Should Your Horse go Barefoot?

Many horse owners take shoeing their horse for granted, but in reality many horses can go barefoot with little difficulty. Here are some questions to consider if you are looking at making the jump from shoes to barefoot:

  1. What type of feet does your horse have? Some breeds, such as Arabs, have exceptionally strong feet and do very well without shoes. However, you will need to discuss with your farrier or vet as to whether your horse is sound enough to go barefoot. Some conditions, such as founder, require corrective and therapeutic shoeing to keep the horse comfortable.
  2. What type of riding do you do? If your horse is primarily worked on soft ground and you don?t show, going barefoot is probably just fine. However, if you are doing extensive trail riding on hard packed or rocky ground, your horse will need the additional protection of shoes.
  3. Does your farrier have experience with barefoot trims? A barefoot trim needs to be handled just as carefully as putting shoes on a horse ? it is not simply pulling the shoes and trimming the horse?s hoof. Ensure that your farrier is comfortable working with barefoot horses, and make sure to keep to a very regular trimming schedule.
  4. Are you willing to listen to your horse? Above all, it will be your horse who dictates whether barefoot is a viable option. You will need to be tuned into your horse?s behaviour, watching for touchy walking, lameness, and hooves that are chipped or cracked. Some horses are more prone to abscesses when they go without shoes.
  5. Are you considering barefoot to save money? This cannot be a financial decision. Often a barefoot trim is just as expensive as having your horse shod, and of course having a lame, sore horse will not bring savings to your pocketbook.

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1 Response

  1. reneigh says:

    I own a 4yr old TB. Her hooves grow fairly slowly i don’t ride her on rough ground but i do trail ride and work her in a sand arena. I’ve made the decision to trim for financial reasons although i am lucky it also suits my horse. But what i would like to say is that if you have the time money and a great farrier you can transform your shod horse to a tough hardy bare footer i have done this many times and have had both good and bad experiences but all turned out perfectly.

    i think you should have said : find a farrier that specializes in barefoot trimming and ask him to look your horse over judge conformation hoof health issues and IF your horse would be a good candidate!

    Then carry on to regular trimmings to get the HOOF balance to a desired degree. use hoof oils to help the hoof lock in the moisture to prevent cracking and becoming brittle. If your horses hoofs don’t grow fast enough or the hoof is not healthy then there are some great hoof supplements that simply are added to their mixed feed.
    i’m a barefoot horse owner all the way its natural it aids with natural circulation and creates a hardy horse no (can’t ride today my horse lost a shoe)



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