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Barefoot THW?

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I am desperately trying to find a farrier.

I received a reply from a farrier I contacted, saying she is a "barefoot propenent-'does not shoe'". She said I can contact her if I am interested in maintaining my horses barefoot.

I have THW that we use primarily for trail riding. We do not show. What do you think?

I like the sound of "no shoeing" (i.e. less $, no thrown shoes, etc.) But, I also want my horses to be adequately prepared to go on trails, rocks, creeks, gravel, etc.

Anyone have an opinion?

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I ride primarily pleasure and trail and both of my TWH are barefooted. If we are going trailriding on rocky terrain I take along a set of Boa Boots. Most of my riding is done in the fields and woods around home. Shoes are not needed.

It would be worth having your horses hooves evaluated by the farrier to see what they think.

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I have one TWH whose hooves are awesome. He doesn't need shoes, no matter where we ride. Then I have another one who didn't have shoes on for the first 4 years and was a pack horse. I now ride her as my trail horse and she was a bit ouchy on gravel roads. So she now has shoes JUST on the front. In fact most of my horses have shoes only on the front or non at all. I do have a QH who need shoes all around, but his feet are really soft and grow terribly slow.

I would try the horse out first on a gravel road. That is usually the 'breaker'. I've never had any trouble in the woods, blacktop, or on rocky trails.. Just gravel..

Good luck!

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My Paso is barefoot and I know a TON of people who ride MFT's and TWH's barefoot. One of our best friends is a barefoot farrier, and I trim my own horses feet. It's much better for the hoof, actually. I would reccomend the book "Making Natural Hoofcaare Work for You' by Pete Ramey. You can visit his website at www.hoofrehab.com I would never go back. The main issue is it's better for the horses feet. It's NATURAL. At first the horse (depending on his individual feet) may be sore and limp for anywhere from a day to two or three weeks. My horse was good to go in like 3 days. He was never in much pain like some horses are. We didn't trim his hooves down much when we first took his shoes off. I reccomend using a farrier who will gradually take the hoof down to it's normal size without a shoe. If you chop it short right from the start, you'll have a miserable, hurting horse. There is some discrepancy (sp?) about that, but I'm giving my opinion.

I know people who endurance ride with barefoot horses and they are perfectly healthy. Youm giht use Boa Boots to protect the hoof at first, but actually the hoof wall and sole become solid as a rock and are so hard you can barely cut them with a hoof knife.

My horse's feet were falling apart in shoes, and he was lame all the time. I was sick of farriers and shoes and splits all up and down his feet, so I told my farrier the shoes were coming off. After that, we switched to trimming the natural barefoot trim. I learned to do it, and now I take care of Pitty's feet myself.

I'd reccomend it to anyone, whether they trail ride, compete, or do Dressage. It is so beneficial. Most gaited horse owners say there is also a marked improvement in their horses gaits when the shoes come off. I know it was true for Pitty. He's much smoother and has a crisper action.

Just my thoughts....I'd say go for it!

[Yay]

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Depends on the horse, how much you're going to be riding him, and where.

Barefoot is great because it gets more blood flow in the hoof and is a better shock absorber. But, it also provides less protection and structure for the hoof. Bad if he's in heavy work or on rough surfaces.

If you're riding a lot and/or running him on the trail, then he'll need the stability of shoes. Bare hooves tend to wear unevenly which can compromise soundness.

If you're riding on rough terrain, then he'll probably be more comfortable in shoes.

The "barefoot" farriers use a much different trim from typical farriers. Some horses do great with it - others can have serious hoof/soundness issues. Before going that direction, you may want to have a traditional farrier pull the shoes and give a normal trim - then see how it goes. That should give you your answer as to whether he can go without shoes for the type of riding you're doing. You'll know right away if he's ouchy.

The biggest thing is to find a farrier who knows what they're doing. A bad shoeing or trim can REALLY mess up your horse. Ask people you trust for a referral.

The barefoot folks have some different ideas about hoof trimming than the usual barefoot trim of a traditional farrier, so do your research and ask around before you jump in.

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If you don’t want your horse done in any walker shoe then I would suggest front shoes. I know lots of people that have their walkers done by a regular farrier and have only front shoes. I know to many horses that are barefoot that have the worst feet. I would never have my walker barefoot. My horse of course also has all white feet. He tends to chip a lot and crack so it depends on the horse. Where im at may be different terrain than where you’re at. If your going to go barefoot I suggest a hoof supplement like farriers choice I use that on my Arabian and he has the best feet my farrier strongly suggests that stuff. My opinion but do what you think is best for you and your horse.

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Depends on the horse. Some are fine unshod, some are not. The only way you can really tell is to try the horse without, and see how the horse goes. The horse will tell you what it needs - if you try it, and the horse wears its feet faster than they grow, or it feels sore, you might want to shoe it.

Of my three horses, two were worked unshod. This was trail riding (usually once a week) for two to three hours, sometimes on VERY hard tracks. They were both fine unshod, with this work.

BUT, my current riding horse is NOT fine unshod. Same amount of work as the others, same tracks - but he was 'footy' and reluctant to step out, when I tried him for a while unshod. After about a year, I made the decision to shoe him - and it was the best thing I ever did. He is now fine on hard trails, and strides out. So I keep him shod. I'd prefer it otherwise...but in his case...he is better shod.

As GreyArab says, find a good farrier (usually best done through word of mouth). Bad work will ruin the horse's feet, whichever way you go. I personally would be wary of a farrier who doesn't (or can't) do the range (shoeing and trimming). If you decide to go unshod, do a bit of research on it - unshod (with an ordinary trim) is not the same as a 'barefoot' trim. It will probably take you a bit of trial and error before you find which thing (shod, unshod, or 'barefoot' trim) suits your horse and the work it is doing. The farrier you select should be able - and happy - to discuss his work and the mechanics of what he is doing with you.

It can be a fairly contentious subject - so read a lot, learn as much as you can, and take everything with a grain of salt. There are farriers who will (wrongly) tell you that all horses MUST be shod - there are people (some farriers, some not) at the other end of the scale, and tell you that barefoot is the best thing since sliced bread and shoeing is evil.

Neither camp is right. What is best is what your individual horse needs, for the work it is doing.

I would recommend giving unshod a go (again, as GreyArab so sensibly says, maybe with an ordinary trim at first) until you see if it suits your horse. Then if you find it doesn't, you can investigate a barefoot trim, or shoe.

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I have had several horses that have done both. I started with the horses shod - one TWH, and 2 half TWH's. One TWH did great from the moment the shoes came off. That was 3 years ago, and the farrier since then has only had to "touch up" her feet ONCE. They stay perfect without even a trim.

Another 1/2 TWH was a bit ouchie on gravel to start with. I left him barefoot for several months, and them gave him a trim myself (He was a little long in the toe. I am not a certified farrier, but I am well-versed in what a foot should look like). Since then, his foot has remained balanced, and no more ouchies.

The TWH, I originally thought would not be able gait without shoes (ouchie and uneven when she lost shoes.) However, my farrier was unable to make it out for 4 months, so I left her in the pasture when the shoes started coming off. Once all 4 were off, I took her on a test ride. She did great, and we have not looked back since. I also want to add that the riding we do would WEAR THROUGH the toe area on the horse's shoes at about 5 weeks. No problems barefoot, though!

I am very happy with my horses barefoot. We seem to have the correct balance of riding/wear to keep their feet healthy with a bare minimum of fuss. The rescues that arrive here also end up with excellent feet.

That having been said, I once owned a horse that will not work barefooted. That horse is a race-bred appendix QH, so it is probably a problem with the horse's breeding.

I would certainly recommend trying barefoot, although there are some barefoot trims I would steer clear of (Strasser method kills some horses, so read up!)

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Jose wears keg shoes with borium on front only. I road ride alot, hence the borium. He's got fairly good feet, but he's a bit pigeon toed on his front right so his feet don't wear evenly so he must wear shoes. Plus the rocky trails of Tennessee don't work for him. So far Carlos the QH has great feet - but untried - and, well, who knows about HC Mercedes yet...

I'm a full fan of barefoot when possible.

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I have a TW that is barefoot. She had foundered years ago and I had read that causes the walls of the hooves to be weaker so I opted to keep her barefoot. She has done very well. The only time she got "ouchy" was when we did more road riding than she was used to, so I bought a pair of Old Mac's for her. She does very well with them. One time we went to Gettysbury. Most of the horses had metal shoes on and my girl had on her Old Mac's. I noticed that the shod horses were slipping on the rocks where my girl was sure footed.

I also rode with someone in a certain park where she could not ride her shod horse on a certain paved road because he would slip. My horse was fine on it.

I have also known people who rode their horses so much that they had to have some type of shoe on them simply because the hooves wore down so much.

So, it's not the breed that determines barefoot or not, it's the individual horse and what that individual horse does.

But I'll tell you, I REALLY like the Old Mac's for my horse.

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