see how he is if you gradually reintroduce harder ground.

Perpetualnoise · 07/11/2021 17:15

Highly recommend looking up Pete Ramey. His online stuff and his book Making Natural Hoofcare Work For You are excellent.
There's a lot about diet in there. It's really important as pp said above.

Tethersend01 · 09/11/2021 09:24

Highly recommend Hoof Boutique, Liz will help and guide you re getting the correct boot and fit and can provide ‘shells’ for you to try.

CountryCob · 09/11/2021 10:45

Sounds like boots or shoes are the answer. I understand that the boots fit is hard to get right but there are experienced people who have posted about that. Most horses I have had have struggled with lots of road work or stoney tracks without being shod. If you wanted to go down the shoring route then you could just try fronts at first. In my opinion the fact that he is footy on the tracks does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with his feet and some sound horses are more footy than others, hence the thin sole comment

10yearwarranty · 09/11/2021 12:22

Diet is often another part of the answer. I'd be tempted to get a well recommended hoof trimmer in, someone who is accredited. I use a trimmer who trained with KC La Pierre - you can Google. You can ring Progressive Earth for advice on how to supplement a good doer's feed. I avoid alfalfa because it can aggravate itchy/sweetitch horses.

Alana367 · 09/11/2021 13:23

I had my horses shoes pulled a couple of years ago. He was having time of for injury so I used the rehab time to get him used to being barefoot. I have no access to any off road riding or arena so I just started with 10 minutes per day and built up to hacking for a couple of hours a day. This is on roads and stoney forest tracks. I think any horse will be footsie if not used to being ridden barefoot but most healthy horses can get used to it, you just have to build up slowing and do it regularly enough. If that isn’t possible you will need shoes or boots.

Theywalkamongstus · 10/11/2021 23:01

*Get him off alfalfa.
*Scrutinise your diet and supplements.
*Treat for thrush. Use red horse products, nothing else.
*Hoof boots.
*Film him in walk and check whether he's landing heel first or not.
*Read everything on Rockley farm blog. Twice!
*Get a great barefoot trimmer. Don't let the farrier anywhere near him and don't trim very often.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.