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Barefoot horses

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CMhorses
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Barefoot horses
After reading some about it, I wondered what peoples views are on horses going barefoot and horses with shoes and why/when one is better than the other. Not trying to start a fight or anything,I'm just a curious person.
Morgan
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Re: Barefoot horses

Well...as a profesional barefoot trimmer (and to be aanhcp certified shortly) I think my opinion would be obvious. :D
Barefoot is better!(I think most people would agree that a horse that can ride barefoot is sounder than otherwise) I'm of the opinion that horses that "cannot" go barefoot could if there were certain changes in lifestyle and/or trim (usually both). If you are not able or willing to make those changes you may be stuck with shoes but otherwise I do not find any evidence for genetics causing a horse to need shoes.
As for performance enhancing shoes (like sliding plates), that's up to the owner completely but I personally would not alter my horses gaits artificially. And as far as things like spikes for slick ground, usually the texture of a bare foot can handle it but if not I am able to put spikes on boots (not available in some places I understand but I can, so I consider it an option.).

So personally I will never have a shod horse (unless there's like a broken coffin bone or something. but thats veterinary, not farrier) because I would rather work at barefoot conditioning and know my horse is truely sound.

Sara
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Re: Barefoot horses

I'm a fan of barefoot but I won't go as far as to say that I'll never have a shod horse. We do need studs to show hunters and jumpers on grass so I use shoes for that, and I'm going to put shoes on Teddy in a few weeks too. He's my TB ex show hunter who I bought back a year ago. I've spent the past year transitioning him to being barefoot and he was nice and sound until the weather got hot and dried up the ground. Now he's so sore he refuses to move. He has open access to a paddock but won't leave his matted stall. I borrowed my student's Old Mac boots that she keeps for when her horse loses a shoe and he was instantly rideable so... front shoes are going on. He's 16 and deserves to be as comfortable as possible and I'm not going to put him through any more pain.

All my other riding horses (and of course the babies) are barefoot right now however and doing great. We even show barefoot when the footing is right, and Ginny went to a horse trial barefoot but it was only beginner novice. :)

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Re: Barefoot horses

i prefer barefoot, but put shoes on my flat footed old rescue mare asap when she came. another mare i have has not been used yet this year because she doesn't like our new farms clay footing that turns to cement when dry. she is starting to toughen up now and i think she will be better for having been given the time to build up a nice solid sole instead of my initial panicked call to the farrier for shoes (he said she didn't need them and i love him for that) other then those 2 i have only used shoes, like Sara, so i can add studs for showing or one pony i had years ago who was foundered when i got him and needed some super rolled toe bar shoes. but since i prefer to trim my own and cant set shoes, i guess barefoot is the only way for me to go LOL
I am not as anti-shoe as i was when i was researching the barefoot trim. I am still anti-shoe for young horses, i think the consequences of shoeing a young horse FAR out weigh any benefit they might have, but i think shoes can be valuable if done properly and for the right reasons.

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Re: Barefoot horses

Wow, other than the bit about the foundered pony (I've never had one of those) I could have written the post above. Clay soil, doing my own trims, yup.

I've just added one more to the list of horses getting front shoes in three weeks. Poor Splash, the Appaloosa mare with the white, white feet, is sore now too with the clay cement on my farm.

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Morgan
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Re: Barefoot horses

See, I find that odd from my own experience :? My horses get sounder when the ground hardens. I have a lot more trouble with soft ground leaving the frogs tender than anything. Are you beeing absolutly sure to get compacted sole out? A hard ground trim requires a bit more than your standard "lightly scrape sole and trim wall" routine that is taught for horses with wet feet. I think mine would go lame if I didnt trim down the calous. Which can require anything from a knife to nippers to a sole rasp to much cussing and contemplation of getting a grinder. :lol:

Sara
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Re: Barefoot horses

I believe that I am. Teddy was actually the one who showed me the difference between live sole and compacted sole -- on him it's super obvious. But yeah, the sun came out, the ground got hard, and he stopped going outside. He's just as lame now as when I got him from the guy up in Washington a year ago, but almost totally sound in old mac boots. It's definitely his feet.

edit: you added to your post so now I will too. :) To get Teddy's sole out I start with the nippers to get the big stuff, then dig at the rest with a knife.

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Re: Barefoot horses

i hate trimming sole. its scary. i will go take pics after my daughter gets on the bus. we had a bunch of rain yesterday, so her feet should be soft enough to trim today. I went from trimming 3 to trimming 8 this year and have lost a lot of knuckles :(

mistonia
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Re: Barefoot horses

im a fan of barefooted horses too. never shoe now, i have soo many bad experiecnes of badly shod horses and badly trimmed horses i do them all my self, all sound happy, straight feet. my stallions 10 and his feet were horrendous all his feet turned different directions from being badly trimmed. but have to say they are all straight now, he no longers dish 90% of the time(if left too long between trims dishes) and happy, my 5yo mares never had shoes on either and her feets so tough. we ride on all terrains and do about 10miles of regular road work, and jump, show and will do cross country,dressage ect all unshod. neither are ever lame.
this is my stallions feet, and this is the lane we walk up and down on a regular basis
IMAGE(http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b165/mistonia/rociansfeet.jpg)

TheRedHayflinger
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Re: Barefoot horses

my ponies are both barefoot and have never had shoes on (to my knowledge....when I bought my SSH, they said never been shod...and I got my haffy as an 8 year old untouched mare, so pretty sure she never had shoes on either).
I trail ride a lot and for 2 summers the haffy was at a boy scout camp with me working and the SSH was there one summer...very rocky trails--mainly sandstone, but some granite and other stuff there too. I rode them a lot there and their feet held up extremely well. That being said, I kept a close eye on their feet and had they needed shoes, they would have gotten them! I'm not against shoes, just prefer barefoot myself and if they can go barefoot, that's my first choice.

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Re: Barefoot horses

i hate trimming sole. its scary. i will go take pics after my daughter gets on the bus. we had a bunch of rain yesterday, so her feet should be soft enough to trim today. I went from trimming 3 to trimming 8 this year and have lost a lot of knuckles :(

I have 20 to trim now and I'm TIRED. This is on top of feeding, mucking, teaching and riding of course. Oh yeah, and my job :P . I'm happy to turn a few of them back to the farrier this summer, I think!

The farrier who is going to put shoes on Teddy this summer is the one who did his shoes for five years when he was in his prime and showing heavily. He never lost a shoe and was never sore that whole time so I'm happy with this man's work. He's actually been my farrier for over ten years. I've been incredibly lucky!

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Morgan
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Re: Barefoot horses

I have 20 to trim now and I'm TIRED. This is on top of feeding, mucking, teaching and riding of course. Oh yeah, and my job . I'm happy to turn a few of them back to the farrier this summer, I think!

Lol! I think I can understand that. Have you considered a grinder? I've been looking into what people who use them say and I think its a great idea for someone who does a lot of their own. Quick and easy especially got someone who isn't as efficient with regular tools (and possibly safer). I know trimming with nippers and rasp without being able to propperly hold the hoof is a pain in the...well....everything and takes forever. Now that I finally can get my legs to hold onto them right and work two handed the entire time I feel powerfull. 8-) New client this morning it felt so good to finally be confident and efficient without squinting at the hoof too hard or dropping my rasp 10 times :laugh1 (nice snowflake appy gelding btw).

Sass, for the knuckles one word: Ironclad. Seriously, get some kevlar gloves. :D

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Re: Barefoot horses

Can you post an example of the grinder?

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Morgan
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Re: Barefoot horses

I just joined the abrasive trim yahoo group to learn more about it so I'm not entirely sure the exact ones they're using yet. I get the idea that people are just using various hand held disk grinders like you gan get at a hardware store but I was liking the look of this (except the price :o , but I supose the chain would last longer than replacing disks all the time? dunno, it just looks cool :P ):
http://www.hooftrimmingtools.net/company..." onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I could see a grinder being handy for the major part of a trim in the summer here and just do finishing touches by hand.

edit: here's a video of the merlyn in action. Tool is nice, demo could be better. :lol:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYdtCN-VzRA" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Barefoot horses

I've been riding barefoot horses long before it was the popular thing to do!

However, we do a lot of mountain riding on rocky trails, and my barefoot horses can't go everywhere a shod horse can go, nor can they go as fast. Sometimes I have to use Easyboots, but they can be a pain in the patootie.

I found out that sometimes you just gotta have shoes.

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Re: Barefoot horses

i think everything to do with horses is about finding what YOU like and what YOU need. I can't rely on one method of trimming/shoeing, just like i am not going to rely on one method of training. Shoes are valuable on the right feet for the right reasons. I still want to try the glue on's though. I think i would have to plan a big old trail ride or something to make it reasonable for me to put them on a horse, but i would like to give it a go.

CMhorses
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Re: Barefoot horses

I just wondered peoples opinions because from what I read it said that shoes keep the foot from flexing and absorbing as much shock and it caused the blood flow to not be as good. And no, not everything you read on the internet is true, I just wonder how true any of that is.

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Re: Barefoot horses

Pretty much everyone agrees that that is true, the discussions usually just lie in whether benifits outweigh that.
Also on that note keep in mine that when riding on rough ground and a shod horse is "sounder " than the unshod horse and the only difference being a rim of metal on the wall and nails or glue holding the hoof riged and the sole and frog slightly raised (though often the sole of a shod horse is thinned and not as concave as a well trimmed bare hoof). What do you think is making them more comfortable?the rougher ground will put the same pressures on teh sole and frog of a shod horse as a bare hoof. The shod horse is just reacting less because of dulled feeling. If the sole or frog is weak to the point of soreness on gravel on a bare hoof, shoeing does not change that, they still bruise (and you can see it when you trim), they just have the symptoms masked. I recommend caution riding any horse without the integrity necessary for rough ground on it bare or shod. Pads (when shod) and boots (when bare) are necessary to prevent damage. The onyl actually use of regular shoes imo is as a quick solution to wall integrity issues, which ime are rarely a source of discomfort and shoes have a further weakening effect on the wall, the only real solution to weak walls after adressing nutrition is a good trimming schedule and conditioning, just like you would a muscle. If you MUST work the horse and ffor some odd reason have to have a strong wall area then shoes might be your thing, they were invented in the days of working horses to keep them usable no matter what. It's a patch, nothing more. Many many many major hoof issues are caused by impropper long term shoing. Picture leprosy, the deformities are not caused by the desease itself, its damage because the people cannot feel the things that hurt them. A shod horse will work uncomplainingly as little normally painfull problems acumulate untill one day it's just too much and only then do the owners notice, at which point they are terrified to take the shoes off cause the horse has bad feet, and initially deshoing would be painfull but it would also cut the healing time down dramatically, if the horse could even have healed at all with the restriction of the shoes. Physical therapy hurts, but without it you wouldnt ever get strong again from a major inhury or illness. And any kind of "corrective" work can be done quite efficiently by shaping the hoof horn itself (and MUCH cheaper). Including for laminitis (need special rolled toe shoe? why not just roll to toe of the hoof? duh...) thats part of what makes the healing barefoot faster, you can refresh a trim or alter it to the current needs as often as needed, shoes are too static. That and the bloodflow and stimulation to the bare hoof.
hmm I'd better get to bed before I write an even longer unreadable essay LOL

CMhorses
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Re: Barefoot horses

Thank you Morgan, you had a lot of good info in that post!

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Re: Barefoot horses

did i mention i want one of those grinders? i didn't see that i said it, but i remember thinking i should say it. I remember thinking i should say that the cost of them isn't really prohibitive considering what i save in farrier visits.

here is my math (cause who doesn't like math)
6x$30= $180

so even if i used it for 2 trims and BROKE it, i would have saved money and i can only imagine how much easier trimming would be in the winter when feet are frozen and my fingers are frozen and the blood from my knuckles freezes to my skin while trimming.

bookmarking that site. i'm getting one before winter :P i wonder how loud they are...have any idea?

maybe some of those kevlar gloves would be a good investment too, if i am using power tools. bet those things would take my finger clear off!

edited to add. saw the video, but its hard to tell if that is how loud it is or if the quality of the video sound is bad....hmmm.

critterkeeper
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Re: Barefoot horses

The video is that bad ... but did you see where they sell the disks for the reg. hand-held grinders that you can get from the hardware store - they are only like $70-80.
:laugh1

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Re: Barefoot horses

We went on a 22-mile mountain ride on Friday. By the end of the day, the horse that was barefoot (mine!) was walking at the edge of the trail to avoid the rocks, and slamming my knee into the trees. Ouch!!

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Re: Barefoot horses

I am fed up with my mare having ouchy feet - even with shoes she hates stoney ground and I feel so guilty riding her so am looking into Cavallo or Old Mac boots now.

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Re: Barefoot horses

I haven't tried the Cavallos. I did get a pair of Old Macs for the Thoroughbred I used to have, but never used them much. They didn't look rugged enough for the kind of riding we do. I've had real good luck with Easyboot Bares. The only problem I've had with them is an occasional torn off gaitor, which is easily replaced. I won't waste my money on Easyboot Epics again.

I've heard good things about Renegades, but they're rather pricey. If I need to get new boots, I think I'll try the Easyboot Gloves.

Morgan
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Re: Barefoot horses

The only boots I recommend when people ask me for rough riding are the bares, renegades or (locally) swiss. I have a pair of Old Macs, and though they are well known they really arent all that great. I've never got my hands on a glove yet but they look alright if you make sure they fit.
For light riding or rehab most any boot that fits decently will do. The Cavallos..I dunno. the look of them just bothers me. I'd have to actually get a pair to tell what they are good for.
One of my endurance clients got the renegades, I measured for her and gave her a size estimate, she hasn't had me out to check the fit though, due for a trim now so I'll finally get to see....
Apparently they came off in a bog on one ride. :? Although as her friend that was with her pointed out to me the kind of bog it was could pull a shoe too. :laugh1 I've been trying to determine of glue-ons are a good option for her for her longer rides but I don't know much about it. Her horse is sound, just needs a little extra for the extremes on multi day rides. She rides him so much that he's on an 8-9 week schedule and even then the trim is just removing uneven bumps on the sole (which start to bother him), ballancing, and refinishing the roll on the wall. If I remember correctly he's a thoroughbred/quarter horse. Looks like a giant grey arab. :lol:

CMhorses
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Re: Barefoot horses

I know this isn't the right topic but it sort-of fits in this one. Doc's feet are now chipping naturally rather nicely since I moved everything outside on the hard ground also his injured leg is much much better. Seems like all the horses feet are now chipping since the wet weather spell has stopped. Only problem now is our other stallion has a sore foot. Ugh, is it possible for them to cut the sole on a rock?

The glue on horse shoes made me curious and I found a site that tells a little about them. http://www.soundhorse.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Barefoot horses

if they go from a big stretch of soft ground to hard ground they can get sore, bit letting them chip off can cause them to come too short or even crack up higher then they should. best to get out a rasp and go to town! its good exercise! I usually just do one horse/day or one AM and one PM if i have a few that look like they need it asap. that way i can get them done every 4 weeks and save myself some time in the long run.

Morgan
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Re: Barefoot horses

The glue on horse shoes made me curious and I found a site that tells a little about them. http://www.soundhorse.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Those arent the kind I was thinking of...those are designed for permanent or semi permanet and are not really flexible.
I was speaking of the renegade glue ons that are used for rough rides. you glue it on before the ride, then remove it so the hoof can wear naturally.
http://renegadehoofboots.com/glueon.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
the sigafoos are for lame horses, the renegade are performance wear that is for just that extra that they sometimes need.

Renegade molds also require a hoof to be fairly naturally shaped. They are for performance, not a rehab boot.
The best rehab boot for a horse you are going to ride is the Swiss, they can be shaped and reshaped and reshaped unless the horse changes clear out of the size (which does happen if they were decontracting or deflaring) but I could probably get one to stay put on a the wierdest hoof you can imagine. :lol: they just have an issue in that they dont have draft sizes :S For them you often are stuck with Old Macs. One of my instructors in Arkansas took me out to a farm where they had a percheron cross, she had him in the biggest Swiss boot and while we were there we had to heat fit it to squeeze out a few more mm becuase he had grown a bit more. He was 5 so probably about done with the growing but he quite nearly got forced out of the Swiss lol.
If you have a lame horse you are not riding but need a boot for excercise during the day there are plenty of cheaper soft boots around.

CMhorses
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Re: Barefoot horses

Wow those are really cool, what are they made of?

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Re: Barefoot horses

I have no idea :lol: i just fired off an email with a bunch of questions, I may ask that one next.
I did read up on them a bit and it seems that you should be carefull of color to pick a cool one as extra heat can encourage bacteria, and don't leave them on more than a week. (personally I wouldn't leave them on any longer than the ride lasted)

they are $49.90 a pair, the adhesive is $29.95 a cartrige and the cartridge gun is $52.99

I'm asking how many times you can reuse them, I forgot to ask how many boots one cartridge does. :?
You also need denatured alchohol and a rasp and sandpaper to prepare the hoof (and I would knife anything dead off the sole and frog too to minimize bacteria)

CMhorses
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Re: Barefoot horses

Sounds kinda pricey, are they that much better than regular hoof boots?

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