We are going barefoot!

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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#1
The front shoes are coming off next week to leave a completely barefoot Ben. I have wanted to do this for years and have finally taken the plunge. The vet said the ideal was to do enough work on different surfaces that the horse trims his own feet. Time will tell.

Who else is in the barefoot club?
 
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Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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#2
My girls have never been shod. OH's warmblood has made the transition to barefoot over the past twelve months. It's gone really well. He has Easyboots for road hacking. I never needed to boot madam, she had good hard feet right from the start - and we used to do lots of hacks on various tracks.
I would have liked to have tried with J but his poor tb feet just could not have coped according to the vet. I certainly don't miss pulled / hanging off shoes!!!
 

Star the Fell

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Jun 14, 2015
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#3
Both mine are barefoot.
Star has never been shod. Mylo had shoes on when I got him, had the farrier take them all off two weeks later and he is doing fine. I do use boots when hacking out but that’s because the tracks are really stoney. If I know I’m just doing roadwork I don’t boot up.
Downside is having to put boots on muddy feet it Winter. I seem to have permanently grubby hands,
 

Ale

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Feb 8, 2012
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#4
Ale has been barefoot a couple of years now. It's been a journey of ups and downs, currently down as his fronts are very crumbly after the sudden drying out of the weather. But he's not sore it's purely cosmetic really so could be alot worse. It's something I'm so pleased and I think it's benefitted him hugely, he had really healthy feet all winter for once!
 
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joellie

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Apr 24, 2011
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#5
Both mine are barefoot. Marley had awful feet when I first got him and his shoes kept coming off with chunks of hooves, so I went barefoot and have never looked back. He has great strong feet now although I do have scoot boots that I would pop on if we were doing lots of road work. He doesn't self trim, at the start to get his feet good and strong he had them trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks by my great trimmer, this year has been the first when I am only needing him out every 3 months or so.
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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#6
I tried it with Raf and it didn't work out, but mainly I think due to the EP that I chose, who insisted in taking more and more hood off each time until he was sore and his pastern angle was affected. I hated putting on/getting off the boots too - they were so tight I was worried about straining a pastern joint in my efforts , yet one of them still insisted on pulling off in muddy conditions. Current farrier says he couldn't manage bare foot with what we do, his shoes are worn to thin metal after 6 weeks in summer, it used to be 5 before his arthritis diagnosis. I don't expect Ben would be the same though as I don't think you hack on roads?

We recently tried it with Jack too - he only has fronts but since he is retired we thought we'd take the fronts off. However he got sore so rather than going through all the trauma of conditioning his feet we just had the shoes back on - he's an old boy and probably been shod all his life. He might as well live out his last years in ease and comfort.

Sorry that's not very positive is it? Actually I'm sure it is the best thing in an ideal world, it just didn't work for us, but I wish it had. I think it's important to be open minded about these things. Good luck with Ben.
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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#7
Chunky was barefoot when I had him but due to his pedal bone fracture I had fronts put on. The farrier said I could go back barefoot but I decided not to. When I retire him I will probably go barefoot.
Billy was barefoot when I bought him. I don't think he was ever shod by his previous owners either. I'm amazed in 2½ years I have never had his feet even trimmed. I got the farrier to look at them the other day and he's happy and says there's nothing to trim.
 
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Pete's Mum

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Jun 4, 2014
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#8
Pete's never been shod & we've never had a problem - we hack on roads, gravel & rocky tracks as well as grass, chalk paths & everything inbetween.

Although I find a good barefoot diet & a good EP hugely important :)
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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#9
None of mine are shod, I've never got them self trimming tho as just not got enough rough surfaces around here. I trim/balance every 3-4 weeks as it is less strain on my back to do little and often.
 

Kite_Rider

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May 18, 2009
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Well we tried, for about a year I think we tried. In the end Belle is just more comfortable with shoes, she really doesn’t grow much hoof at all and as all our work is pretty much road work I think she is happier in shoes.
I would love her to be shoeless but it’s just not going to work for her.
 
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Jane&Ziggy

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#11
Ziggy has been barefoot since his first laminitis episode. I like to know what is happening with his feet.

My RI agrees with your vet and says he needs much more work on hard surfaces - nearly all our hacking is off road on sandy soil. More road work for Ziggy and me when he is rideable again!
 

Mary Poppins

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#12
Who do you use to trim and how often are trims done? My vet advised me to stay with a qualified farrier and not a barefoot trimmer because farriers are far more qualified. My vet said when his shoes are taken off, the farrier isn’t to trim them. They need to be left for a while so he can find his natural balance if that makes sense. He said most problems with barefoot horses are caused by trimmers taking off too much.
 

Pete's Mum

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#13
I would go for a good barefoot trimmer anyday of the week over a farrier. Most farriers know how to trim a horse in preparation for a shoe or a paddock trim - but I've not yet met one that can sustain a healthy & hard working barefoot.I find their aftercare much better too. But that's just my experience :)

I see my trimmer every 12 weeks at the moment - but have seen them as often as 4 weeks if need be.

There are good FB groups for the barefoot horse & a few good barefoot books too. I like Nic Barker's 'Feet First' & her newer one, which the name has escaped me!
 
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Jane&Ziggy

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#16
My farrier did an okay trim but when Ziggy developed laminitis again his response was "he has to have shoes on" and I don't agree. I have a trimmer every 6 or 7 weeks - he is very busy so this is his cycle. That's not ideal as Ziggy's feet grow very fast and very flat and sometimes I would prefer him to be seen every 4 weeks but it's the way it has to be, trimmers are like hens' teeth round here!
 

Mary Poppins

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#17
Have you looked at the Rockley Farm webpage? This talks about keeping trimming to a minimum and hardly getting their feet trimmed at all. But obviously, they need to be doing work on surfaces to enable this to happen.

Why does Ziggy need to be shod after laminitis? Is this to provide support to the pedal bone?
 

Pete's Mum

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#18
The Rockley Farm blog is great :) It's Nic Barker who runs it!

But don't forget - they have purpose built tracks & facilities to facitilate optimum hoof care/growth/self trimming.

A lot of horse's may need additional support - e.g a good trim - as well as a barefoot friendly diet - to help achieve optimal results in 'lesser' conditions.

Pete does self trim to an extent these days as our hacking is so good here with a mixture of surfaces - but I can't physically ride hack him more in a week to maintain purely self trimming (in the summer we hack between 25-35 miles a week on average I'd say).

In the winter he maintains self-trimming more, as he hacks less & his hoof growth is slower.

But I still have an EP out every 3 months regardless to keep an eye on things :)
 

Kite_Rider

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May 18, 2009
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#19
Have you looked at the Rockley Farm webpage? This talks about keeping trimming to a minimum and hardly getting their feet trimmed at all. But obviously, they need to be doing work on surfaces to enable this to happen.

Why does Ziggy need to be shod after laminitis? Is this to provide support to the pedal bone?
I think what @Jane&Ziggy is saying is that shoes seem to be most Farrier’s answer to everything.
If you can keep them barefoot it is ideal to my mind, however, despite my meticulous care of Belles diet, general health and a very good trimmer it was very o virus that she didn’t cope without shoes, I don’t have the time anymore to keep booting for rides and she just was not comfortable walking over the rough gravel track from stable to field no matter what. I don’t like the fact that despite our best efforts I have to shoe her, but it is what it is, reading threads like this makes me feel like I should/could have tried harder. :(
 

Pete's Mum

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#20
Don't be daft @Kite_Rider!

Not every horse can cope barefoot or it's not always practical. My EP recommends some of her clients go back to shoes if need be & I completely agree with them :)