Could she go barefoot?

rcm_73

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My 19 y.o. TB currently is shod in front but only goes on the road once a week for no more than an hour so as I need to make some cutbacks right now I'm considering just having the shoes taken off. Her feet are typical TB feet so aren't the best but the hoof wall tends to crumble around the nail holes anyway so I'm thinking it may actually benefit her to have some time without shoes?
 

Fuzznugget

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Could give it a try, if all else fails you always have the option of having shoes put back on. This is what I'm going to have done with my mare too - pull the shoes, and if she ends up going somewhere rocky then put some boots on.
 

tinkandlily

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I'd give it a go, my tb mare has been without shoes for nearly two years now, it took a little while for her to become comfortable without shoes, but she's great now, she can get a bit footy on stone's, but as said above, you can get boots.
 

Elsbells

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A common miconception is that if a horse is not doing much, ie roadwork, that they will cope OK without shoes. This is not true, they need plenty of work for the hoof to grow stronger, thicker walls and soles. The foot will lay down the horn that is needed for the job and roadwork is therefore essential.

Also, the internal structures of the foot will change dramatially with a successful transition, as will the external shape and size of the foot and the muscles involved such as the frogs and heel bulbs.

If you can give her the work and be prepared to become obsessed with barefoot then give it a go. Perhaps the backs first?
 

rcm_73

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Backs went last February and she was footy at first but isn't anymore so was thinking could do the same with the fronts. Can't do much more than the odd hack time-wise as I have a youngster but also as she is retired companion through injury and although is sound now she is blind in one eye so doesn't compete or anything anymore and I just light hack her here and there so she doesn't get too bored. Suppose will be trial and error, she often pulls her shoes off in the field so I wonder sometimes if they're more hassle than they're worth on this particular horse.
 

FAB_FERN

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Took my mares shoes off when she went to stud and never bothered putting them back on. We still hack out a few times per week and she's been absolutley fine. Farrier keeps them trimmed and I have a rasp to straighten them up if she chips them. Keep them tidy. Doesn't slip on the road now either.

I'd just take them off and see how she copes, if not then put them back on. After all, they cope in the wild.
 

Azmar

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I would definitely go for it. My old mare had her shoes removed in May and has been fine in field with the occasional road ex. If I go for longer rides I use boots as I have some from transitioning my other horse over three years ago. Lack of concussion and more surefootedness is beneficial to aging joints. You may have to be patient at first, but well worth the time and effort IMO:)
 

intouch

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It's also a misconception that going barefoot is a cheaper option. To get the professional trimming and advice you'll need, and buying hoof boots to get started, don't expect it to be cheap. If you do, don't be surprised if it doesn't work for your horse.
 

ThePony

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I would say def give it a go - but not without checking out some barefoot info on diet and transitioning.
There is no reason it should be as, or more, expensive than shoeing!
Mine is on a barefoot diet (think healthfood rather than package food!) and even ignoring feet she is much better on it and is absolutly blooming with health (shiny not fatty!). She has less gassy colic, is more level headed and has rock hard feed without footyness (excepting after a flush of grass which is a pain!).
Riding her just occasionaly is no prob, but you would help her transitioning enormously with walks in hand on the road - even just a few 15min walks each week would make a big difference to the strength of her feet and the internal structures.
I have my farrier out when he does the shoes on other liveries horses - he trimmed last time and put a roll on, this time I will just ask him for a roll as she trims herself better than any human could manage! After the feet get used to it you may well find you need less visits as the hooves will grow to accomadate the wear they get.

I would recomend this website as a mine of info http://uknhcp.myfastforum.org/forum2.php
The book Feet First http://www.amazon.co.uk/Feet-First-Barefoot-Performance-Rehabilitation/dp/0851319602 really helpful and full of very acessable info.
 

OneInAMillion

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It's also a misconception that going barefoot is a cheaper option. To get the professional trimming and advice you'll need, and buying hoof boots to get started, don't expect it to be cheap. If you do, don't be surprised if it doesn't work for your horse.
eBay had Cavallo boots for £40 a pair which wasn't too bad. I always keep an eye on there! We also then got some Old Macs for £50 (orig. £120) and our farrier taught us day to day maintenance and then he comes every 8 weeks
 

canteron

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I am in the middle of a barefoot transition (backs off, going to take fronts off next farrier visit.)

If you search barefoot on this forum there are heaps of links/information which may help you to get it as right as possible first time.

Diet is important ..... I have changed to 'Simple Systems' in advance as they gave me really clear advice and it is simple (no time to be soaking, mashing, etc) although I know there are many good alternatives.

In the long run I am anticipating it being cheaper - but for the transistion period I have put aside some extra 'farrier' funds in case I need a bit of help.
 
Joined
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Cornwall
my boy is barefoot and has been for several years now and he does road work most days and deals with it absolutely fine. i occasionally put shoes on him when we do the interhunt relay as the course is very twisty and you go quite fast and you can never quess what the grounds going be like but he soon has them off again (6weeks) and is just back to normal. so i would definitely encourage you to try :D
 

smiffyimp

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23 July 2009
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I do get confused with all this barefoot stuff. My 6yo Anglo has never been shod - thankfully good feet. I feed what ive always fed - pasture nuts happy hoof gp supplement, and ride on what ever ground we come across. He;s just come 9th at Holdenby ODE and didnt loose a foot once. He sees a farrier (not trimmer) once every 8 weeks (as does my 31 yo who was shod up until 3 years ago, now retired). Im probably in the old fogey brigade but dont we make mountains out of molehills. Things dont have to be difficult. Many moons ago I had a Dales mare who wouldnt be shod (blacksmith beat her up with previous owner) she wouldnt let you pick her feet up! Never had a problem with her, tough as old boots:D She was kept at grass with small feeds over winter and we used to hack for miles. Maybe im lucky with the neds ive had, or ignorance is bliss:D
 
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