traditional shoeing vs. fronts only/unshod

moodiestmare

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Due to the massive increase in shoes I am considering having my mare unshod or just keeping shoes on the front.

What are everyones experience of this and would it mean I would be restricted on what she could do (road work etc)
 

Tinkerbee

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Maisy is unshod and does roadwork, hacking on grass, moorland and stoney tracks and schooling with no problems/limitations.

But every horse will be different.
 

samstar

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my mare does road work and she's only shod in front, and farrier does not trim her backs everytime as the road wears them down
smile.gif
 

Sparkles

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My two have never had shoes and were in full work unshod. Had feet hard as nails [mare had white feet, gelding black feet, both stayed hard and sound]
Roadwork everyday, for a couple of hours at a time most days. Schooling, dressage, jumping 3ft6+, XC, etc.

But they're both never had shoes on in their life. Obviously if you've got a horse that is used to shoes you need a transition period for them to get used to it. When my mare started being worked hers wore to start with and took about 4 months to harden up completely and stop wearing. You'd be looking at 6months at least ideally most farriers will say transition time to get the feet used to different ground.
 

Ezme

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seems to be the best thing since sliced bread or a total failier with most horses. If you can do it, fab, cheaper and more natural but keep an open mind to going back or trying something different. There are loads of threads on here about it, have a quick search
 

Spot_the_Risk

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My boy (in my sig) had all shoes off in October, as I was having a knee op and didn't know how long I would be out of action. Happily, I returned to riding fairly quickly, and had his fronts put on again before riding out. All our horses live out 24/7, they only have grass to walk on, no stony areas in our yard/fields, but our hacking tracks are rough to ride on. He has stayed sound and happy without rear shoes on, but was pulling off his front shoes (idiot horse tries to climb fences!) so I borrowed some Old Macs G2s from a friend, and they are fab! They never rub, are easy to put on, he moves easily on roads and tracks, has a good canter/gallop in the woods, and I am totally confident riding him downhill on roads that he won't slip.
 

emmac70

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My Tb mare has front shoes and goes barefoot behind. She's been like this for the last 5 years and is fine. In fact she's better on the roads like this as she has more grip
 
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Donkeymad

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Some horses are fine with this, but others cannot cope, and it really is something you need to discuss with your farrier. You cannot really make a decision like this based on what you can afford, unless you are prepared to cut down on the work load if your horse cannot cope.
 

jessquoi

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all 3 of mine are completely barefoot and one competes PN eventing with no trouble. i think many people shoe because its the done thing and never think to try without. with the right amount of road work farrier is needed infrequently just for a tidy up job. it really is worth trying to see as has many benefits not just financial!
 

AandK

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[ QUOTE ]
Some horses are fine with this, but others cannot cope, and it really is something you need to discuss with your farrier. You cannot really make a decision like this based on what you can afford, unless you are prepared to cut down on the work load if your horse cannot cope.

[/ QUOTE ]

totally agree.. talk to your farrier, he should be able to advise if your horses feet are suited to going barefoot.
 

lauraandjack

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I think it very much depends on the individual horse and what you are expecting them to do. In my experience road work is less of a problem for the unshod horse than stony or uneven ground, although tarmac may wear the hooves quickly.

I had a horse on loan who came to me without shoes through farrier/owner miscommunication. I was going to keep him unshod, however I found he couldn't cope on stony forestry tracks.

My current horse is shod because he seems to like it! Never felt like he struggled without shoes, but after having him shod he was a different horse. I swear the farrier put magic shoes on him! I'd always planned to keep him barefoot over winter, but if shoes make that much difference to him he can keep them all year round!
 

annret

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My horse is unshod behind, and her feet are faaar better behind. Would love to have the balls to take off her fronts, but can't face her possibly going lame as we have a sand school which is v abrasive.
 

*hic*

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Depends on the horse.

I have an unshod (never been shod) driving pony with brilliant feet.

I used to compete two Welshies (SJ and XC) shod front only, they did plenty of roadwork and never had a problem. However I tried one of them with no shoes at all and he didn't cope. The other had always been shod all round until I bought him and had his rear shoes removed whilst he was introduced to the other horses, he was fine without them so we just never put them back on.

My little AA mare has brilliant feet and started competing unshod but although she is very balanced she fell - slipped over - in her first Intro and has been shod all round since so that we can use studs.

My two horses came to me shod all round. One had issues when he was first shod with us and we decided for the farrier's safety to trim and leave his shoes off and work him only lightly on the road. He managed reasonably well but when it came time for him to be shod next and he was much more settled and behaved himself properly for the farrier we had him shod all round. The big mare was left unshod whilst on box rest but once we started working her we had her shod all round again, she has feet like dinner plates and nearly as flat and the farrier feels that she is better shod, I am perfectly happy with his decision.

So I'd say speak to your farrier and see what he says, then be prepared to get her used to it gently and go from there. Boots are, of course, an option.
 

Fransurrey

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Really it depends on the horse, your commitment and circumstances. Henry is shod at the moment, as his feet are still growing out the damage from lami last year. It's very nearly all gone and I'm going to have the backs taken off at the next shoeing (I have hoofboots if he turns out to be footy on our rocky terrain). In recent years, he's been shod March to October and then unshod/barefoot for the rest of the year. Even then it's because I hadn't found hoofboots to suit, but I have my beady eye on the Cavallos and when his Epics need replacing, they'll be in my tackroom faster than you can say, 'shoes off'.

Try the backs off first and give her a couple of cycles to assess it. Roadwork is your best friend for a bare hoof, so don't let having no shoes on stop you from doing it. If she turns out to be footsore on smooth tarmac, then she has pathologies/badly imbalanced hooves, IMO.
 
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