I don't have anything against shoes, really, but I DON'T like them unless they really need them.
|A nail going into a hoof makes me cringe..|
I just hate the idea of drilling a hole into a hoof, and I'm super happy that all of my horses are barefoot. My horse's hooves are trimmed every six weeks, unless they really need it before hand OR there is an abscess or something. My farrier drives around an hour to get there and does all 11-now 12-horses hooves that day. He puts shoes on two of the horses fronts and then trims the rest.
|Terrible picture, but you can see Red's barefeet!|
Facts About Having A Barefoot Horse:
The benefits of using barefoot hoofcare with your horse are endless. By using the wild mustang hoof as a model we can replicate the form and function of their hooves on domestic horses. This overview will give you a few key reasons to consider this option for you and your horse.
*TRACTION: a barefoot horse has better traction on any terrain due to the natural ability of the foot to grip the ground.
*JOINT SUPPORT: a barefoot horse has 7 times less stress put on its joints and ligaments than a shod horse!
*SHOCK ABSORPTION: the frog acts as a natural shock absorber each time it hits the ground.
*NATURAL FUNCTION: a hoof is made to expand and contract with each step to circulate blood throughout the horse's body.
The Effects Of Having A Shod Horse:
*Horseshoes raise the foot off the ground and without the ability to touch the ground, the sole can become weak and thin and increase the risk of stone bruising or abscesses.
*The frog, the natural shock absorber of the hoof, is unable to perform its job due to being raised off the ground. This increases the concussive forces on the joints and ligaments of the horse.
*Nails used to hold shoes on can open channels for infection which can potentially cause lameness.
*Restriction of expansion and contraction of the hoof due to a shoe's hold on the hoof limits blood circulation throughout the entire horse! An atrophied frog is a direct result of this lack of blood circulation
A common misconception is that we've bred good feet out of horses.This just isn't true! Understanding the mechanics and physiology of the hoof proves this theory wrong. Natural Hoofcare can benefit all horses regardless of breed, age, or discipline.
Of course whether or not you shoe your horse depends on not only you and the horse, but the place where you live. I ride in mostly soft ground and grass-I'm a trail rider. If you have a police horse or something and ride on concrete, maybe you should shoe. But I would look into boots beforehand.
All in all, I'm a barefoot lover. :)