Barefoot horses Health

  • View author's info Author Posted on Feb 15, 2005 at 12:44 PM


    Anyone know anything/interested in this subject?
  • 21Comments

  • View author's info Posted on May 31, 2006 at 04:24 PM


    Hello All, New here, I would like to add something if I can. Some horses don't need shoes, and if they don't it is really better for them. Their feet grow faster, but depending on the ground surface, they mostlikely wear them off just as fast. And on the other hand some horses can't go without shoes, a lot of times it is because of weak hoof walls or lamenesses.
  • View author's info Posted on May 07, 2006 at 11:58 PM


    hi
    I have a mix of barefoot and shod horses here. In the winter all my horses except my thorobred are barefoot, as I find that shoes tend to cause more feet problems with the wet ground.
    My TB is only front feet shod all year round as he has shocking feet. My farrier tried a method from the states to improve his front feet but this did not work. Hence he is the only one with shoes all year round.

    I re-train problem horses so shoeing would be too expensive specially if I have to on sell the horse that comes out of my profit from the sale. Am a big fan of barefoot.
  • View author's info Posted on May 07, 2006 at 07:10 AM


    regards forging
    this is generally caused by the front end not moving properly and usually nothing to do with bad showing.
    keep smiling everyone
  • View author's info Posted on Apr 04, 2006 at 01:54 PM


    Land Flat and Fly True! Balance Balance Balance. All horses are crooked and each one will go differently either Barefoot or Shod if not balanced or close to balanced. If my horses could go barefoot and not be sore then I would be there in a heartbeat. If you don't mind putting out good money and time to let your horse toughen up to live permanantly barefoot then great, but no guarentee, some will NEVER be able to go barefoot due to thin weak shelly feet. Bare foot horses should be trimmed every 4-6 weeks to help take off any flares and keep the toes pulled back and allow for heal to grow. Remember your horse is not balanced if when looking at the barefoot hoof from the bottom and one side is cracky and split this is the side that is not hitting the ground, the solid side is where the blood and stimulation has been. You want both to hit evenly. For shod horses, Farriers not putting a shoe on straight ( you can check this by looking at the ware on the old shoes where the horse is breaking over is not in the center of the toe of the shoe. Setting the shoe to the point of the frog is WRONG! Frogs are not always pointing to the center of gravity. Not sure if this helps.
  • View author's info Posted on Apr 01, 2006 at 12:09 AM


    No expert myself, learned to put "cowboy shoes" on in a pinch and don't really have the talent training or inclination to be a "farrier". Disclaimer out of the way my ponies aren't used much in the winter months and I don't shoe them. Do trim them before turn out and again shortly before spring shoeing.

    I work on a dude string during the summer in the Rockies and as the name implies we have a couple rock there. If a horse in the string loses a shoe I don't get off and walk it home. As long as it's sound, I just take care to avoid specially rocky or steep rocky trails.

    The terrain and the use makes it necessary that we shoe our ponies. It also makes it so many of our shoes don't even last 5 to 6 weeks. Even when shod by experienced farriers. Under these conditions barefoot is not a option in the summer, but works fine in the off months.

    Herd management is like any other type of management I spect. A little knowledge, common sense, and the ability to work though problem and seek solutions is the name of the game. Just can't afford to become such an "expert" as to know it all.
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 03, 2006 at 11:53 PM


    eventing angel - I would really recommend you would read up a bit more on the topic. It shows clearly you need to learn more. The weight bearing is NOT done by the shoes, but by the very complicated structure of the whole hoof. Now the problem is- unless it's very soft ground- that the shoes only support the outer hoofwall, maybe a tiny bit of the outside of the heels, which means ALL the weight comes down on that small part of the hoof. The Impact when the foot hits the ground (the weight of whole horse and rider at every step, not only when coming down after a jump, where again the horse always comes down with one foot first anyways) is designed to get reduced by the flexing of the foot - since the foot cannot flex properly with shoes on, you actually increase the impact on the joints if you put on shoes!

    To understand weight bearing function of the hoof - The weight bearing parts of the hoof are : Heels, Frog, Sole,Bars and inner hoofwall (the outer hoofwall is always worn off by horses that live in dry conditions "mustang roll" or breaks off ion other climates "self trim", and no farrier needed, just lots of moving around, friction and biomechanics).

    The outer hoofwall (which the shoe is attached to) is not even designed to bear weight, ironically enough. Now you tell me a shoed foot has more weight bearing capacity with this bit of outer hoofwall than a properly trimmed barefoot hoof that has sole, heels, frog and inner hoofwallto distribute the weight onto? Cannot be by laws of physics, sorry girl.

    If you would argue that hoofs get worn off too fast without shoes - that is the common argument- yes, that might well be. I do not really want to get into the discussion about how feet can be conditionned in a way that they will stand much more wear than people think they could. I'll leave it with this.
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 03, 2006 at 11:35 PM


    Rodeo Bull Fighter - the hoof is a living thing. Even horses with thin walls can be rehabbed if it's done properly. And really, a proper barefoot trim is very different from the "preshoe or postshoe trim or pasture trim" a traditional farrier would learn to do.

    "Natural" is nothing we do to our horses, I agree. Yet I find it still quite sensible to use the wild horse foot as a model for how strong a horse's hoof can be -(come). Barefoot trimming is only one aspect of many management issues that will help a horse to maintain or rebuild a healthy hoof. It's not a fix but a supportive tool. Any trim done by a professional farrier that I saw so far was done in a way that the white line separation was a logical result from that kind of trim (too long heels - unbalanced foot in relation to the position of the coffin bone, too long outer hoofwall - shearing forces of the wall layers, too long bars - pressure on the bars and prevention of natural flex of the frog and heel area, frog cleaned up to a point where half of the weight bearing parts had been removed). Some farriers as you mention it too, know about the break over point, others don't. In any case I saw, the toes where still too long to encourage a breakover point that enables the horse to land heel first and not toe first. I am sure you know why the horse should not land toe first (abnormal wear on the knee joint)...

    Well, I don't want to turn this in a farrier forum, but I did want to put in a few valid words against the barefoot bashing "expert" opinion.

    And - no labels please, I am not a barefoot hard core cult follower, I have no problems with a proper shoe of the right size and shape, a minimum amount of nails in the right place, done with a proper trim and with the breakover point in mind.
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 03, 2006 at 11:20 PM


    Riona Horse - Absolutely do I want to talk about Boots- What do you want to talk about?
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 03, 2006 at 11:18 PM


    This is in response to a post by snowy river girl; you asked about a mare with Cracks in her feet and what to think of it.

    Cracks can either be a self trimming process of the foot and should diappear after that piece breaks off (self trims). If they go further up the foot they are more of a problem, even if the horse seems oblivius to it (horses are very stoic about chronic pain!)

    Check her outer hoofwall for flaring. If you look at the underside of the wall and you see
    a) a long outer hoofwall sticking out past the sole and
    b) a groove right along parts or all of the inside of that outer hoofwall - then you have a flare and a stretched white line. How to correct it? That's too extensive for this forum. You can search barefoot trimming sites and there are tons of them out there that have helpful trimming suggestions. Wouldn't the average farrier know that? Sadly NO. I just had to watch my horse's feet go from good to bad to worse over a period of a couple of years with the local farriers' "pasture trims", till I decided to do my own research. Now we all are doing much better!

    And before anybody on this forum wants to get all exited again about barefoot being bad, or wants to agressively put down any approach that excludes shoes - pease hold back and try to at least pretend you are not as ignorant as some of you people's posts sound!
  • View author's info Posted on Feb 23, 2006 at 07:51 PM


    [Dont try to give me anything on natural either. Sittting on a horses back is not natural for them. The natural stuff goes right out the window when you bring a horse out of its natural enviroment. Its not natural for a horse to eat grain or hay, be rode, groomed, washed, vacinated, wormed, its not even natural to have a horses feet trimmed. You think there is a farrier out in the wild that runs around shoeing them? Shoeing practices have been dated back as long as 500 B.C. and could go back as far as 3500 B.C.


    Preach it brother! I'm a full believer in shoes...of course i have a TB that i event too...so we kind of need them to absorb the impact of half a ton of horse coming down over a jump. I leave my pasture pet, Toby, barefoot though, and usually that's good enough for him. Of course he doesn't get ridden either, bad back legs.
  • View author's info Posted on Nov 20, 2005 at 07:52 AM


    Hi. First off, I've never been on a forum, cupid site, etc so sorry if this ends up in the wrong place :-) I have started barefoot with my horse. Arab 18yrs but fit and well. I think I am lucky as he, as most Arabs, has good feet to start with. The vet/farrier tells me that he is self triming, which is good. It is great to hear people doing all sorts of riding with their barefoot horses. I have to agree that not ALL horses are able to go barefoot. I have a lane that is really rocky so I put old macs on him then. Changing from shoes to barefoot take time and should not be rushed. Ps Shoe have just got too expensive now!But if he HAD to wear them, off course he would.
  • View author's info Posted on Aug 04, 2005 at 07:25 PM


    When it comes to shoes, I keep my mare shod almost year round with "drill-tac" shoes. The ground in the Midwest is sandy, rocky and muddy all in the same area, so the hoof wall takes a lot of abuse. If she never left the pasture then -no shoes, but I ride her in the woods, on pavement, in the mountains, just about everywhere. I prefer the drill-tac because it keeps her from slipping on slab stone or pavement. If you have ever had a horse slip, fall or do the splits and get stiffled, then you'll be glad you had drill-tac. It's the greatest for trail-riding.
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 24, 2005 at 06:28 PM


    I excersise thoroughbred racehorses and we race all of them barefoot with no problems! They just won't let us run on the turf...YET! :D I have a mare that used to have a severe club foot...Now with her barefoot trimming her feet look completly normal, you'd never know one was different.
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 15, 2005 at 10:04 PM


    hello rodeobullfighter. you seem to be an expert on horse's foot health so i was wondering....
    I own a small 14 hand quarter/standard mare with large, dry, hard feet. she's always developed severe cracking, despite quality food, suppliments, and regular treatments from a very well respected local ferrier. last summer she cracked so bad, her fiit split in half from the coronet to the toe. we've appoxied her and used egg bar shoes for months now with no success so i gave up and put her to pasture barefoot until this summer. amazingly enough, she isn't limping and seems to be doing fine, despite the hideousness of her foot. any recommendations?
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 11, 2005 at 04:10 PM


    I have a barefoot horse(others are shod), two farriers have advised me to leave him unshod, he is worked daily, often doing several miles on tarmac roads. the farrier checks him 6 weekly and has perfect feet, he's a heavy weight traditional cob, loads of feather and feet the size of dinner plates.despite his size, he floats on air and never slips or stumbles in bad weather.I'd like to see more horses barefoot, but very much depends on the horse, I'm not pro or anti shoes,just take each of mine as individuals with individual needs.
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 10, 2005 at 06:41 AM


    Sounds to me like your horse was not shod to prvide the correct breakover. Thus causin him to stride long on his back feet and reach up and hit the under side of his front feet. This is called forging. Nearly all the time this is a real easy fix, 1 of 2 things need to be done. #1 the front feet need to have the shoe set back about an 1/8" to help the break over. Or the same could be done to the hind feet.

    I have no problem leaving a horse barefooted. I always discuss this with my costomers when I go to the barn. Every horse I work on I talk to the comstomer before shoeing it to see how it has done over the last 4 or 5 weeks since I was last out. The I know if i need to make any adjustment or leave things where they are at.
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 06, 2005 at 05:22 PM


    My horses are barefoot but they don't really leave the farm. I tried shoes on my colt when I was training him to drive and was workig him daily. I used the farrier that was recommended as the best in my area. The shoes on his hind feet would tap the shoes on his front feet. I didn't think this was correct. I had the shoes removed and he has been barefoot ever since. If I started useing him daily again I would just moniter his feet and decide from there if he needed shoes or not. I definatly would say there are horses out there that need shoes but I would also say it should be made on an individual basis.
    ~Sarah
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 03, 2005 at 02:29 PM


    Im a full time farrier and I SHOE horses for a living. Nothing wrong with leaving a horse barefooted IF it can handle it. I shoe mainly event horses (thorobred, warm bloods horses of that nature). They have thin sole and sometimes even tend with shoes in grass. SO you will never convence me that some of the horses I shoe can go barefooted. When a shoe is properly applied the foot is still allowed to expand and contract normal. Dont try to give me anything on natural either. Sittting on a horses back is not natural for them. The natural stuff goes right out the window when you bring a horse out of its natural enviroment. Its not natural for a horse to eat grain or hay, be rode, groomed, washed, vacinated, wormed, its not even natural to have a horses feet trimmed. You think there is a farrier out in the wild that runs around shoeing them? Shoeing practices have been dated back as long as 500 B.C. and could go back as far as 3500 B.C.
  • View author's info Posted on Mar 02, 2005 at 10:19 AM


    Its a subject close to my heart! just interested to know if there are any other barefooters out there or anyone not heard of all the controversy surround the subject at the moment. Attach a link to various sites including articles from vetenarians on the damaging effects of shoing if anyone interested.