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!
Barefoot!! I bet you didn't know that one!! HAHAHAHAHA!! Why, I came across it by accident.. I was in the height of my endurance riding ( using steel with borum tips) when after a 50 at BSF, my horse came up lame 3 weeks later.. It was hard to believe that the endurance ride was actually the cause (as many people implied). But she was lame like every other couple of days.. I would ride her in the arena for several hours. THen trail ride for 10 or so miles.. fine.. then lame.. then fine.. then lame.. yadda yadda.. So I decided instead of paying over 200.00 dollars a month for her and my gelding.. I was going to pull the shoes..
ASIDE!! Yes, I had every x-ray conceivable and absolutely nothing.. okay.
A shoer was giving her a regular trim and she was constantly tender footed and hard to ride consistently because of it..
Where I was boarding, the barn owner came across a barefoot trimmer at a saddle club and gave me his number and the rest is history!!
She has never been lame since.. that has been 2 years ago. I do have to boot her when the ride calls for it because she just doesn't like the rocks that much.. and after years and years of being sored.. her front feet are just not the natural.., thing I guess..
My husband's horse has never had shoes and are rock hard and can run over burning coals and doesn't care.. (okay.. we don't actually run her over hot coals.. but you get the picture!) THere is just a big difference between an existing condition, such as soring and always airing it out!! My husband really never has to boot, but mine will start doing the ouch.. ouch..ouch.. but for the most part, she isn't as bad as she was.. BSF is about the only place I boot her now..
Hi Jim , me again. Economics is one reason why mine are barefoot and they do well. My friends with shoes always have problems, pinched heels, hot nails etc. One of my friends pays 250.00 for the fancy "expert" with the shiney truck and trailer to shoe her horse.
As long as you have a barefoot specialist doing the trim, you might be able to. You might need some boots for the transition period though..
Some horses have more sensitive feet and will need a bit of time to form what is effectivly a callous under their feet. I was lucky, mine all had great feet and were never "ouchy".
OK, Jim is also my trimmer, but I don't think even he knows what started me on the barefoot horse lifestyle!
I was riding endurance and of course being told horses HAD to be shod. My friends were missing training rides with a pulled shoe awaiting reset, abcesses growing out, etc. My farrier at the time was great,showed up on time, I never lost a shoe and never had an abcess (he was cute too LOL!). However my horses were sliding on pavement, which I had to ride to get to the dirt roads around my house if I didn't trailer out, as well as on big rocks. Asked about borium studs to stop the slide-farrier said well yeah it'll work but it's like skiing with breakaway straps that don't work-the torque has to go somewhere and it goes into the joints above the foot which has stopped sliding. Made sense as I have a torn meniscus from a ski boot that didn't release when I fell, but I still bought into the shod for all the miles/terrain story UNTIL.....at a very muddy ride, my shod horse slid on a slick muddy trail, caught her shod hoof on some limbs across the trail, wrenched her foot free twisting the shoe, and we reset the shoe at the vetcheck. She came up lame, and not as lucky as Cheryl, the wrenching tore a suspensory high up and she is now hanging out in my pasture as she's still short strided and doesn't weight that foot as much as the other after 5years. She and I are blessed that I have enough pasture as well as the desire to keep her, otherwise I may have been looking for a rescue for her. That mare is beautiful and the smoothest ride of any of my horses, but shoes ended her career.
Barefoot is NOT cheaper for me, Jim comes more often than the farrier did. Your current farrier probably can NOT do a barefoot trim-it is not the pasture trim most do if you leave the shoes off in the winter.
There is a transition for most horses to toughen their sole and frog after pulling shoes, although I did have one mare that never took a false step and had been shod for 5 years when I got her. Pasture 24/7, not on a lush flat green expanse but a hilly rocky dry dust bowl helps too along with primarily hay and beet pulp with a little grain IF they are being worked-otherwise hay, water, salt and mineral blocks as well as occasional tubs of Equilix.
I do have some hoofboots, somewhere(have you seen them lately Jim?) but haven't yet needed them.
My horses no longer slide on pavement or rock and do just fine on trails or roads-see ya at Barefoot in the Park!
thinking of slippage.. both of my horses slipped in the shallow slippery moss covered rocks at Bowie at the first creek crossing.. and I thought.. "What the ^e77".. first time I think they have ever slipped..
Well, I had never really questioned putting shoes on horses. It was a bit akin to asking why grass grows in the field! However I never gave it much thought either, since I rode from the age of 12-14 and then stopped for 10 years. At 23, just after I started riding again, on some horses that were actually barefoot because they had never had shoes and were rescued, I was thinking, awww poor horses must put shoes on them!
2 months later, I was playing at a tennis tournament in Canada and stopped in a lovely saddlery by the road, and the wise old saddle maker said, never shoe your horses. He proceded to give me a very good explenation as to why and told me to read certain books on the subject. I thought about it, but John, was harder to convince, and they were shod anyway.
Fast forward about 3 months, and I came across my current trimmer Nora Miller, on another TN horse message board, and examined her website, did some more research, and finally convinced John. Well, he didnt want it on his horse, but my 2- got the treatment. His followed one trimming/shoeing rotation later!
Never looked back since, and never bothered buying the boots! My equines (now have a mule too) all have rock crunching feet!
Sorry you had poor results. Just remember, as with horse trainers, house painters, auto mechanics, doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs, not all trimmers do a good job. And the mustang roll is just a minor part of a good barefoot trim. If the young horse did well for a long time, my suspicion is something changed other than being barefoot-diet change like grass with a higher sugar content?
Why risk getting them sore from a hot nail when they can go barefoot and prevent it ?
I guess my 4 are really lucky! We count our blessings! :)
They have a really good barefoot trimmer, and they get ridden about 5 times a week when they are at their peak season. One has recently started competing in barrel racing, and are ridden on all terrain.... they never wear boots, they have rock hard feet! :) I love it and I am happy for them,
As a professional athlete myself, I do think about what you say, when you say an athlete wouldnt go without shoes... but I also think that I wouldnt fare too well on the tennis court (or any other sport) with metal shoes. At least the barefoot boots are much lighter and are not semi permanent.. I also dont think you can compare human feet and horse feet very well, since we simply have hard skin under our feet. Also, if we go "barefoot" more often, we develop calouses underfoot to help, as do the horses.