Shoeing Help.

littlen

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Hi,

My horse has always had good feet, however has only ever really been ridden on grass or the sand arena. He has have moved to a new yard, where there is alot of road work and stony paths to deal with.
At the moment he is barefoot, but i have noticed he has become very footy on roads and also on the stony ground, and seems pretty uncomfortable after a while on this harder ground, yet in the school he rides like his normal self.
He was trimmed around 2 weeks ago and already his feet are beginning to chip along the front of the hoof, which did not happen before.
He is out 24/7 at the moment, and is fed a handful of happy hoof a day at the moment as he is overweight with the spring grass coming through and i dont want him to get lammi or worse.
Now i have spoken to numerous 'knowledgeble' people who all say i should stick with barefoot, and should keep up the work on harder ground to harden his feet. Now my obvious reaction is to shoe him as he is obviously unhappy in his feet, but should i stick through this in the hope his feet do harden up eventually?
I have spoken to the farrier who has stated it is my decision and either way he should cope, but he suggested putting front shoes on only. How would fronts only help, and wouldnt he just be happy in the front but still chipping etc at the back...or am i missing the point
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If anyone has had a similar experience or can offer some advice i ould be grateful!
 

chestnut cob

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I had my Welshy without shoes for a while (though I wasn't trying to go barefoot, it was for other reasons) and didn't get on with it at all. After 4 months he had the fronts put back on as he went lame every time he walked over a bit of gravel. About 3 months later I put the backs on again. He was ok with just fronts for a bit of hacking and school work but I couldn't do longer rides or hunt as he wore them down too quickly.
 

welshied

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I would wait and see it his feet harden off to the new road work as when mine first went barefoot it took him a while to get use to it and he was a little foot sore the only reason i would put shoes on is if his feet started to crack etc
 

littlen

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Thanks chestnut cob, At the moment all we do is hack and school and the odd local show, although to get to the best hacking we must go along roads.
He has always been barefoot, but he seems unhappy in his feet and i am wondering what to do for the best, stick with it, shoe all 4 or just shoe the fronts and see how he gets on with those!
 

ihatework

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I doubt there is a right answer to this, at the end of the day you will have to go with your gut feeling.

If you have a native then there should be no reason why you can't continue unshod, it may be that your horse just needs a bit more time to adjust to the change in surface. That said they are all different and you may find that a few weeks down the line he still isn't coping and you will need shoes.

Front shoes and barefoot behind is a good option, horses tend to bear more weight on the front feet and therefore shoeing just in front is ofetn a good compromise.

Another option is to buy a pair of hoofboots and use them just when you are planning on hacking over the stoney ground.
 

littlen

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Thanks, He is not a native im afraid. My gut instinct is to put front shoes on, but i would like to hear peoples experiences of this.
I have been reading alot of the barefoot NH/ IH articles on shoeing and they are making me reconcider by saying things like the shod hoof is often deformed etc and i just want the best for my boy.
Will his back feet still chip and wont this just make him sore on the back and not on the front!
 

WhiteHorseWendy

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As the front feet carry so much more of the horses weight than the back feet, front shoes only (a half set) can work very well. The back hooves may still chip slighty if they are brittle but try feeding Biotin if you have this problem. I try to keep my horses barefoot but resort to front shoes on those that just don't like/can't cope with stones and hard surfaces. Only 30yo polo pony Banana has a full set.
 

TheFarrier

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If your horse is already footsore this means that there is no excess growth left on the feet to protect them from further wear. If you do keep up with the current level of work you run the risk of making the horse worse.

Footsore means there is already pain and if you gut is to put shoes on then you should. SHoes are your choice but it sounds like he may need some or of you wish to stear clear of shoes then a pair of hoof boots.


A well driven nail does no damage to the hoof. And fronts are a good place to start as he has never been shod and 60-65% of the weight is taken by the front feet so they are likely to wear faster.

whether you get shoes or not is your choice but your horses is already sore and you need to do something. IN my professional opinion leaving him to toughen up does not work as its not about how hard his feet are but rather about thr level or work versus the growth of the feet.
 

samstar

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my mare is shod only on fronts and she manages stony ground and roads etc fine now, her front feet are more sensitive than her backs which also don't need trimming everytime as walking out on the roads files them down.
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