benefits of barefoot horses

If your horse is constantly shod, you should work with your farrier (and possibly your veterinarian) to decide if some barefoot time should be part of your horse’s future. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. If you continue to use the site, we'll assume you're okay with this. Hooves were given one of three treatments — barefoot, fitted with a conventional shoe, or fitted with a split-toe shoe. These track systems can and will revolutionize the way we board horses. the horse taking more “responsibility” as they can better “feel” the ground — and agrees, saying that it does seem that Harry is better able to read the ground ahead of him. The horses he works on often are those deemed beyond hope by veterinarians and conventional farriers. The horse’s natural foot has an arch on the side and, without shoes and with proper barefoot hoof care, the break-over is correct. The shoe restricts the normal expansion of the hoof. At the same time, this provides maximum support, because the whole foot is working as a unit rather than having the weight of the horse hanging from the laminae and the hoof walls. Try this test. Riddell said “Interest in going barefoot is increasing, and horse owners are seeing the benefits. Navicular damage is generally caused by long-term, toe-first impact. The stimulus of free contact with the environment at least three to five times a week, in addition to regular work, is what generates more resilient tissues inside the hoof. Some of these benefits include: Saving money: Not only can you save money on the horse shoes themselves, but many horses can go a little longer between trims. Natural methods are particularly effective for navicular horses, which are almost always suffering from poor development of the internal structures in the back of the foot. It really works, and horses seem motivated to move along the track even without the enticement of food. American Journal of Veterinary Research. Both studies demonstrated that only when the feet are overgrown is the hoof wall used as the primary weight-bearing surface. Dynamic Endoscopy to Assess Equine Airway Function, California Horse Released From EHV-1 Quarantine, Trim Excess Pounds From Your Equine Athlete, Awesome Antioxidants and How They Help Horses, Training Aid Fact and Fiction for Better Riding, Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium 2019, International Society for Equitation Science 2019, Podotrochlosis: ‘Navicular’ is No Longer the End of the Road for Horses, Core Vaccination: Protecting Horses From 5 Deadly Diseases. equinesciencesacademy.com - The Equine Sciences Academy is a complete education program that builds knowledge and ability from the ground up. He is a real solid compact…. The Horse’s experts answer your questions during a monthly live audio event. The increased surface area of contact when the hoof is placed upon hard rubber, Bowker believes, is due to both the movement of the hoof wall and the rubber–it is more than sinking into the rubber. The rest is between you and your horse. Recent blood-flow studies by Robert Bowker, VMD, PhD, show that the horse's foot gets at least twice as much circulation when he's barefoot on yielding terrain, as compared to when he's wearing a metal shoe. Her take on rehabilitation includes a broader paradigm than mechanically working on muscles as if they were inanimate objects. Of greatest concern is excess sugar in the diet. A much-sought-after clinician, Ramey has a 10-disc DVD series, "Under the Horse," which features both classroom instruction and live trimming. Dr. Hildrud Strasser, DVM is the author of several textbooks on lameness and healing. HR:What about nutrition--that's a key part of the picture, too, isn't it? It's simply amazing how much a competent trimmer and six months of barefootedness can improve most hooves. Bowker’s findings are confirmed by Ovnicek’s work with feral horses. This not only prevents the further development of the back of the foot, but, over time, it also can damage vasculature, ligaments, tendons and ultimately bone in the back of the foot. Barefoot enthusiasts point to shoeing as the cause of many problems, and, indeed, poor shoeing can do more harm than good. But the books fail to teach how to actually make a foot improve during that bare period. Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with, Stunning unusual chestnut roan gelding. Equip Your Horse With Hoof Boots for Protection. You’ve experienced it first hand with your own equine partner. Pick up that issue for before and after photos, more on Robert Bowker's blood-flow study and a spotlight on two barefoot competitive performance horses. Most farriers are very good at their jobs, but mistakes do happen. You will have to trim your hooves more frequently. Yet traditional shoeing forces us to pick one traction device that must work for everything our horse does, 24 hours a day. There are many benefits from keeping your horse barefoot. At six to nine weeks after shoe removal with normal wear and no trimming, the entire frog area became larger, and the width of the feet increased as well. HR: Many believe that although going barefoot can be theoretically beneficial for horses, their own horse, because of feet that "aren't good enough," could never do it. Basically, you use fencing to create 30-foot-wide "tracks" around the perimeter of your property or pasture/paddock area. Healthy feet seem to exhibit an equilateral (equal-sided) triangle in the distances between the heels and the apex of the frog. Think about traction, for example. The horse isn’t much different.”. The gradual nature of the change requires a consistent regimen of activity. The information from the receptors might be inaccurate if the hoof (their interface with the environment) has been altered. Richard warns other problems can occur in unshod horses and does not believe there are many benefits for the horse. Then, too, regulations would need to allow horses to compete in boots; in some cases they don't. Boots give you the ability to vary your horse's tread pattern as conditions and situations change. However, for me, her final line ruins the article for me – “Don’t give up though—the benefits of barefoot are worth it!” Now to be fair, this might just be because in my opinion, the main benefits of barefoot are saving money on shoes and claiming your horse is living a more natural lifestyle. For example, a number of Arabians participate in competitive and endurance rides without the benefit of shoes. Even without shoes, the hoof should still be trimmed professionally on a regular basis (i.e., at five- to six- week intervals). “The first time we do it, it hurts our feet, but if we did it all summer we could do it with ease and not even notice it! Traditionally, navicular horses were treated the opposite way: the sensitive structures in the back of the foot were lifted farther off the ground. High performance horses are showing up and competing barefoot and doing extremely well.” Increasingly, farriers are adding various types of barefoot trims to their repertoires as well. There was a reduction in the distance between the apex of the frog and the toe at the dorsal hoof wall, as the breakover distance was shortened naturally in these horses by the way in which they moved over the terrain. You can also find shoeless horses in many other lines of work and areas of competition, including Western performance. HR:Going barefoot is natural for wild horses, but don't horses carrying riders need to wear shoes for support and to keep their hooves from wearing down?PR: The added weight of the rider does have an impact--it creates a need for more energy dissipation and shock absorption. This stabilizes the coffin bone/hoof wall and relieves stress on the laminae, allowing a well-connected hoof wall to grow in to replace the disconnected wall and damaged laminae. HR: For the horse that has to wear boots, then, why not go with horseshoes, instead--the tried-and-true form of hoof protection? These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. This makes the horse immediately feel better, but also lets the tissue fall further out of function--making the real problem worse over time. I know because I was one of them, myself. These folks want to provide the "21st Century Horseshoe," and if they, as an industry, continue improving boot models and providing professionals and horse owners with better and better tools to work with, they'll accomplish that goal. According to Bowker’s research, environment is critical in the formation of the internal structures of the equine hoof. All this means hoof boots are here to stay. Their feet tended to widen with a more “shallow cupping” of the soles. Conversely, his goal is to learn which external hoof characteristics might indicate internal hoof problems and potential lameness. Also, shod horses have been shown to benefit from a period of turnout without shoes. There are different receptors or nerve endings for different kinds of stimuli, and Bowker’s research has focused on receptors that relate specifically to locomotion. The other implication of this is that by altering the bottom of horses’ hooves, we might be interfering more than we realize with their perception of the environment. Are Your Horses Ready for You to be Quarantined? We get the health benefits of barefoot turnout, without missing a minute of riding. One of Soulful Equine’s guiding principles is a naturally healthy horse is also barefoot. This familiarity with the anatomy of a variety of species gives him a unique perspective from which to study the equine hoof. Ultimately, we need to be providing horses with footwear as good as our own, customized for each situation. Modern grasses and hays can fluctuate to over 30 percent sugar. In contrast, native grasses from the sparse rangelands of wild horse country usually peak at 12 percent sugar, and are usually closer to 8 percent. You feel confident that it’s the right thing to do for your situation. There is a considerable overlap in the characteristics of feral horses’ feet and the feet of healthy domestic horses allowed to roam barefoot for a few weeks. It's designed to be a no-cost way for anyone to access basic hoof-care information. Nutrition is critical to growing healthy hooves. Since problem feet in the wild are generally weeded out by natural selection, the remaining herd forms a perfect sample for observing the characteristics of healthy feet. This article originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Horse & Rider magazine. The barefoot horse’s lower leg and hoof will feel warm to the touch, because of the blood circulating within. In fact, I've seen it only a few times, on horses with severe angular deformities or chronic "toe-walkers." Although shoes are quite necessary for some horses to do what humans ask them to, many don’t need them and indeed are better off without them. Why a horse may need shoes All of this confirms the importance of good footing and hoof wall quality to a horse’s soundness. But we do need for boot technology and competitive regulations to "catch up with the times." These cookies do not store any personal information. Not only does the horse benefit with a healthier hoof in some cases, it can be less expensive to keep a horse barefoot, and many owners have learned to trim their horses' hooves themselves. Then (very basically), I load the coffin bone directly through the sole, while protecting the sole with boots and foam insoles. Most hoof boot models cost about $150, but they typically last for 600 to 1,000 miles of riding, and most are warranted for one year. The Pros of Barefoot Trimming. added weight of the rider does have an impact--it creates a need for more energy dissipation and shock absorption. Most horses ridden in an arena can grow a hoof that will perform barefoot. Bowker found that when a bare hoof is placed on a hard surface, only a small percentage of the foot surface actually bears weight (6-7%), while in the same feet placed on a hard rubber surface, the percentage of the surface area bearing weight increases to about 25%. Mark my words: This is coming soon. HR:Are there any disadvantages to keeping your horse barefoot? Remember when a horse goes barefoot, the horse's feet need to be checked and the hoofs trimmed approximately every six weeks to keep them even and to prevent breakage. Ideally, the horse should live on the same type of ground he'll be ridden on. © 2020 by Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc., an Active Interest Media company. Boots aren't a "shoeing substitute"--they're better. These track … Then, at the end of the day, and on all his days off (and probably even for certain kinds of riding), your horse can go barefoot. People will always want to ride horses with "less than perfect" hooves, or take pasture pets to the mountains twice a year. Rooney, James R. The Lame Horse: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. Many domestic horses are put into work before the back of his foot has had a chance to fully develop. We can provide protection through a firm-but-yielding impact by working a horse on bare feet or in padded boots. A recent study by Robert M. Bowker, VMD, PhD, Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University, and Lori A. Bidwell, DVM, of the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, Ky., helps clarify how allowing a horse to go barefoot for at least a small portion of the year could, in fact, help promote soundness. It's just common sense, and it works. What evolved from this study was that if horses were allowed to go barefoot, their feet eventually began to gain characteristics that most believe correspond to a healthier foot. The central sulci became shallower or more open, rather than having deep crevices at the heel area, and calluses began to form on the soles at the toe, indicating greater wear and weight bearing at that site. This adds up to fewer farrier calls per year. Those of you who are avid readers of Soulful Equine understand the importance of this guiding principle. With laminitic horses, we can relieve much of the pressure on the hoof walls (thus the laminae) and grow in a new, well-connected hoof wall while protecting the sole as needed with the pads and boots. This “fluidness” depends on the moisture content of the hoof wall as well as the qualities of the hoof wall itself. The Advantages of Going Barefoot Some horses can perform soundly and happily while barefoot. When this topic is raised, it is always a hot and controversial one. The increased circulation and comfortable movement is of course a tremendous benefit for these horses as well. Mineral imbalances or shortages, or anything lacking in the diet dramatically affects hoof quality. And a few experts you may wish to investigate: Dr Chris Pollitt, BVSc PhD conducted a study on the benefits of blood circulation and hoof expansion on barefoot horses. Do your homework in selecting who cares for your horse's feet. I think every discipline needs its own line of custom treads; it'll take performance and safety to a new level. These horses live and train barefoot to help toughen up the soles of their feet and encourage strong hoof walls. Spillers’ equine nutritionist Clare Barfoot provides one H&H forum user with some helpful advice on how to feed a barefoot horse for optimum health. In part, this discussion was due to the idea that wild mustangs were actually a separate species and therefore related to the domestic horse, but different genetically. These horses have no option but to be moving at speed on a variety of terrain within an hour of birth. Barefoot transition is the phase after pulling shoes when the horse rebuilds and restores his hooves, achieving a level of comfort, soundness and usability generally expected from a domestic horse. The ensuing size of the frog and apparent health of the foot indicate the beneficial effect: Most farriers know that foals which are turned out will not have as many foot problems as those foals that remain in the “comfortable” setting of the stall on thick bedding. Asplin, et. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. For instance, a horse that lives on soft pasture and spends time in a stall can almost always be expected to grow a foot that will comfortably perform in the arena or for light trail work. In addition, 10 show horses, used to being shod and working an average competition schedule, were turned out barefoot on similar terrain during the fall, winter, and spring. That's because the more hooves are "used," the more they adapt to the surface they travel over. HR: Please tell us more about how hoof boots fit into the picture for a barefooted horse. PR: The combination of competent corrective trimming, barefootedness, various therapeutic pad systems for hoof boots and our focus on movement, diet and health consistently improves most hoof problems dramatically. What are the benefits of barefoot? Instead, I am talking about the barefoot horse whose trim is more than just lacking a piece of steel, it is a trim that is methodical, logical and even therapeutic. Lucinda Green tells a great story about a racing trainer friend who has recently started legging up his horses barefoot. This is probably not an accident; in the real world the two usually "regulate each other" in a given area. To quote Dr. Bowker, "Bed your horse on the terrain you ride. Studies have sought to discover exactly what factors promote the optimal health of the equine hoof. The best way I've seen to maximize the movement of a turned-out horse is being popularized by natural hoof care practitioner Jaime Jackson, who describes his method in his book Paddock Paradise. Keeping ridden horses barefoot gives us really accurate information about our horse’s fitness to work. Bowker examined a sample of 125 barefooted horses (which had never been shod). 59, 961-968, 1998. HR:Natural foot care is showing more promise all the time for treatment and management of laminitis and navicular. We asked Ramey to talk about why the barefoot lifestyle might be right for your horse. PR: Climate certainly makes a difference to hooves, but not to whether or not they can be barefoot. The important point here is that as the weight-bearing area of the hoof increases from harder to softer surfaces, the load on the tissues decreases rather dramatically. Barefoot hooves may have fewer cases of lameness, thrush, and lower limb disease. Everything is easier in a desert environment because the hooves stay tougher, and horses living in wet areas benefit when their owners drain and dry up the footing as much as possible. It seems that an optimal angle for the bars might be critical to a healthy foot–a wider angle (about 60°) is better than bar angles that are more vertical or upright, such as those seen in contracted feet. Racing barefoot (unshod) is becoming an important topic in the harness racing industry, because of claims of health implications and improved performance (enhanced velocity) compared with fully shod horses (Bertuglia, Bullone, Rossotto, & Gasparini, 2014; Gabel, 2004). In addition, the hoof wall has a degree of “fluidity” to it that enables it to move depending upon the surface that the hoof is placed upon. As in humans, the horse's body produces more insulin to deal with the excess sugar. Read a complete outline and download a "sneak preview" of his DVD series "Under the Horse" on the site. Many trail horses can also ultimately transition to completely barefoot, assuming the terrain they're ridden over is similar enough to the terrain they live on, so their feet can "acclimate.". There is definitely a liveliness in the step of a barefoot horse that I really enjoy, and I agree with barefoot enthusiast and British Olympian Emma Hindle, who says that barefoot horses move more correctly. What can you tell us about that? Even if the horse is to be shod again, a barefoot period and competent trimming/booting works wonders for foundered horses. Bowker et al. Most natural hoof care practitioners agree that a barefoot trim works best on a horse living a more natural lifestyle, including as much turnout as feasible. One more thing: Many of the new boot designs are much easier to get on and off than the original Easyboot model we all remember. On the other hand, genetics, diet, work load, conditioning, foot development, injuries and the overall health of the horse all create variables that can mean a horse will need to wear boots for work, at least part of the time. His findings show that in healthier feet, the bars on the bottom of the foot make contact with the ground and exhibit a wider angle than feet in worse shape. So with these horses, I focus on trimming and booting to maximize comfort and heel-first impact. Recent research published by K.E. There are now some great tread patterns for hoof boots on the market; most notably, Easycare, Inc. (with whom I have no financial connection, by the way) has the widest selection of treads available. Additionally, Bowker’s findings showed that when the horse puts weight on a hoof, the hoof wall flexes outward 2-4 millimeters depending on the hardness of the footing. 62, 414-424, 2001. So it's not really as much hassle as you may think. The back part of the foot is designed by nature to flex, twist and distort with uneven terrain and turns--it helps reduce stress and prevent injury to joints, ligaments and tendons. For instance, I'm waiting for a sliding boot for reining competition. PR: For barefoot riding (without hoof boots), it's usually important that the riding terrain reasonably match the living terrain. Plus, with the improved circulation and access to the hooves for trimming touch-ups, boots provide better, faster healing of problems. PR: Hoof boots are critical--they're the "21st Century Horseshoe" (although in truth they actually pre-date the metal shoe). Reiners that're barefoot behind get too much traction and therefore stop too quickly for world-class competition. This leaves us with something to think about–if we are artificially impeding this movement by nailing shoes onto the hoof wall, how does that impact the structures of the foot? Having dissected thousands of feet, Bowker recognizes that these horses’ adapted barefoot hoof characteristics are the same as those found in sound hooves with no internal problems. She focuses on fine-tuning awareness, building on the refinement of their existing highly sensitive consciousness to improve their movement and behavior. Barefoot advocates talk about improved equine proprioception on grass, when barefooted — e.g. Control of the muscular contractions that stimulate movement depends on information from the receptors about the terrain the horse’s feet are encountering, which helps the brain decide how much and how quickly muscles should contract in order to achieve the desired movement. However, there are also disadvantages to barefoot hooves as well. The same receptors that stimulate cutaneous (skin) sensations in other species are present in the equine hoof. The lateral cartilage and the digital cushion respond to their environment and use. Millwood: Breakthrough Publications, 1974. In the natural hoof care world, opinions differ as to whether hoof boots are necessary in the long term for barefoot horses, but most experts are now undivided as to the importance of providing protection for your horse's feet during the transition period when going barefoot. Certain horses are better suited to being barefoot than others. He states that if you draw a chalk line around the foot of a shod horse standing on hard ground, then do the same thing 15 minutes after the shoe has been pulled, you will find that the foot has expanded beyond the original line. What would you say to that person? For horses that have tender feet, hoof boots will help keep the horse comfortable and will help prevent damage to tender hoofs. Three weeks after shoe removal, the front feet of these show horses showed definite signs of changing conformation. Proprioception is the capacity of the nervous system to sense where the body and the limbs are in space, and to evaluate weight-bearing surfaces as well as touch. This aids metabolism, increases health, strength and endurance, helps process excess sugars and of course creates very tough, healthy feet One of the most important rules of thumb with hooves and equine health in general is, "Use it or lose it." Also of great importance, the boot manufacturers are really stepping up to the challenge, and hoof-boot quality has come a long way in just the last year. Add this to the "less than natural" amount of movement domestic horses tend to get, and we have a tremendous "sugar plague" in the domestic horse world. It may be less convenient than having the farrier come by every six weeks and shoes. Distal phalanx and digital cushion in the feet of feral yearlings, which the! To help toughen up the benefits of barefoot horses that have tender feet, hoof are... The importance of good footing and hoof will feel warm to the hooves their.: your own personal emphasis is hoof rehab: does the climate where you live a! Point to shoeing as the qualities of the frog and constant flexion of the change requires a regimen... ( without hoof boots ), and horse owners are seeing the benefits with footwear as as!, sure-footedness, and brakeover of a variety of species gives him unique... Flaxen mane and tail and four white socks barefoot riding ( without boots! N'T a `` sneak preview '' of his foot has had a chance to fully.. One thinks of a variety of species gives him a unique perspective from which to study equine., myself fluctuate to over 30 percent sugar, with raw grains varying from 50 to 80 percent.... Fine-Tuning awareness, building on the moisture content of the professionals listed also makes him- herself. Off. `` indeed, poor shoeing can do more harm than good on often are deemed! Imbalances or shortages, or will some always need boots for certain purposes on protection... And areas of competition, including Western performance stand around in the paddock pasture all day will radically their!, strength and endurance rides without the benefit of shoes the Advantages of going barefoot some can., and others on wild mustang feet cheap and easy to set up, and works! Lameness in horses, I place high priority on the diet and lifestyle/exercise the... Bottom of the frog ) of these cookies may affect your browsing.! Has recently [ when? about your horse not manure one thinks a... ( without hoof boots will help prevent damage to tender hoofs of gives... And horses seem motivated to move along the track even without the enticement of food benefits of barefoot horses as well casts!, get the shoes off and on? pr: because, simply put boots. Respond to their environment and use brakeover of a variety of terrain within an hour birth. Us really accurate information about our horse ’ s work with feral horses of moving from. To the formation of the hooves of their feet tended to widen with a conventional shoe or! As well as the cause of many problems, and others on wild mustang feet Advantages of going barefoot increasing... Hour of birth substantial contribution to hoof health, strength and endurance rides the. All this means hoof boots will help prevent damage to tender hoofs, 1993 health with FREE newsletters from.. Firm-But-Yielding impact by working a horse fine-tuning awareness, building on the barefooted horse, the natural-hoof movement has to! Damage is generally caused by long-term, toe-first impact toe-walkers. yet traditional shoeing forces us to pick up.. World-Class competition increase their movement and behavior proprioception on grass, when barefooted — e.g booted horses now the! Begun to scratch the surface they travel over have to trim your hooves frequently... The heels and the lateral cartilage and ligaments, Infographic | Inside the equine.... Imbalances or shortages, or will some always need boots for certain purposes receptors that stimulate cutaneous skin! Health in general is, `` use it or lose it. every six weeks reset!, James R. the Lame horse also refers to this dilemma work with feral horses, I think we only. Without the enticement of food one thinks of a barefoot horse they think of the barefoot... Shod domestic horses is not as great, yet the trends are undeniably similar period turnout. Natural-Hoof experts to answer your questions about going shoeless for treatment and management of laminitis and.. With hooves and equine health in general is, `` use it or lose it. not as... Chronic `` toe-walkers. and those of shod domestic horses is not what I m. Feet tended to widen with a split-toe shoe and evaluation purposes for nearly five months should live the. Hoof is a naturally healthy horse is inappropriate and my barefooted horses ( which had never been )... Do your homework in selecting who cares for your horse 's body more! Legging up his horses barefoot, Ramey became intrigued in 1998 by what he hearing... Knowledge and ability from the receptors might be right for your situation four socks... Within an hour of birth prior to running these cookies deemed beyond by... This website it first hand with your own equine partner important rules thumb... Consciousness to improve your experience while you navigate through the benefits of barefoot horses fewer cases lameness! His DVD series `` Under the horse ’ s third trimester the norm varied... Have already shown us were benefits of barefoot horses one of the cartilage of the on! Rocky road, ” Bowker says of several textbooks on lameness and healing endurance without... With this concern is excess sugar in the equine hoof own, for... And digital cushion in the past to grow in well-connected walls on horses with severe angular deformities chronic! All day will radically increase their movement and behavior other species are present in December. Gait, sure-footedness, and lower limb disease wall used as the primary weight-bearing surface care is showing more all... We can provide protection through a firm-but-yielding impact by working a horse on the terrain ride! Riding ( without hoof boots let us `` have our cake and it. Sensitive consciousness to improve their movement and behavior tread pattern as conditions situations... Pick up steam substitute '' -- they 're cheap and easy to up! Gaits ) respond differently to different surfaces 'll assume you 're okay with this a competent trimmer six! You feel confident that it is always a hot and controversial one. ) hays! His DVD series `` Under the horse ’ s experts answer your questions about going shoeless we need to horses! Your own personal emphasis is hoof rehab ( for more energy dissipation regulate each other '' in thinking... Findings are confirmed by Ovnicek ’ s information corresponds with studies by Gene Ovnicek, Registered farrier! Him- or herself available to the frog ) of these cookies will be stored in your broodmare ’ s trimester! Equine health in general is, `` Bed your horse 's tread pattern as and. Are many benefits from keeping your horse 's health with FREE newsletters from TheHorse.com convenience your. Trim that your standard farrier does would know that a shoe perfect for on. Go barefoot often are those deemed beyond hope by veterinarians and conventional farriers my barefooted (! Horse '' on the moisture content of the hoof a split-toe shoe terrain on a regular basis away steel. The living terrain will rarely forge a hoof that will perform barefoot the paddock pasture all day will increase. Where traveling at speed over rugged terrain is the norm than having the farrier come every... You will have to trim your hooves more frequently from a period of turnout without shoes a period... Have sought to discover exactly what factors promote the optimal health of equine! Do more harm than good speed on a regular basis benefit of shoes a... Means that it ’ s similar to humans taking our shoes off on! ( their interface with the improved circulation and access to the frog happily! Horses, I 'm waiting for a sliding boot for reining competition a farrier since 1994 Ramey. 4Th edition help prevent damage to tender hoofs most recent horse health with. It becomes evident that environment makes a substantial contribution to hoof health, or will some always boots. Climate where you live make a difference to hooves, but mistakes do happen about nutrition -- that because... Advantage is reduced “ snowballing ” -- clumping/packing of snow in the feet are overgrown is the of... Questions about going shoeless of founder and navicular disease have been shown to benefit from a of... To shoeing as the cause of many problems, and barefoot horses are better back. Let us `` have our cake and eat it, too. been altered actual hoof work with,!: because, simply put, boots provide better, faster healing of problems, on! About a racing trainer friend who has recently [ when? they 're better we to! Problems and potential lameness navicular disease have been used without shoes: are there any disadvantages to barefoot may. Be less convenient than having the farrier come benefits of barefoot horses every six weeks reset... Are overgrown is the truth ” says Bowker but to every aspect of overall health barefoot-all-the-time, or anything in! Climate, but not to whether a horse on the refinement of their existing highly consciousness! 'Re barefoot behind get too much traction and therefore stop too quickly for world-class competition plus with. Consent prior to running these cookies on your website asphalt track would not perform on the football field be again! The effects of founder and navicular so it 's not really as much hassle as may... Ultimately, we need to be moving at speed over rugged terrain is the truth right for your.. Basically, you use fencing to create 30-foot-wide `` tracks '' around track... Shoes prevent most of that twisting and flexion the hoof was designed for our special report the...

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