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View Full Version : Going barefoot in Wellington....



Claudius
Oct. 13, 2009, 08:54 PM
My three coming four year old has wonderful feet. He has no shoes and in a couple of weeks we ship to Wellington. We stable off the grounds, we hack to the show...we just hang out this time around. Maybe do some pregreen divisions. Is the footing at and around the WEF conducive to keeping him unshod? It seems a shame to waste the money to shoe a horse that needs to be trimmed monthly while unshod!!! I have NEVER had one like this...how about jumping? when do I HAVE to have shoes?? I plan to play it by ear, and would like opinions.

WorthTheWait95
Oct. 13, 2009, 09:07 PM
We bought my (now retired) gelding when he was 11 and he had a few soundness issues. As soon as we yanked his shoes he was 100% sound and never took another off step in the 10 years I've owned him except when we tried to put shoes on. He did everything from the novice hunters to the junior jumpers completely barefoot at all the big AA shows including WEF. As we moved up in height we tried to put shoes on to help with the workload and he would be foot sore soon after. He has tough as nails qh feet and was perfectly happy sans shoes so that's the way we left him. He's 21 now and happily retired from showing but still 100% sound with zero maintanence except for a scoop of plat perf twice a day. We always stabled off grounds and the trails to the show grounds were just fine for him. Occasionally I would need to pick our way around a few large rocks but that's true of anywhere.

Obviously he is not the norm but I wouldn't put shoes on until there is an obvious reason.

CBoylen
Oct. 13, 2009, 09:18 PM
I had a horse at WEF wear through a steel hind shoe so badly in four weeks that it broke in half while still on the foot. So, no, I don't think I'd ride a barefoot horse on that footing.

RoyalTRider
Oct. 13, 2009, 09:29 PM
... oh, your horse.

That makes a lot more sense. :D

WorthTheWait95
Oct. 13, 2009, 09:30 PM
I had a horse at WEF wear through a steel hind shoe so badly in four weeks that it broke in half while still on the foot. So, no, I don't think I'd ride a barefoot horse on that footing.

Sweet. I can now say my guys feet are stronger then steel! ;)

mfallshookup
Oct. 13, 2009, 09:31 PM
I show my horse barefoot in the jumpers at the PBIEC twice a month usually, including the international arena, but he is an overgrown connemara pony and has excellent feet.

JB
Oct. 14, 2009, 09:39 AM
Continue to play it by ear, especially since you're just mostly hanging out. Play it by ear for the rest of his life.

Just because one horse, or three, has problems in shoes (ie wearing them) doesn't mean another will have problems without shoes.

Ty2003
Oct. 14, 2009, 09:57 AM
The Oldenburg mare I lease is barefoot. She's been barefoot all her life (and she's 8 yrs old). She's got amazing feet. She's shown in the adult eq/hunters and does just fine without shoes. Of course, it can be a hassle if we show on grass and it's wet - no shoes = no studs. But I'd rather keep her barefoot as long as possible because she does so well. It's a bit of a hassle around my farm because it's a little rocky in places and I don't want her to get stone bruises, but I'm just careful where she's turned out. You're lucky you don't have to shoe at this point!

perfecta11
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:28 AM
It really depends on your situation. If you're going to be crossing the road a lot and trail riding all over the place, it may not work. But if you're not going to be all over the place and your horse's feet stay in good condition, then it may just work.

TSWJB
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:33 AM
I had a horse at WEF wear through a steel hind shoe so badly in four weeks that it broke in half while still on the foot. So, no, I don't think I'd ride a barefoot horse on that footing.

just curious is WEF footing much more abrasive than other typical shows? i never noticed that it was.
as far as the barefoot thing. i have a 5yo that when i bought him at 3.5 his feet were so gorgeous i didnt want to put shoes on. i have been playing it by ear. but so far i showed him all summer in the 2.6ft division and he has been sound as anything! his feet do not break up. the footing is a stone dust mix that can get very hard when the ring is not in use for a show. (i train at this barn) no one really uses the ring when a show isnt in session. of course they drag and water it for the show and its nice, but i would say it would be abrasive to the foot because its sand and stone dust.
anyway the horse has held up really well. i do not plan to put shoes on him, if he doesnt need them. as a matter of fact, i had the farrier out after 4 months of not coming just because i thought she should look at his feet. not because they looked like they needed trimming. she couldnt believe it! she said he self trims so evenly that she didnt need to do him. she said he even trims his frogs evenly. she did a little rasping around the edges but that was about it.
i have many people who tell me i cant keep him barefoot and jump. but so far this has not been the case. this summer i took him on some hunts with the spring valley hounds and he galloped over rocks (I didnt want to, but he wanted to stay with the pack) and i though oh no, he will be lame. nope. sound as a whistle!
i did have one slight problem. the end of the summer. it had rained for weeks. and his feet must have gotten soft. it dried up all of a sudden and he was a bit ouchy in the abrasive sand, but sound on grass. i bought durasole and painted it on his feet a couple of days and he was back to normal. so if you do stay barefoot, do buy keratex or durasole to harden up his feet if they get soft from rain.
i think more and more people are discovering benefits of barefoot. my friend in canada shows her horse barefoot in the adult hunters and last year won reserve out of about 30 horses in the trillium championships in canada. (their zone finals) she showed at venues on grass throughout the season. actually when they are barefoot they have better traction than horses with steel shoes. unless they have studs in their shoes.
if i were you i would keep him barefoot until you feel he cant handle it. they will let you know. i am hoping my young horse can stay barefoot forever. its soooo nice. no lost shoes to worry about. no breaking up feet at the nail holes etc. and lots of saved money!

meupatdoes
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:43 AM
I do not find the footing at WEF to be super abrasive.

My young horse has four (white) barefoot feet; he is not at WEF but at home goes on trails that include dirt paths, gravel roads, some pavement etc etc, and is also turned out 18 hours a day on average, and if I can keep him barefoot all the way through the A/Os believe you me I will do it. I find the footing at WEF is much friendlier than the trails my horse is currently going on: there are bridle paths everywhere you need to go and IME the rings are fine.

It is looking good too, he just got a new farrier and she was all, "omg, look at this wall! Look at these feet!!"

It sounds like your horse is doing fine shoeless so if it ain't broke don't fix it.
You can always adjust later if you need to; it is not like there aren't eleventy billion farriers within spitting distance down there that you can pay $350 to to do your horse.

War Admiral
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:00 AM
I'm sort of in the same situation with my youngster: he has terrific feet and has never had shoes on. Because I'm a veteran of the OTTB wars (:D), I have NEVER owned one that could go barefoot, and like the OP I'm kind of wondering how long we can play this one out...

My question would be - is there a fence height at which you would rather see a horse shod? I'd be fine with my kid doing up to 2'6"/2'9" barefoot b/c it's just not that much of a jump for him - beyond that I'd start to kind of stress, I think... But this is my first go-round with an unshod young horse, and it's very encouraging to see some of y'all doing the A/Os and jumpers with them.

findeight
Oct. 14, 2009, 12:55 PM
The WEF footing is great IN THE RINGS. There are, however, numerous asphalt drives and some gravel you have to walk on to get to the rings and it may be a loooooong way between where you may be coming onto the property and your competition arena. Not to mention hacking to it and crossing roads, driveways and whatever. Lots of it is sort of a sand base but there can be alot of rocks/gravel spread from paving crews, I was kind of surprised by that as it looks like just sand along the roads, proved not so.

I dunno...whatever you think but I'd probably go with front shoes, at least.

chawley
Oct. 14, 2009, 01:20 PM
I'm sort of in the same situation with my youngster: he has terrific feet and has never had shoes on. Because I'm a veteran of the OTTB wars (:D), I have NEVER owned one that could go barefoot, and like the OP I'm kind of wondering how long we can play this one out...

My question would be - is there a fence height at which you would rather see a horse shod? I'd be fine with my kid doing up to 2'6"/2'9" barefoot b/c it's just not that much of a jump for him - beyond that I'd start to kind of stress, I think... But this is my first go-round with an unshod young horse, and it's very encouraging to see some of y'all doing the A/Os and jumpers with them.

My TB hunter was barefoot for the first 12-13 years of his life, and I showed him 3"3' all over and he did great. I also trail rode him in the park and on roads and never had a problem. The only reason he had to be shod eventually was due to an unrelated accident that resulted in a front tendon injury. I eventually put shoes on the hind to provide support for his 'changing' hocks too.

horselesswonder
Oct. 14, 2009, 01:55 PM
That set of shoes will probably be your cheapest WEF-related bill (assuming you get him shod at home). :lol:

Gwendolyn
Oct. 14, 2009, 02:25 PM
Dora spent the winter at WEF in '08 barefoot. We did not show at all, but we did trail ride a lot. She was perfect barefoot (not so perfect at the first place I boarded because they let her pace the fence for HOURS, but much better when we left there).

The paths around the show grounds are gravel, but the rings are great. Also, as findeight mentioned, you may be crossing asphalt, driveways, and godknowswhatelse on your way to the show grounds.

If it were me, I'd play it by ear. You can always add shoes if you need them, but once they're on, the holes are in the feet until they grow out.

LMH
Oct. 14, 2009, 03:59 PM
Why would one need shoes to cross asphalt or driveways?

ivy62
Oct. 14, 2009, 04:04 PM
If you are worried about the driveways and gravel you can always use boots for that and still keep them barefoot. This way you get where your going and no harm done...I have used boots for several years and love them....Good luck...

RyuEquestrian
Oct. 14, 2009, 04:34 PM
I showed my 5-year old mare in the YJC at HITS last winter barefoot. She has very good feet and it didn't bother her in the slightest. However, this summer I noticed that when I took her out and started my work she was a bit touchy and then worked out it and it was suggested that I put simple front shoes on her. So I'd say keep 'em barefoot as long as possible, then play it by ear. Same thing with a 4 year old mare we had in training, she was barefoot until recently when she started to get a bit tender after doing some more jumping, now she is in simple steel front shoes. I've also found it makes them a bit sharper in front :-)

findeight
Oct. 14, 2009, 06:00 PM
Why would one need shoes to cross asphalt or driveways?


For some, they don't need them. For others, it can create a problem if you are on it alot...and the plentiful gravel sitting on top of an ungiving surface, like asphalt or hard ground, can bite pretty good on a bare foot, especially if it's been wet from walking in the mud after a rain-which you can count on encountering.

If I was going to spend that much money, as in 7500 to 10k a month to get to WEF and show there? I'd want to do anything and everything to avoid any bruised feet-which can happen anyway with shoes but...

Depends on the horse more then anything as well as the distance hacked to the showgrounds and the surface you are hacking on, how much asphalt or gravel you have to cross and the amount of time you would be on those gravel paths around the showgrounds.

LMH
Oct. 14, 2009, 09:44 PM
Ahhh I hadn't thought of the pebbly gravel on top.

M. O'Connor
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:55 PM
It depends on what you are doing, where you ride down there, how your horse moves, and what shape your horse's feet are in to begin with.

It's one thing to think about riding on grass. There's a fair amount of that, but not eveyone is lucky enough to have access to it to ride on regularly. There is a LOT of sand...and sand itself can be wearing (think: sandblasting). There are hard surfaces (the roads) and really abrasive hard surfaces (the sand/gravel/hard pack roads).

That said, I've known many horses to go down and go barefoot for a bit as they get legged up, then get shoes as they go into serious work. You play it all by ear...there are a million excellent shoers down there, so not like you won't be able to get help if you decide you need it.

florida foxhunter
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:03 PM
I am very fortunte to have an exceptionally footed horse that always goes barefoot.....he just won the Talent Search and Washington Hunter in Jax barefoot.....he's also shown in Atlanta, Ocala, KY,Aiken, basically many places in the SE...........up to 3'6 with no problem. He also foxhunts barefoot.....but only in good footing areas. When we went to VA or places with rocks he was shod..and even drilled and tapped with studs sometimes.
I worried when we were moving up to 3'6, but both my vet and my farrier said, "if it aint broke, don't fix it".
I can't speak for Wellington's foooting, as I"ve visited but never stayed the entire winter.

I do admit, this is a special (17.2 horse!!).....with hard, black feet. I can't say every horse I"ve owned could do this, but on occassion there are those that can!!
Good luck with yours...just watch him closely!!

Fixerupper
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:42 PM
The 'natural' footing in Wellington is coral sand....it's very abrasive. If you are only riding on 'manufactured' footing (show grounds or private facility) it should be OK. The asphalt/gravel roads...something altogether different. Also keep in mind..unless you are from a 'high water table' area...Wellington is built on a swamp and the footing (regardless of the weather) is very damp.

Mukluk
Oct. 15, 2009, 12:00 AM
I would think that it is not what the footing is at WEF per se, but rather what your horse is used to. If he is on gravel and pavement and sand barefoot now, I would think it would not be much of an adjustment. If he is barefoot and only in a stall and soft dirt that would make a difference. I have a barefoot OTTB and hoping to keep it that way but will do whatever she needs to be comfortable. She lives in a rocky pasture, we ride in a sand arena, and she trail rides on all kinds of stuff (including a rocky sandy riverbed). So far so good. And did I mention that a few weeks ago we jumped cross country for the first time and on Monday we had our first experience working cattle and buffalo..... but I digress.

Fixerupper
Oct. 15, 2009, 01:15 AM
I would think that it is not what the footing is at WEF per se, but rather what your horse is used to.

IF the horse is used to wet coral sand...no probs :)

TSWJB
Oct. 15, 2009, 10:10 AM
if you really want to stay barefoot and you are worried your horse might get a stone bruise. take preventative measures. you can buy the hoof boots and wear them on all the gravel roads and the cement and then take them off when you show. i bought BOA hoof boots. they are easy on/ easy off. the other ones i heard are too hard to get on and off. i have used them once. bought them after i was running over rocks on a hunt. i used them once on a trail since i bought them. they did not rub and horse didnt seem to care. although i wouldnt want to show in them, plus not legal. because they do make the horse pick his feet up a bit higher.
i havent been to WEF since 2006 but i dont remember the riding paths being that gravely. i thought they were nice trails. but then again i havent been down there since.
i would also recommend using keratex or durasole as a preventative measure on the soles of the feet to harden them up to make sure you dont get a stone bruise.
there is another thing you can try. its those equicasts. i think they call them. they are like plaster casts that stay on the sole for 3 weeks and protect them. i have never tried them, but it sounds like it would be very handy!
i have read alot about being barefoot and they do talk about conditioning your horses feet to rocks. and i know that mine ran over some pretty rocky stuff and he stayed sound and he was not ouchy when he did it. (he had to keep up with the group despite my terror of him running over rocks!) they apparently build up callouses on the bottom of their feet when exposed to rough surface.

findeight
Oct. 15, 2009, 10:35 AM
Something tells me the average horse going to WEF is not going to have callouses built up on his feet from working on hard or rocky ground because we do not jump on hard or rocky ground. Not exactly ideal for the rest of their legs to do that.

And there is only so much keratex and other preps you can buy and a limit to what they can do in the...what, 6-10 weeks most are down there?

Sometimes it really is easier just to shoe them. OP will need to consider all this but should wait until she gets down there and see how it goes...after all, lots of top farriers down there and they only charge TRIPLE what they do at home.