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The Health Of The Foot: To Shoe Or Not To Shoe?


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#1 Nikki-HorseCityAdmin

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:07 AM


The health of the foot: to shoe or not to shoe?

http://horsecity.com...hea_shoes.shtml

I have been in a transition stage with my horse over the last 2 years. I left him barefoot because he was so young and not "wearing" on his feet or needing shoes. Then last year (as a 4 year old) he got front shoes for the first time. The hard ground was wearing his toes out. The shoes greatly improved the balance and condition of his feet. Then this spring he got hind shoes for the first time. What a difference! I'm glad I did it. For this specific horse, it works. I learned by trial and error over a long period of time with him. His feet are fabulous now. happy0203.gif

#2 GlowingTrickPony

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:54 AM

totally get ya Nick! have'n to do the same thing...got jackie over the soreness on her fronts with frog-pads and shoes and now she is sore on back yesterday so it back's too tomorrow...I feel bad! but as much as I would like to of kept her barefoot she was miserable! and heel -sore! and its too hard for them to be in training if your losing presious time cause they are too sore to pay attention. and you don't know if its "Attitude"or that they hurt? turns out she hurt! She is the 1st one I've ever had to have shoes on all 4 feet since my Impressive grandson(and he had OTHER issues as well) But for sure the 1st chance I get next winter there coming off if I can...we do what we got to do right? huggy.gif

#3 GlowingTrickPony

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:00 AM

totally get ya Nick! have'n to do the same thing...got jackie over the soreness on her fronts with frog-pads and shoes and now she is sore on back yesterday so it back's too tomorrow...I feel bad! but as much as I would like to of kept her barefoot she was miserable! and heel -sore! and its too hard for them to be in training if your losing presious time cause they are too sore to pay attention. and you don't know if its "Attitude"or that they hurt? turns out she hurt! She is the 1st one I've ever had to have shoes on all 4 feet since my Impressive grandson(and he had OTHER issues as well) But for sure the 1st chance I get next winter there coming off if I can...we do what we got to do right? huggy.gif

#4 GlowingTrickPony

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:02 AM

oh good article too my farrier could have wrote that!

#5 aredhorse

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 12:26 PM

Happy you folks have found a path that works for you right now. Equine management decisions are personal and I'm not out to question your choices. It is the article that is bugging me. Went and had a cup of coffee and it still bugs me so here I am.

With all do respect to Charles Wilheim who wrote the article, http://horsecity.com...hea_shoes.shtml I sure have several problems with this paragraph (not the only place I disagree, but I've only got so much time).


QUOTE
Some people say shoeing is not natural. Putting a rider on a horse's back is not natural either. Plus, a rider adds more weight to the horse and that changes the dynamic of hoof care. Some people are adamant that all horses can go barefoot but that is just not true. Most horses can go barefoot under the right conditions, such as not being worked and being a pasture pet. Proponents some, not all - of going barefoot have the philosophy that all horses can go barefoot if given time to adjust.


Don't know about the "natural" thing. A horse's hoofs will adapt to whatever terrain they are moving across. Horses living in boglands have very different feet than those who live in the high desert.

Mr. Wilheim misses the "right conditions" that I've learned contribute to hoof health and the success of barefoot trims. These include:
proper diet,
regular trims on a 4 - 6 week cycle by someone who knows who to trim the barefoot horse,
boots and pads on terrain the horse is not normally adapted to,
rigorous attention to thrush and fungus,
informed and educated owners,
and the right trim for the hoof - one that listens to the sole.

"Time to adjust" is referring to transition and is different for every horse. Cut away the toe callous and transition will go on forever. Provide pea gravel for your horse to move across and transition will be shortened.

I have yet to understand the claim that "a horse's natural conformation needs to be able to handle it" (going barefoot). Hang out here and you will see horses with every possible conformation successfully going barefoot.


Edited by aredhorse, 21 April 2010 - 12:31 PM.


#6 KatyB

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 02:37 PM

Most horses can go barefoot under the right conditions, such as not being worked and being a pasture pet.

I'm headed outside to tell Jet that she is a pasture pet, not being worked. I think I might get to hear a horse laugh at that one.

I'm fine with people choosing what works for their horse and their lifestyle. Most of my riding buddies have shoes on at least some of their horses, and that's fine. Of course, it's less all the time. I don't have to say a thing, watching my horses on the trail is my trimmer's best advertisement.
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#7 Southerngurl01

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 06:34 PM

Anyone who thinks going easy on the horses hoof are the "right conditions" for it to be able to stay barefoot is looking at it completely backwards.

The hoof is built from stress in the right amounts and rest, just like muscles, joints and bone tissue.

If a horse cannot go without shoes, there is a reason, and it's not a shoe deficiency.

Am I saying never use shoes? No, but I am saying, figure out why you are having to use them and fix it.

If a horse is wearing his toes, he's not using his foot correctly, he probably has unsoundness in the back of the foot.

Edited by Southerngurl01, 21 April 2010 - 06:36 PM.

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#8 ohNine

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:36 PM

QUOTE (Southerngurl01 @ Apr 21 2010, 06:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If a horse cannot go without shoes, there is a reason, and it's not a shoe deficiency.

Am I saying never use shoes? No, but I am saying, figure out why you are having to use them and fix it.


notworthy.gif This article bothered me also. Especially the part about barefoot horses being pasture puffs, I was like, "Whaaa...?". Go tell that to my gelding. He's still transitioning from crappy pasture trims his whole life, but he still does waay better than most of my friends pasture trimmed/shod horses over most any ground we have here.
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#9 audrey-mae

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 03:08 AM

Shoot, I better go tell my horses that they need to stop being worked now because they are barefoot, I sure wish someone would have told me lmao! Better go tell some of my clients too, some are avid trail riders, and one is an all around paint show horse, he does a little of everything, and he was crippled in shoes!

Nikki I am glad you have found what works best for you and your horse! That is what it is all about! I dont mean to take away from that at all.

Edited by audrey-mae, 22 April 2010 - 03:09 AM.

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#10 Saddlup

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 06:06 AM

Nikki and Trick Pony who was your barefoot guy .....or gal. I would have loved to see some pics before the shoeing. What the heck let's see em now. I love to see "fabulous feet'' Especially ones that have some do dads on them that can achieve the following.

1. CONTRACTED HOOVES - the hoof meets the ground in a different way, since the horse is trying to evade the pain in the heel area, leads to muscle, tendon, and joint problems

2. BRUISING OF CORIUM - leads to lack of circulation, changes in metabolism leading to decreased horn formation and poor quality of horn, problems in the laminae, lack of sensation in the sole leading to tripping, etc., suspected problems in the metabolic rate of organs

3. INCREASED IMPACT FORCES - lead to bruising, tearing, strains with morphological changes in the corium, the hoof cartilage and joints, tendons, even hoof cancer

4. VIBRATION - leads to similar damages as in humans (vascular changes; Raynaud's disease)

5. WEIGHT OF SHOES - puts strain on the joint capsules and leads to periostosis, arthritis, and increased damage on injury

6. CHANGE IN IMPACT - unnatural mechanics lead to muscle and tendon damage

7. NAIL HOLES - destroy the horn wall and decrease elasticity

8. METABOLISM DISRUPTIONS - lead to organic damage
In every case, shoeing presents unnecessary harm to the horse--unnecessary, if the horse's biological needs are met.

Just to name a few.

Edited by Saddlup, 22 April 2010 - 06:14 AM.

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#11 Wild Rose

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 06:46 AM

This from the article:
QUOTE
I like big shoes on a horse because a large shoe allows the hoof to expand. If a horse is shod with a shoe that is too small the hoof cannot expand and will be constricted. The bottom of the hoof wall will contract; it can't expand because there is no place for it to go. As it contracts, the farrier puts on another smaller shoe and this can cause a horse to go lame.


Large shoe, small shoe, the hoof cannot expand. It's nailed to a unforgiving, immovable object...the shoe.

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#12 Nikki-HorseCityAdmin

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:38 AM

QUOTE (Saddlup @ Apr 22 2010, 07:06 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nikki and Trick Pony who was your barefoot guy .....or gal. I would have loved to see some pics before the shoeing. What the heck let's see em now. I love to see "fabulous feet'' Especially ones that have some do dads on them that can achieve the following.


questionicon.gif I have never used a "barefoot guy". Not sure what you mean by that. Did I make it sound like I did? I use a local farrier that is doing a great job for me and my horse. That's all I care about.

#13 Saddlup

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 04:03 PM

I was just checking. I have found that most horses can't go bare foot because the hoof care provider does not understand and apply the concepts of the natural trim (not just a flat trim with with hacked out sole and hacked up frogs) or the owner just doesn't want to take the time and effort to get a healthy foot on the horse. Not that I am saying your case falls in either of these categories. I wish you and your horse the best of luck.
www.delawarenaturalhoofcare.com

Greek General Xenophon wrote in his cavalry manual:"Beware of the horse with the frog off the ground".

#14 Trinity

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 12:48 AM

The artical has alot of pad answers I have heard over and over again and am sick of frankly. Obviously written by someone who knows very little about a physiological barefoot trim and what can be accomplished with the right equine management and this trim. I love watching our bare horses beat the pants off of shod horses LOL...People cant believe it. Say, your horse lost a shoe..No he lost 4 actually...

Its about the health of the hoof and the long term soundness of the horse plain and simple.

Shoes cause problems long term. This isnt a secret. A good farrier will acknowledge that and recommend barefoot periods (usually winters off as most peole dont ride much). Most dont say this around me however because of fear, money, lack of education and a good knowledge of trimming under their belt or so forth. They just dont want to loose the paycheck and perhaps a client who might see they have a sound barefoot horse.

Its a shame. This isnt about shoes or no. Its about making the best choice that keeps the horse healthy and sound and good footed. Long toes, contarcted heels and flat feet are thought of as NORMAL....this is unnacceptable. Why do farriers blow these things off? this is why we have a rash of navicular horses IMO. Bad farrier care and people who dont trim for the foot the horse needs to use his foot correctly and alow the horse to MOVE.

People are getting frusterated with lame horses who cant move properly and looking for answers.

Farriers need to learn this psysiological trim and why it works to fix problems they usually have no luck with shod and see and learn how much barefoot periods can accomplish in reversing major hoof, soundness and movement issues in the performance horse.

If they dont, many will loose their jobs. This is a fact. Horse owners want answers and results. Good farriers give them. Bad ones get replaced, over and over and over again sometimes and finally give it up and get a 9 to 5 job.

Im generalizing but speaking from what I have seen here personally. Barefoot will not be dismissed and will keep building ground like a snowball. Even the farriers who think they do "barefoot trims" and advertise as such even tho they have NO clue wont stop the snowball. We will continue to show and spread the word through our horses feet themselves.

Call it kool aid, call it what you will. I can fix and ride a foundered horse bare SOUND on rocky terrain. Why is that possible? The things we are fixing and "curing" will not be dismissed. We will be proven and seen more and more and science backs us up as we learn and study. The horse is 100% able to go bare or bare and booted and be better for it with less joint stress and his 5 hearts are able to pump freely, not bound solid in iron. Owners are not always able.

I know some of this is regional with the lack of good farriers ( I think out west and north they have more good ones because the horses are USED, and USED hard, over tough terrain. Bad shoeing will tell its tale really fast in that envoronment. Doesnt always show it head here with weekend warriors who dont know any better for a long time sometimes) but my region BLOWS for having good farriers. a good farrier here is almost a myth. I think I know ONE.

Edited by Trinity, 23 April 2010 - 12:55 AM.

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#15 Prancer&Onyx

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 09:59 AM

I think what owners don't realize also, is that for your horse to be barefoot, its not about getting a trim every 4-6 weeks. The horse owner has to step up. Like many have said, pea gravel is great, boots are a must for the transition, balancing the feed (developing a diet low in sugar) and keeping on top of any bacterial problems such as thrush so our horses don't get sore in the heels. I'm battling all of this, but I'm determined to persevere. It's not a trend, it really is a whole new way of caring for our horses.