We are going barefoot!

Jane&Ziggy

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#21
My trimmer too - barefoot is not for every horse.

I haven't used a farrier since Ziggy's abscess-cum-laminitis debâcle several years ago. My trimmer's attitude to laminitis is that it is usually recoverable, especially if you catch it early. I am hoping very much that will be the case this time!
 

chunky monkey

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#22
Remember you can have two horses feed exact the same and on exactly the same pasture but both grow hoof growth at different rates. As is the case with my two. Although there is an age difference admittedly. I have one that has not been touched in 2½ years. The other who's barefoot on the back and needs trimming every six weeks and has quite a bit taken off each trim.
 

Mary Poppins

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#24
I am very lucky in that my trimmer is a qualified master farrier, had been for many years. He said though that he came to see what damage nailing a shoe on to the hoof did and he would never nail another shoe on a horse again.
His page is very interesting, for anyone who would like a read here is a link to it https://www.equinepodiatryireland.com/
Thank you. I will have a read. x
 
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Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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#25
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. :(
No, you shouldn't think or feel you could have tried harder. Some just aren't suitable, j was never ever going to manage. You just have to be sensible and do what's right and go with farrier / vet advice.
 
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newforest

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#26
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.
This is us. I have a farrier pop out maybe once every six- eight months.
He just shapes and levels. I don't touch her hooves at all. I don't do any special diet or system either.
Initially I had boots on the fronts when I started hacking, then changed to if it was over four miles. No longer use.
 
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Prjsmk

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#27
Those that dont have a farrier on the usual time scale... What do u do about chips and broken bits? P often comes off a hack with a broken flap looking bit, i get the farrier every ten week, he always says "u dont need me this often" but hate his feet looking broken... Not bad breaks he had good feet, just if hes tripped or hit a rock wrong on some of the rocky uneven tracks
 

joellie

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#28
Those that dont have a farrier on the usual time scale... What do u do about chips and broken bits? P often comes off a hack with a broken flap looking bit, i get the farrier every ten week, he always says "u dont need me this often" but hate his feet looking broken... Not bad breaks he had good feet, just if hes tripped or hit a rock wrong on some of the rocky uneven tracks
I have a radius rasp which is small and easy to use. I don't have to use it too often but its great for those times he gets the odd chip.
 

chunky monkey

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#29
Those that dont have a farrier on the usual time scale... What do u do about chips and broken bits? P often comes off a hack with a broken flap looking bit, i get the farrier every ten week, he always says "u dont need me this often" but hate his feet looking broken... Not bad breaks he had good feet, just if hes tripped or hit a rock wrong on some of the rocky uneven tracks
What chips and breaks? Obviously depends on horse. I hack on roads and stoney rough tracks and my horses have very rarely had any chips being barefoot. I have seen horses with very bad splits so im not saying it doesn't happen. I've seen some awful splits on horses that are shod.
I think it's also down to general management.
 

domane

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Jul 31, 2005
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#30
I've had barefoot and shod. Albi has fab strong, shoeless feet and never has a problem. Gracie came to me with no shoe holes in her hooves but rapidly became footsore. Tried fronts but a week later she needed hinds too. She now needs a new set every time. I tried barefoot with Jack for 11 months but eventually he was happier in fronts.

A lot of people think they can whip shoes off, give them a week off riding to adjust and then get on and go. They don't understand about conditioning their hooves over a multitude of surfaces in-hand, dietary support and the biggest thing....time. There is booting, of course, but that can be expensive whilst you find the best shape and size for fit. It's not something you can predict and as KR has shown, it can't always be achieved. I could probably try again with Gracie.....but I've missed enough riding as it is!!

Ironically, since he retired and had his front shoes pulled, Jack's hooves are in the best condition I've ever known them! Farrier agrees.
 
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Mary Poppins

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#31
We are now into day 4 of the barefoot adventure, and he doesn't seem to have noticed at all that he has no shoes on. He is exactly the same as he always was, not footy, not 'completely crippled' as I was warned, he is fine.

My vet is very pro barefoot. He said that I need to get out of my head what the 'perfect' hoof looks like, as Ben needs to rebalance and shape his own feet. The most important thing to look at is how he moves, not what his feet look like. While he has always been barefoot behind, he has been trimmed incorrectly so his hind feet are shaped in an artificial way by the farrier. The plan is to leave them alone for a while and see what happens (obviously my vet and new farrier will keep checking him but the farrier will only trim him or intervene if there is a problem).

The ultimate goal is to self trim, which basically means that the feet are left pretty much alone. My vet has clients who have horses who have not seen the farrier for over 3 years and this is what I aspire to. They have a rasp and rasp down any chipped bits etc. as needed, but no trimming takes place. It is a completely different way of looking at hoof care as previously I had it drilled into me that the farrier must see every horse at least every 6 weeks.

To succeed in self trimming, he needs to work on lots of different surfaces and hack out for at least 4 hours per week. While I am a nervous hacker and tend to keep to my 'safe routes' my hacking does consist of a mixture of grass, stony tracks, smooth tracks and tarmac, plus we have a rubber school, so the different surfaces are all there. I am planning on taking him long reining in different places (I long rein far more confidently than I ride), so this should increase both our confidence about going out, and will be good for his feet as well. He needs to have a high fibre diet and avoid excess sugar, which he does already. He lives out overnight and comes in all day at the moment to get off the grass when the sugar is high. The vet doesn't feel that he needs supplements for his feet at the moment, but I am going to get my grass analysed to tell me how much nutrients are in it.

I have been warned that his front feet will probably crack up to the holes where he was last shod, but this is cosmetic and will grow out in a few months. This is apparently the time where the anti barefoot people will say I am ruining my horse. But there is nothing I can do about the cracking, it is only because of the weakness that the nail holes have created. So I am bracing myself of the inevitable criticism, but will nod politely and ignore it. I have no idea at all if this will work out or not, maybe in a few months time I will have the shoes put on again, but it is something that I want to try, and so far it is going OK.
 
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Mary Poppins

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#32
Those that dont have a farrier on the usual time scale... What do u do about chips and broken bits? P often comes off a hack with a broken flap looking bit, i get the farrier every ten week, he always says "u dont need me this often" but hate his feet looking broken... Not bad breaks he had good feet, just if hes tripped or hit a rock wrong on some of the rocky uneven tracks
My vet would say get a rasp and take them off yourself. As long as you are sensible and not try and do anything fancy, there is no reason you can't do this.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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#33
Those that dont have a farrier on the usual time scale... What do u do about chips and broken bits? P often comes off a hack with a broken flap looking bit, i get the farrier every ten week, he always says "u dont need me this often" but hate his feet looking broken... Not bad breaks he had good feet, just if hes tripped or hit a rock wrong on some of the rocky uneven tracks
That is self trimming. I only get chips on my lots feet when they have got a little bit long and the chip normally shows exactly where they need trimming back to.

They have a rasp and rasp down any chipped bits etc. as needed, but no trimming takes place.
Surely if you are rasping that is trimming? I only ever rasp Jess' feet, I still consider it a trim.
 

Mary Poppins

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#34
That is self trimming. I only get chips on my lots feet when they have got a little bit long and the chip normally shows exactly where they need trimming back to.


Surely if you are rasping that is trimming? I only ever rasp Jess' feet, I still consider it a trim.
I guess it is a play on words. When my vet was talking about trimming, he was referring to the cutting back of the toe, frog and sole and the artificial shaping of the horses feet. By 'rasping' he means just getting rid of the any chips and bits that are hanging off, but never touching the underside of the foot. He is keen to avoid the barefoot trimming approach as he feels that most barefoot trimmers take far too much of the foot and in his opinion, this causes most of the lameness in barefoot horses.

I'm very new to this and am learning as I go on. It sounds very ideological and we are just taking each day as it comes.

And please if anyone who is reading this and favours the barefoot trimming approach, please don't take offence. You have to find what works for you and your horse. I really do not have much of a clue what I am talking about.
 

Jessey

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#35
I guess it is a play on words. When my vet was talking about trimming, he was referring to the cutting back of the toe, frog and sole and the artificial shaping of the horses feet. By 'rasping' he means just getting rid of the any chips and bits that are hanging off, but never touching the underside of the foot. He is keen to avoid the barefoot trimming approach as he feels that most barefoot trimmers take far too much of the foot and in his opinion, this causes most of the lameness in barefoot horses.

I'm very new to this and am learning as I go on. It sounds very ideological and we are just taking each day as it comes.

And please if anyone who is reading this and favours the barefoot trimming approach, please don't take offence. You have to find what works for you and your horse. I really do not have much of a clue what I am talking about.
I keep my horse unshod or barefoot, they both mean the same to me, without a shoe semi-permanently attached. I am not really sure what you mean by the barefoot approach? there are dozens of different trim ideologies out there which don't include shoes, but I don't think its fair to say most include sole trimming, I would say its actually that most don't include sole trimming. Its generally farriers that I have seen routinely trim frogs and soles. I very rarely trim the frog or sole unless there's a dangly bit that needs to come off to prevent thrush getting in there. My trimming consists of maintaining a mustang roll to discourage flare and balancing the foot, all done with a rasp. Occasionally I use nippers to take wall length off on the little boys, but only maybe once a year, and again no frog or sole cutting. I'm not taking offence, its a subject that interests me so am keen to understand what you are referring to :)
 

Mary Poppins

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#36
I keep my horse unshod or barefoot, they both mean the same to me, without a shoe semi-permanently attached. I am not really sure what you mean by the barefoot approach? there are dozens of different trim ideologies out there which don't include shoes, but I don't think its fair to say most include sole trimming, I would say its actually that most don't include sole trimming. Its generally farriers that I have seen routinely trim frogs and soles. I very rarely trim the frog or sole unless there's a dangly bit that needs to come off to prevent thrush getting in there. My trimming consists of maintaining a mustang roll to discourage flare and balancing the foot, all done with a rasp. Occasionally I use nippers to take wall length off on the little boys, but only maybe once a year, and again no frog or sole cutting. I'm not taking offence, its a subject that interests me so am keen to understand what you are referring to :)
The basic approach is that you leave the feet alone as much as possible so they are naturally shaped by the horse and their movement. Interference is minimal. As I said, my vet has one horse who hasn't been touched by a farrier or trimmer for 3 years. There are hundreds of opinions and theories about how a foot should/shouldn't be trimmed, what should be left/what should stay on. I'm sure that all the different approaches all have different names and concepts, but I don't really know enough about them to comment, so for the time being I use the phase 'barefoot trimming' to reflect the fact that regular trimming is part of that approach. The road I am taking takes the concept of regular trimming away as it follows the theory that none of it is needed as long as circumstances are in place for the horse to self trim.

All I know, is that my vet and farrier will look at Bens feet every few weeks and see how he goes without them being touched. We are also having a gait analysis done where he will be videoed and walk and trot, and then we can see which part of his foot touches the floor first. This will inform his lameness investigations, and how much we proceed with this approach. I'm doing this very carefully with the full support of the vet, farrier and several helpful friends who have found it successful. It might not work out but I will never know if I don't try.

I really don't have any answers, just lots and lots of questions.
 

Jessey

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#37
I get the concept of what self trimming is, I've been trimming my own horses on and off for over 15 years so have some knowledge of the various barefoot practices.
He is keen to avoid the barefoot trimming approach as he feels that most barefoot trimmers take far too much of the foot and in his opinion, this causes most of the lameness in barefoot horses.
I was just confused by what you called "the barefoot trimming approach" in the above, I wondered if it was a specific trimming method as you suggest it includes trimming of the frog and sole routinely, I now realise it is a generalisation about what you/your vet think most barefoot trimmers do.

According to your definition of a self trimming horse, Jess is self trimming as she doesn't get her toe cut back (she hasn't seen nippers in at least 2 years, since the farrier was doing her), nor frog or sole cutting and no artificial shaping of the feet (unless you consider a mustang roll to be this?) though I would still consider her routinely trimmed (she is rasped). Perhaps if she had better conformation and if she didn't have PPID she could be allowed to have less done.
 

Mary Poppins

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#38
I get the concept of what self trimming is, I've been trimming my own horses on and off for over 15 years so have some knowledge of the various barefoot practices.

I was just confused by what you called "the barefoot trimming approach" in the above, I wondered if it was a specific trimming method as you suggest it includes trimming of the frog and sole routinely, I now realise it is a generalisation about what you/your vet think most barefoot trimmers do.

According to your definition of a self trimming horse, Jess is self trimming as she doesn't get her toe cut back (she hasn't seen nippers in at least 2 years, since the farrier was doing her), nor frog or sole cutting and no artificial shaping of the feet (unless you consider a mustang roll to be this?) though I would still consider her routinely trimmed (she is rasped). Perhaps if she had better conformation and if she didn't have PPID she could be allowed to have less done.
There are so many approaches and I don’t understand them all at all. I wouldn’t get too hung up on my lose definitions, I don’t think it really matters if a horse is classified as fully self trimming or not. I doubt we will get to 3 years without the farrier touching him, we may not get to 3 weeks. In reality we will feel our way as we go. The only point I am making is that we are aiming for as little interference with his feet as possible which is different from the approach that the horses feet must be trimmed every 6 weeks or so.
 

Jessey

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#39
There are so many approaches and I don’t understand them all at all. I wouldn’t get too hung up on my lose definitions, I don’t think it really matters if a horse is classified as fully self trimming or not. I doubt we will get to 3 years without the farrier touching him, we may not get to 3 weeks. In reality we will feel our way as we go. The only point I am making is that we are aiming for as little interference with his feet as possible which is different from the approach that the horses feet must be trimmed every 6 weeks or so.
I'm not going to get hung up on your definitions, I was just trying to show how labels can mean such different things to different people, you seem to be quite hung up on getting him 'self trimming' (I don't disagree with it, that's not what I am saying). I won't ever subscribe to only 1 opinion on something, I like to make sure I understand what people are saying so it can be compared and contrasted with other opinions, its how I learn. :)
 

newforest

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#40
Can you explain more on the artificial way the farrier trimmed the backs? Isn't this actually the bottom line of your issues, nothing to do with working from behind and dressage, but simply an unbalanced artificially shaped hoof that's gone on for a such a long time, it's now caused all the tightness and the horse is off balance?
Any farrier or trimmer using whatever method should shape the hoof to the shape the hoof is, never alter the natural shape. You do not need to be touching an unshod hoof every six weeks and if the farrier has found something to fiddle with, he's been taking off foot that Ben has needed.
My lass has one hoof that's slightly bigger than her other, it grows slightly different. We never force that hoof to match the other one.

If he's arthritic he might stay 1/10 lame. I don't follow the need for a gait analysis to be honest. You can film him yourself and slow it down to show the gait. Unless I am missing something. His backs need time to adjust to be allowed to grow as they need to.

I don't want to be at the stage where mine hasn't seen the farrier for three years. If your horse goes lame the first thing the insurance company and vet ask is when did you see the farrier. I like my farrier to pop out and look her over, level if necessary. I am not a farrier and I still value his professional input.