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I would like to know how many of y'all ride your horses barefoot and why.

As many of you know I have been a farrier for 28 years and chose to let my anvil start rusting back in 1994, and since then have devoted my professional life to educating horse owners about the myths and truths of barefoot.

I would also like to invite EVERYONE to attend my annual spring trail ride on March 21st. at Percy Warner Park. (I will post more info on the events page soon.) The last ride we had 32 barefoot horses, lets make it more this year!

Please share!
Jim Apple

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why dont "top horses" run barefoot? one answer- some do.

another answer- possibly because of people not willing to stand out in a group they want to belong to.

try this, the next time you go to a speed event wear creased kaki pants and a pink polo shirt when you show. and one of those funny hats that buttons in the front
let me know me if it affected your times.
if you pull down a 16 or better in barrels or 21 or better dressed like that, then i would bet that with a good diet, terrain and competent farrier you could do it without shoes

i have a 16 year old gal down the road with a barefoot horse and i will put her up against any shod horse

i would go back and read some of the endurace peoples posts, i dont think they are just going for "rides in the park" why dont you set up some light riding with some of them. you might just like it!

Jim Apple
I have been watching this topic and really have to ask some very pointed questions. If your going to really ride your horses(more than just the casual weekenders), is it worth soring your horses to force them to go barefoot? If you can go barefoot and never sore them that's great. But the number we see sored from barefeet is staggering. And yes, they were properly trimmed.

How do you expect a barefoot to wear better than steel? It just doesn't happen. In all the years(40 plus) that we have been trail riding, I've seen one, yes that's right one, horse that had feet that could take the rocks and he could ride for several days in a row without problems or soring his feet. But, this guy, readily admitted he could not ride the horse for several weeks, everyday, without wearing them down too short.

I do wish the barefoot activists would at least tell the whole story and not sugar coat it. I think it's great if you can go barefoot. And the way a lot of folks ride, they can go barefoot. But the riders that ride a lot, and don't walk every place they go, have a very poor chance of ever going barefoot without soring. There are two sides to this coin. Before you consider barefeet, you need to really take a long, hard, look at what's needed to accomplish it, and are you willing to do what's necessary to maintain them. If you want your horses to enjoy green grass in the pasture and you are more than the casual rider, your chances of being successful barefoot are very slim.
here is a link that will help folks take that long hard look-full of information and other links

I do endurance rides as well as the training and conditioning rides barefoot-all horses at an endurance ride are specifically checked by vets for lameness before, during and after the ride and will be disqualified if lame-even if I didn't care about my horses I would sure not be able to afford ride entries and travel expenses just to be disqualified for lameness.

My maintenance consists of a healthy lifestyle for my horses and a trim every 4 weeks-I don't ever have to cancel a ride because my horse threw a shoe.

As Bob suggests, take that long hard look and you just might reach the same conclusion Joe Camp and so many other folks have.
Mine had been big licked and shod all her life.. at the time when I pulled her shoes.. she was 7/8?? she is going on 10 now.. she had problems of being sore, etc. when I first pulled her shoes.. but as time went by.. she got better and better.. I just put boots on her until the time, that I really no longer boot her, unless it is extremely bad terrain.. Like Margot said.. never looked back..

I did think along the way.. is this right.. but she is still barefoot now.. and no worrys
A few years ago, we started letting our horses go barefoot when we realized they do not need shoes. None have foot problems that need "corrective shoeing". One of our Spotted Saddle mare's feet were almost ruined by continued shoeing (my fault). Her hooves were full of nail holes and splitting and dry. I finally told our farrier to take off the shoes and trim her feet. She could barely walk, her feet were so tender. I kept boots on her for a week to help her tender feet & put hoof dressing on them for the dryness. She healed up great and her feet are now very healthy. When we ride, we put the Swiss horse boots on only the front feet of our horses. I don't know if anyone here has heard of them or used them, but they are wonderful. They are pretty expensive, but I got three pair on eBay for a fraction of the original cost. I think we paid about $35 a pair. They are very nice quality and last a very, very long time. I guess eventually we can go completely barefoot, but for now the boots are working well and I believe are a good transition.

They are THE BEST boot currently on the market, and by far the most user horse and user friendly.

Jim Apple
We committed to going barefoot a year ago. We knew that it would be a transition and that we couldn't just go out on that rocky 6 hr ride without our girls experiencing some discomfort.  So, we purchased Renegade boots for front feet only and we've NEVER had a problem with lameness.  We ride mostly barefoot now but have the boots on hand if the terrain gets very rocky.  They are the BEST boots I've ever tried.  I've never lost one, they have never rubbed, and the ease of putting them on while on the trail is awesome.  Quick and easy.
I would love to know more about these Swiss horse boots. I have priced the EASYBOOTS and they are very expensive. I sometimes ride up at East East Fork and in East Tn. and the ground is really rocky.
My horse is still getting use to being barefooted, but hope to go trailriding soon and will need to get
some boots.
I would strongly suggest that you look into investing in a pair of Renegade hoof boots. I used to use the Swiss boots and am one of 75 profesinals that easycare chose for thier "Team Easyboot" field reps. and rarely use their boots anymore.

Go with Renegades........

The Rengades are $180.00 with shipping inc. and are worth it. I do this for a living and it has to work for the horses or I don't use it.

Jim Apple
Brenda,I have heard of swiss boots,do you know how to measure them?my horse is in an 0 renegade
I can't find a near enough trimmer, that is cost efficient and close enough. I have 2 horses that are flat footed and very sore without shoes. Leroy has been barefoot for some time now. He does not get the 'mustang roll' oa any special trim. I rode him yesterday and he is fine on the road, filds, trail, anywhere except the side of the road and gravel. He tip toes and limps and refuses. Put shoes on and he is going fine. I have tried boots, and they did work, but I think they are too much trouble. The only time I have ever had a problem, was my farrier trimmed too much sole on Leroy and this cused an abcess later. He was extremely flat footed an thin soled. He no longer trims much sole. I have not had a horse with a lameness issue from shoes. I had a mare with a broken sesamoid bone, shoes helped. I had a mule with ringbone, nothing helped. I would be willing to try this IF, I had a dependable, trimmer close by, that was affordable. Now, I am paying $35 to shoe, or $12 to trim, and I have yet to see one compare. I do take my horses there, but fuel is not as expensive in one trip as it is to pay higher for a farrier to come out. I don't see Leroy ever being able to go barefoot comfortably on gravel. Jill and Ally probably, but Sunny and Leroy I doubt they could.
If a horse is flat footed the first thing I look at is diet and the search usally stops there. Why, because horses dont really inherit flat-feet, they grow them.

I NEVER trim the sole of a flat footed horse, I used to but now I know better. lots of farriers do but it keeps them in the shoeing biz and the vet will always have work.

I dont know if I have ever seen a flat-footed horse that was not at the very least sub-clinicaly lamanitic or chronicly foundered.

If he tip toes barefoot hes not sound
If he is better with shoes he is still not sound.

Fix the cause, dont band-aid the symptoms

Hoof boots can be a pain and rarely work very well unless you have a competent person trim the horse and fit the boots properly.

As for prices I do charge more but my clients tell me that they get what they pay for, and I have ZERO flat-soled/thin-soled horses and I trim about 250-260 horses a month

sounds to me like you have found someone that fits your needs and price range and that is good. You should come ride with us on March 21st at Percy Warner Park in Nashville. I would love to meet you and your horses.

Jim Apple


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