A close freind of mine does both - we're conventionally shod.
Hunting I think she has an advantage. We don't stud to hunt because of the amount of roadwork and I think her horse is actually less prone to slipping because he is more used to it. My lad can be a bit cautious in heavy going and we have slipped, but never fallen.
XC training - again absolutely no problem. But in competition when the ground gets cut up I think the lack of studs does cost a few seconds. (She would probably disagree!) Plus you do have to be a bit careful that there is nothing shale like etc in water. But she can't pull a shoe which we can.
SJ - you do need studs to make the times in quick jump offs. Barefoot do absolutely fine - but studs do just make the difference in a tight turn on slippy ground.
It has to be what is right for your horse - but there is no reason not to hunt or XC just because you're barefoot.
Been doing a fair bit of long hacking and XC with my TB lad who's in full work barefoot. Hoping to take him out a couple of days hunting possibly this season if I can too Have no problems so far! His feet are hard as nails and looking the best they've ever done. SJ'ing the other week, the ground was extremely wet and was raining hard....he was the only one in the class which didn't slip anywhere on course.
mine are all barefoot and do both xc/hunt. dont have any issues with my WB. 1 of my IDxTBs went XC the other weekend and she did slip once of twice but this was because she wanted to turn sharply after the jump - i think even if shed had shoes on she wouldve done the same.apart from this ive never had any issues
hunted and XC with my ickle Welshie barefoot. He's never been shod. He had the advantage out hunting - happy to canter on the roads with no risk of slipping and seemed to keep his grip better on the slippy corners too. XC the only probs we had were if there were tight turns between combination fences. otherwise fine. he wont SJ so dont know if he'd have an issue there.
Just wondering whether to take the plunge! Am half barefoot (fronts no backs) and the horse has had no problems. But he is quite young and gets his feet in a muddle and I have heard horses more prone to slipping, so was really interested in the replies.
So thanks so much for your replies - farrier due next week and I think I will have the fronts taken off as well.
Mine was fully shod [age 12 and ex racer] until about 2 months ago when I took the plunge and took them off. He was a bit footy for a week or so on stones, but other than that his feet are looking the best they ever have
I do HT on my horse, he's barefoot. I also SJ him as well. I find we have much more grip. I canter him down steep hills as well and never have a problem. I would like to hunt him but as he's Andalusian I dont think he would enjoy or go thru deep mud very much so I havent got round to trying him out there yet.
I've done both with my mare, the biggest issue we have had is slipping behind when we do dressage on grass. If I were to shoe her so I could use studs I would be seriously tempted just to shoe her behind. We did a 3 1/2 hour bloodhound exercise once & she was fine, charged about like a loony in fact with no traction issues It involved a lot of hammering trot on roads which took a lot of height off her feet & I'm not sure she would be able to manage that week in, week out, although she might adapt. TBH all that fast trotting on roads, even barefoot, was not something that I think would do her any good in the long run so I have no plans to go again. Too fluffy, me!
I've got a large M&M and he's never worn shoes. We usually hunt once a week through the season and never had a problem - he's so sure footed by comparison to my others with shoes (though sadly not suited to barefoot). He does tend to avoid stoney ground where he can which I allow, but is never 'footy'. We tend to do a couple of hunter trials in the summer and certainly have never had a probem with slipping... he's a star!
i did with mine - until she started to loose confidence with slipping - and also began to back off jumps with hardcore on take off and landing - ie some steps etc (why oh why do they do that?!) then i whacked shoes back on for studs and to make her more comfortable