Keeping ridden horses barefoot

StarFell

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I'm toying with the idea of having Stars shoes taken off and trying him barefoot, partly because I have trouble keeping shoes on him, and partly for the cost side of things. What are the pros and cons of keeping horses barefoot? Does it take them long to adjust?
 

JessPickle

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My first thing would be why do you struggle keeping shoes on him? if it's due to having bad feet then things would only get worse barefoot. If you wanted to try barefoot I know plenty of people who just have fronts on.
 

StarFell

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Basically because my farrier is crap
It's impossible to get hold of a farrier around here so I just use the one who comes to the yard regularly, and he's not that good TBH. Its mainly just the cost thing though. I hadn't thought of just fronts, might be worth considering!
 

FeatherPower

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you should speak to a barefoot practitioner - they usually will come out to see you and go through the differences between a barefoot and a shod foot. below are some links to practioners and you should be able to find one in your area.

Also google barefoot - you will find many many articles and sites with details on the theory, mechanics and benefits of barefoot over shoeing. Also you will find very few 'bad' articles about barefoot with the exception of a rogue barefoot trimmer who went to extremem measures and resulted in horse feet being very badly damaged - this person was prosecuted I believe. Barefoor sites:

www.hoofrehab.com
www.ironfreehoof.com
www.barefoothorse.com
www.thehorseshoof.com
www.swedishhoofschool.com - look at the video links

If you want any personal experience information PM me. x
barefoot trimmers:

http://www.uknhcp.org/ukpractitioners.html

http://www.equinepodiatry.net/locate.html#UK
 

soloequestrian

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I have three barefoot, all TB or TB cross, all in work, two of them compete. They all had decent quality feet when I took their shoes off and there was no real transition period - they just took it in their stride (pardon the pun). I have hoof boots for all of them which they use when we go hacking over stony tracks (fronts only). One of them jumps in his boots, he just seems to like it better than being totally barefoot. The boots cost somewhere in the region of £80 - £120 per pair, but they last at least two years. You still need to regularly trim the feet but obviously that is cheaper than having a set of shoes put on, and it's much more flexible. My horse hooves are all a much better shape than they were when they were shod. I wouldn't go back to shoeing now, it just seems weird to nail a bit of metal onto your pet!
 

Ali2

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[ QUOTE ]
My first thing would be why do you struggle keeping shoes on him? if it's due to having bad feet then things would only get worse barefoot. If you wanted to try barefoot I know plenty of people who just have fronts on.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'd also look at whether anyting was going on with his feet that means you can't keep shoes on. Things will not get worse barefoot if you do it properly (look at diet, exercise, environment etc not just take the shoe soff!) they will significantly improve. Try looking at the UKNHCP and AEP websites and have a read of Nic Barker and Sarah Braithwaites book 'feet First'.
 

golddustsara

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Is he shod on all fours? Paddy is only shod on the front and seems perfectly happy so this may be an option costs wise. Many native types are comfortable with this arrangement.
 

posie_honey

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see my signature below - all barefoot
and trimmed by myself

good advice above - you do really have to look at the whole horse management etc rather than just the feet
but if farrier is not good then def think about using a specific BF trimmer - because the farrier field trim and the BF trim are slightly different
i've actually just had her shoes back on for competing - xc in slippy conditions was just dangerous and i needed studs - esp for drops and downhill jumps. but i'd def go back to bare foot if i stopped needing studs
 

Creaturescape

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Doesn't it seem weird. Mine are barefoot and I don't think I can bring myself to ever put a shoe on again either!

I used Old Macs on my mare hacking - she could get a bit footy on stoney ground, but the boy has never had shoes on and his feet are looovveeellly!
 

Porkie

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Mine is barefoot as he gets concussion and shoeing makes him lame! He is an oldie but still in work and mainly hacking, for which we use old macs just on the front - the backs seem to cope well with the road work as they are.

If you're planning on taking his shoes off the only advice I would give is suggest you wait until we get a bit of rain and the ground softens a bit - helps make the transition easier and he won't get so foot sore. xx
 

eriskaypony

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We have barefoot, front shod and all shod, just depends on what is right for the horse. Our farrier is very good and objective about whether or not shoes are right for the animal given what we do with them, hence the mixture.

We prefer barefoot but have just bought younger son a new pony who has been barefoot all his life. He is getting front shoes as we hack over stony tracks and he is clearly not comfortable on that surface. We know from his previous owners he has no problems with roads, but he's not the first we've had to struggle with stony tracks.
 

Slinkyunicorn

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Should be working.....
My cob is unshod - is trimmed every 6 weeks by the farrier and has feet like concrete. She had shoes on once for about 3 months over winter several years ago as we had to do all road work for a while - she went through a pair of fronts in a fortnight!! Went back to unshod as soon as the fields dried out and hasn't had them since. I do have a pair of Marquis boots if needed for hacking but haven't used them in years.


A trim costs £20 - a set of shoes £56 but if shod it would more like every 4 weeks rather than 6!
 

MagicMelon

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Do you mean barefoot or do you mean just not shod? They are very different! I've had experience with both - 2 of my retired ponies are barefoot trimmed, one I have ridden like this fine and their hooves look amazing. Its pricey though, costs almost same price as a shoeing!

I used to keep my Welsh Cob shoe-less, I didnt get a barefoot trimmer to him though I just had my farrier trim him. I competed him for 2 years like this with no problems (he had great feet), however eventually he started to lose confidence jumping on slippy grass so I had to have him shod purely to use studs! It really depends what you do and on what surface! I will be taking shoes off my competition horse when the farrier next comes and they'll stay off until when the BE season starts. He competes shoe-less over the winter with ease as its on a surface. And all pony projects Ive had Ive never had shod (and they competed).

Basically by choice I need a reason TO shoe!
 

poodle20

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Get a barefoot trimmer out. If you want to go completely barefoot they are the best people to contact, as they will advise you on conditioning the feet/diet/exercise/boots etc. Your horse will not get worse by being barefoot, but it may take time, you have to be patient. Your horse will benefit in the end.
 
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