Boots instead of shoes?

Last post 05-14-2011 12:17 PM by Frizzle. 21 replies.
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  • 05-11-2011 1:20 PM

    Boots instead of shoes?

    Do many people put boots on their horses for daily riding?  If so what kind?

    I would like to leave my horse unshod, but, we ride on alot of concrete and gravel.  His hooves seem like they get filed down too quickly on this terrain.  also on small segments there are bigger sharper rocks and they obviously hurt to walk on.

    I thought I could get him adjusted over time, but, it's like having a daily filing done on them and I'd hate to have them get too short and cause problems cuz i want to experiment.

    He's a stb and the farrier says they are known for having hardy hooves, and i like the idea of au naturel, but, perhaps i am not in a neighborhood to support that idea.

    i've watched alot of video on barefoot trim and i'm a fan.  how can i make it work for me?

    Gailforce -- Another old lady rediscovering her inner cowgirl.
  • 05-11-2011 1:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    I do! I have an OTTB who had very sensitive feet. He has made a good transition to barefoot and we don't have to use them as much anymore, but they are still necessary when we go on sharp rock or gravel. First of all, you need to make sure you have a good barefoot farrier. A natural barefoot trim is quite different from a 'pasture' trim that most farriers do. Check out http://www.hoofrehab.com/ and http://www.barefoothorse.com/. These are great resources for going 'au naturel'. That said, I use Cavallo Simple boots http://www.cavallo-inc.com/us/Simple-Hoof-Boots. I have never had problems with turning or losing a boot. Another really good brand is Renegade http://www.renegadehoofboots.com/. I don't see how your neighborhood could be any worse than mine. We have everything from deep mud in the winter to hard pack dirt in the summer, large river rock in the streams we cross, and gravel and paved roads. I'm sure your guy will do well with correct trimming. Well, that's my 2 cents! Hope it helps.




  • 05-11-2011 2:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    Both my vet and my farrier said that where I live is not suitable for barefoot, too wet even though I'm in the driest part of western WA. I could put boots on my mares, but that's a pain and I wouldn't want to ride them in my arena, doing dressage exercises, with clunky boots on. I have a friend who used the Old Macs with her horses on the trail, but she's gone back to shoes. Before you buy boots or get too excited about barefoot, ask your vet about it. Did you ask your farrier? He said stb have good feet, but under what context did he say that?
    Megan


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."

    Anonymous




  • 05-11-2011 4:03 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    Well, my farrier doesn't do barefoot trims.  It's just a regular trim, for a start.  I don't know if he can get the idea of the difference if i give him pics and info off the internet.  the most obvious thing i see is that the barefoot trim has rolled the edges of the hoof and the normal trim is flat.  what other differences are there?

    I wouldn't change farriers because I really like this one and he is the only one that's local.  Lots of the other horse people use different farriers that come from out of town.  They won't change to the local guy, because they were already set up with their chosen farriers when he moved to town and they are scared to change because if it doesn't work out, they know their present farrier won't take them back.  which i can understand.

    i started with the local guy, so i don't have that issue.

    anyway, i think his opinion is just that stb's have tough feet.  he grew up on a stb farm and his father was a farrier, so, he seems very knowledgeable about their hooves and common racing injuries. 

     i think they are tough enough, but, i think that a horse that was born and raised for the track has not experienced lots of rough terrain.  the track is hard, but, not rough.  and, they do wear shoes for the track.  so, he needs to get conditioned to normal outdoor walking.

    when you say clunky boots, that doesn't sound helpful.  he already is a bit clumsy Confused

    my neighbor has some boots that she doesn't use.  i might ask to try them, just to see what it's like putting them on.  i think they'd be too big for my horse to actually ride in.

    also, what's the deal with putting shoes on the front only.  how does that help?  aren't all 4 feet going to be tender and/or wear down.

    the last 2 years i put shoes on him all around for the summer.  but, i didn't actually ride much.  this year, i plan on riding as often and as far as possible.

    Gailforce -- Another old lady rediscovering her inner cowgirl.
  • 05-11-2011 4:07 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    heres some food for thought. if you go on trails and such make sure to check the rules. I know a lot of the trails where i am one of the rules is that the horses have to have shoes because the terain is very rocky.im not to sure about boots i havnt really expored that yet. but good luck

  • 05-11-2011 5:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    Gailforce:
    the most obvious thing i see is that the barefoot trim has rolled the edges of the hoof and the normal trim is flat.  what other differences are there?

    The barefoot trim actually balances the hoof so that the heels are even and at the proper height, and in general the angles of the hoof all around are equal to the angles of the coffin bone inside the hoof to maintain the integrity of the hoof. When the hoof is balanced it works the way it was designed to. The reason I don't like shoes is that it doesn't allow for the frog and the sole to contact the ground the way they were designed to and puts more stress on the hoof wall making it the primary weight bearing mechanism. Go check out the websites I posted links to and you'll see the difference. I know there are many people that disagree with me, but I don't see any need for shoes.

    Gailforce:
    I don't know if he can get the idea of the difference if i give him pics and info off the internet. 

    If he is willing to do the research and learn the proper way to do a barefoot trim, then great! He will be well rounded and a better farrier for it. Give him the link to the Pete Ramey website 'hoofrehab.com'.

    Gailforce:

    when you say clunky boots, that doesn't sound helpful.  he already is a bit clumsy Confused

    my neighbor has some boots that she doesn't use.  i might ask to try them, just to see what it's like putting them on.  i think they'd be too big for my horse to actually ride in.

    I have never felt that the boots were clunky. The first year, when Willie was really sensitive, I used them in the arena and he did just fine: walk, trot, canter, circles and leg yields all with no problems. I would say the renegades have the slimmest profile if you're worried about 'clunky'. The Thoroughbreds aren't the most sure-footed creatures either, but like I said I've never had a problem. Even at a full gallop! All I can advise is do your research for yourself. Everybody is going to have different opinions on this.




  • 05-11-2011 7:14 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    Gailforce:

    also, what's the deal with putting shoes on the front only.  how does that help?  aren't all 4 feet going to be tender and/or wear down.


    The rear hooves do not get as sore or tender b/c the horse puts more of his weight on his forehand. Sometimes you can get away with just shoeing the front hooves for that reason. 

    Megan


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."

    Anonymous




  • 05-11-2011 10:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    Gailforce:
    the most obvious thing i see is that the barefoot trim has rolled the edges of the hoof and the normal trim is flat.  what other differences are there?

    I actually did a whole blog post about pasture trim  versus barefoot trim  here -- http://dressagewannabes.blogspot.com/2010/07/case-against-peripheral-loading.html 

    And not to say "don't listen to your vet/farrier" but a lot of them  are not very well-informed about barefoot. Two years ago, my vet told me that my area has "way too hard ground for a horse to go barefoot," which is a bunch of malarkey. Well, now that he has done some research and gotten some correct information, he's totally on-board with barefoot. So, 48, your horses just might be able to go without shoes. I don't see how shoes would "protect" the hoof from  water, anyway (??). I'd slap some Keratex Hoof Gel on, and I bet they would be fine.

    If the hoof is properly trimmed, it would be pretty hard to wear it down too much just from  riding on rough terrain. Heck, I WISH that it would wear the hooves down a bit, as that would really help to cut down on my trimming costs and the time I spend rasping my horse's hooves!

     

  • 05-11-2011 11:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    Frizzle:
    I actually did a whole blog post about pasture trim  versus barefoot trim  here -- http://dressagewannabes.blogspot.com/2010/07/case-against-peripheral-loading.html 

    thanks, i'm going to read that.  i have read quite a bit about barefoot, that's why i'm interested.

    as for the wear, maybe my horses hooves don't grow very fast.  the farrier was out about 6 weeks ago and they didn't need trimming after about 4 months over the winter.  though he did say they don't grow as fast in the winter.  he trimmed them about 2 weeks ago, but, the edges are getting all chipped with the riding (they didn't in the winter with no road work).

    also, would it be worthwhile to buy a rasp to lightly smooth the rough edges like i do my fingernails (i know that makes me sound like a dumb girl)?  i used to do emergency shoe pulling and trimming at a job i had, because, the owner would be too lackadaisacal(sp) to keep up the job on a regular basis. 

    would a person be able to teach themselves to do the barefoot trim with the help of reading and/or videos?

    i like all the interesting feedback you guys are giving me.  it's great to hear lots of opinions and ideas on things.

    --gail 

    ps:  good blog frizzle.  thank you.

    Gailforce -- Another old lady rediscovering her inner cowgirl.
  • 05-12-2011 4:24 AM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    Look into easyboots Epic's or Gloves.  They would be fine for what you want.  I use the Old Mac G2's and they are clunky-ier.  But they are fine.  

    If your horses feet are chipping all ready that means they need trimmed (or probably need to be rolled) all ready.  


    If at first you don't succeed, do it the way your wife told you to. (author unknown)
  • 05-12-2011 5:12 AM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    You can definitely do touch ups after he trims.  At my barn in Gainesville we had a regular farrier who did flatfooted trims and we kept all our horses barefoot.  After he left we would all get our rasps to round off the edges.  The shoe trim is just going to cause the foot to crack and chip a lot sooner.  I wouldn't start completely doing the trims on my own, but its great to do some research so that you can do little touch ups here and there after a trim or in between trims.  I haven't had to do it in forever, because shortly after we found a really good barefoot trimmer, and not, my farrier takes off too much hoof so there is no need at all for me to go behind him and do any work.
  • 05-12-2011 6:44 AM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    Gailforce:

    would a person be able to teach themselves to do the barefoot trim with the help of reading and/or videos?

    Yes, it is possible! My daughter and I did, but we have an awesome barefoot farrier who gave us some tips. It's really spendy, but Pete Ramey has a video series that is used to teach farriers how to do barefoot trims. It's called Under the Horse http://www.hoofrehab.com/underthehorse.htm . I have a friend who actually found somewhere online to rent it. I just did ALOT of reading and research online and in books, took lots of pictures, and got feedback from both the farrier and a friend who also trimmed his own horses' hooves. If you don't feel comfortable going to that extent, buying a rasp and rolling the edges is absolutely ok!




  • 05-12-2011 8:50 AM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    Frizzle:
    So, 48, your horses just might be able to go without shoes. I don't see how shoes would "protect" the hoof from  water, anyway (??).
    Shoes do not "protect" the hooves from water, but they prevent the hoof from eroding in a wet climate. My vet has seen hooves that look like putty due to being barefoot in a muddy area. The hoof walls lose their toughness if always getting soaked. Barefoot is great for a dry area--like eastern WA--but not great for the much wetter western WA. My very knowledgeable farrier agrees. I don't think that both of them are lacking in information about barefoot horses.
    Megan


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."

    Anonymous




  • 05-12-2011 12:03 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    You could learn to trim  your horse's hooves, but I wouldn't do it just off books/videos. Pete Ramey's DVS are very educational, but they're not enough to teach you how to do the trim yourself; you really need something hands-on for that. I know that the Oregon School of Natural Hoofcare does clinics all around the country teaching people to do trims. My trimmer graduated from there and she does an excellent trim..

    I rasp the hooves about once a week between trims, just to keep the mustang roll going. You should be just fine doing this yourself if you watch Pete Ramey's DVDs.

    Gailforce:
    as for the wear, maybe my horses hooves don't grow very fast.  the farrier was out about 6 weeks ago and they didn't need trimming after about 4 months over the winter.

    What?!!! Surprise There's no way a horse's walls, bars, sole, etc. would not need trimming after 4 months. I agree with the poster who said the chipping, etc. is most likely due to the hoof being too long and attempting to "self-trim.." That's what happened to Salem's hopoves; he hadn't been trimmed in 3-4 months (he had been out of my care for a year) and his hooves were a huge mess! We've done two trims at two-week intervals so far; he'll have one more at the two-week mark and then we'll kick it back to a regular 5-week schedule.

     

  • 05-12-2011 12:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Boots instead of shoes?

    48northfarm:
    Shoes do not "protect" the hooves from water, but they prevent the hoof from eroding in a wet climate. My vet has seen hooves that look like putty due to being barefoot in a muddy area. The hoof walls lose their toughness if always getting soaked. Barefoot is great for a dry area--like eastern WA--but not great for the much wetter western WA. My very knowledgeable farrier agrees. I don't think that both of them are lacking in information about barefoot horses.

    48, it rains constantlly for six months out of the year down here in Miami; basically, it's a swamp. Smile And yet we have quite a few barefoot horses whose hooves are strong and healthy. Wet hooves are a big problem for all horses here, shod or unshod; I used to use Farrier Barrier to protect the hooves, but have found that the Keratex Hoof Gel works much better.

    I'm  not trying to put your vet or farrier down. Heck, I have a VERY knowledgable vet who graduated from Cornell; I respect him a lot. But barefoot is just one of those things that many people don't know much about. I suggest reading some of Dr. Robert Bowker's papers. He is a DVM/PhD who ONLY studies horse hooves; and he is one of the biggest proponents of keeping horses barefoot.


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