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Oakstable
Mar. 14, 2010, 03:48 PM
Do horses move better with front shoes? I have a horse who is barefoot. Incredibly nice quality feet.

If I put shoes on the front, would he move any differently?

We're going to a show soon.

deltawave
Mar. 14, 2010, 04:03 PM
It depends. :)

My younger mare definitely moves more freely when she has shoes on, unless you're riding on fluffy clouds from heaven-type footing like the rubberized/felt stuff. :D

However, if you're happy with how he's moving, he's happy in his work, and his feet are holding up great, why bother?

One way of knowing is to try (borrow!) some hoof boots and see if he moves out more freely, but a couple of caveats: hoof boots are not horseshoes and there is no guarantee that the change (if any) in movement will be the same if you go from one to the other. Also, it can take a little while for a horse to get used to boots and move out confidently with them on. The same may be true to a small degree for nail-on shoes, by the way, if the horse is naive to them, although IME the "adjustment time" for nail-ons is minimal.

Petstorejunkie
Mar. 14, 2010, 04:04 PM
my personal opinion is if you are doing nothing to the balance of the hoof but just slapping shoes on, save your money and the horses hoof wall.
are you experiencing any soundness issues that concern you?

Patty Stiller
Mar. 14, 2010, 04:10 PM
Horses may or may not move better with shoes.
If the barefoot horse has sound, and has strong feet that are balanced correctly and he is comfortable on the footing he is being asked to go on, he may be already moving as well as he can.
On the other hand if the horse is weak or tender footed, or has some lameness issue that can be helped with correct shoeing ,or has foot imbalances that are best helped with correct shoeing, or is not OK on some surfaces then perhaps you may want to consider shoes. (correctly applied shoes, that is)
And lastly, poor (incorrect) shoeing can be detrimental to his movement and to his feet so if you do get him shod be sure it is done by someone experienced and well trained.
So it is not a simple issue, all factors need to be considered.

BuddyRoo
Mar. 14, 2010, 04:58 PM
You can ABSOLUTELY change movement with a different trim or shoes. Question is.....is the change GOOD?

LOL

The ol' conundrum.

Is there an issue you're concerned about or some movement you're after?

sublimequine
Mar. 14, 2010, 05:01 PM
It depends. :)

My younger mare definitely moves more freely when she has shoes on, unless you're riding on fluffy clouds from heaven-type footing like the rubberized/felt stuff. :D

However, if you're happy with how he's moving, he's happy in his work, and his feet are holding up great, why bother?

One way of knowing is to try (borrow!) some hoof boots and see if he moves out more freely, but a couple of caveats: hoof boots are not horseshoes and there is no guarantee that the change (if any) in movement will be the same if you go from one to the other. Also, it can take a little while for a horse to get used to boots and move out confidently with them on. The same may be true to a small degree for nail-on shoes, by the way, if the horse is naive to them, although IME the "adjustment time" for nail-ons is minimal.

This. Try and borrow some hoof boots from someone, let the horse wear them a few times, then put them on the longe/ride them and see if you notice a difference.

This is how I discovered my mare needed her shoes put back on. I had thrown her hoof boots on just because the outdoor was particularly dry and hard that day, and turned her in there loose while I went to get her stuff. Came back to find her doing the most AMAZING extended trot I had ever seen from one end of the arena to the other, over and over and over.

Yup, called the farrier, got front shoes put back on, and it was like turning on a light switch. Suddenly we had huge trots, swingy walks, smoother jogs, it was a big difference for her. :yes:

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 14, 2010, 05:12 PM
My opinion, a normal, sound horse should be better without shoes. Would YOU move better with steel on the bottom of your feet? I stopped putting shoes on horses awhile back and have never had a problem-all types of horses, all ages, all kinds of ground, concrete, gravel, mud, hills, etc. They jump, and I;ve had horses at all level of dressage through Grand Prix, barefoot.

AND it saves a lot of money. Shoes shouldn't really make a difference in how they move unless there's a problem.

sublimequine
Mar. 14, 2010, 05:14 PM
My opinion, a normal, sound horse should be better without shoes. Would YOU move better with steel on the bottom of your feet? I stopped putting shoes on horses awhile back and have never had a problem-all types of horses, all ages, all kinds of ground, concrete, gravel, mud, hills, etc. They jump, and I;ve had horses at all level of dressage through Grand Prix, barefoot.

AND it saves a lot of money. Shoes shouldn't really make a difference in how they move unless there's a problem.

That's really anthropomorphizing. Humans don't have hooves, so it's irrelevant if we would do better with steel on our FEET or not. :winkgrin:

Although I did used to call my mare's hoof boots her "sneakers"... :D

Oakstable
Mar. 14, 2010, 05:15 PM
Farrier is coming at 8 tomorrow.
The horse has great feet. He goes out on the trail with no problems.

My curiousity is if the weight of the shoe will give him a bit more animation.

We have a show on 03/23.

I could always try it and if there's no detectable difference, just leave him barefoot in the future.

He has a really nice canter. Trot is a bit flat. Most people look at the trot.

BuddyRoo
Mar. 14, 2010, 05:18 PM
I may be naive...and if so, please forgive me. But IMHO, shoes are something to be used for a physical need, not a cosmetic issue. Get that action barefoot if you can.

Adding shoes is not going to improve your horse's overall movement as a function of training. It's just going to be a matter of hauling around shoes.

I am not anti-shoe. But I don't think that shoeing for better than the horse can accomplish when already balanced is a good thing. It kind of ranks just below injecting tails and putting on weights.

Get the best you can from yours without the extras. In the long term, that probably is BEST for your horse.

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 14, 2010, 05:27 PM
Sublime--I'm actually not anthropomorphizing. The hoof is built so it expands and contracts. When you put something on it that restricts that, what do you think it does to the horse's feet? Human feet move much the same way. Humans don't wear steel, but ever had on a pair of hard shoes that don't allow your feet to expand? Boy, you get really "lame" after that.

Yes, the shoe of course allows some expansion because it has an open end, but not as much as natural. Now, if you have something going on where the natural expansion is causing a problem or pain, a shoe will be better.

Oaks--think about it. You CAN get more animation by doing a lot of things. The Saddlebred people and such put giant clogs on their feet and bracelets around the fetlocks to cause that. I'm not going to even get into what I think of that. You would never do something like that. In the end, you can probably use a device to get a reaction from a horse, but in dressage the assumption is you take natural ability and movement and condition and train to get it. So, animation would come from more impulsion.

Again, I'll defer to Patty on specifics as she's way better at all of this. This is just from my horse experience and training.

CosMonster
Mar. 14, 2010, 05:56 PM
I've never seen a horse get increased action due to the weight of a flat shoe. They're light enough as to be pretty much negligible. When horses show increased action and better gaits after shoes are applied, it's because they are more comfortable and able to move to the best of their abilities.

Talk to your farrier, but personally if it were my horse and I thought he was comfortable, I'd leave him barefoot.

deltawave
Mar. 14, 2010, 07:55 PM
Would YOU move better with steel on the bottom of your feet?


Maybe. It is just so silly to compare horses to humans in this regard. When's the last time any of us went running barefoot down the gravel driveway wearing a 30 pound backpack? :rolleyes:

Oakstable
Mar. 14, 2010, 08:15 PM
Anyone know of any upper level dressage horses showing barefoot?

My horse is comfy.

His feet are balanced.

I supposed I could try one shoeing and see if it matters.

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 14, 2010, 08:35 PM
Delta--Well, I just don't get it. Yes, I walk everywhere barefoot when I can, even on gravel, and lots of people do around the world. I've also walked across part of the Sahara with a 30 lb backpack. A lot of people do. Just saying. My feet hurt when I wear shoes too much.

Oaks. Yes, my mare was Grand Prix and barefoot from the day she was born through the day I lost her. Her daughter was schooling I-1, barefoot since birth. My new mare is now working her way through 4th level, barefoot. Was a broodmare when I got her with front shoes 3 years ago, pulled them off, no problem. I know there are some international level GP horses barefoot. Here are a few more references:
http://www.thehorseshoof.com/barefootperf_dress.html
http://www.hoofcareunltd.com/Emma%20Hindle.htm

It sounds like you have a horse with nice feet who's doing just fine.

BumbleBee
Mar. 14, 2010, 08:43 PM
Hind shoes would be the most likely to help a dressage horse.

In deep footing the lateral heel can sink as at the trot a good percentage land lateral heel first. This can make the hocks work less efficiently(unbalanced push-off).

Adding some float to the lateral heel can VASTLY improve a horses ability to work off the hind end.

deltawave
Mar. 14, 2010, 09:46 PM
Yes, I walk everywhere barefoot when I can

Uh huh, and when you can't, you need shoes. It is the same for horses, and that is the limit of the comparisons we can make there, I think.

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 14, 2010, 09:57 PM
Delta--Well, I don't think you're understanding the point. But, that's fine. I won't elaborate any further. To each his own.

The thread is focused on shoes for dressage and whether it helps. Do you have a point to make about how shoes will or will not help movement? I can't tell whether you disagree with the point of this or not.

deltawave
Mar. 14, 2010, 10:01 PM
See my first post: my point and my opinion is that it depends . . . on the horse, the feet, the footing, and the demands being made. Sometimes they help, sometimes not. Horseshoes have no agenda, and neither have I. :) The same is not as often true of horseshoe-haters, IME.

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 14, 2010, 10:13 PM
Oh, sorry. Been here, then out doing other things, so sort of losing track of who's talking.

mustangtrailrider
Mar. 14, 2010, 10:19 PM
Why not show barefoot? If all goes well, don't bother with it. If you feel you need them, try them for the next time!

If it ain't broke, why try to fix it?

I don't understand the desire to put shoes on a horse that doesn't need them, just for the sake of showing.....

Tom Stovall
Mar. 14, 2010, 10:52 PM
Beentheredonethat

Oh, sorry. Been here, then out doing other things, so sort of losing track of who's talking.

A rider's choice between shoeing or going barefooted often depends on whether they want to participate or win something.

Dressage is a subjective discipline. Since the exercise is subjectively quantified, optimum biomechanical efficiency is related to the discipline's subjective criteria and has nothing to do with how high, fast, far, etc. In other words, dressage horses are not immune to Newtonian physics, "it depends" rules, and the fifth phase of motion, swing, moves toward weight and length.

Put another way, I don't think you'll find many barefooted Grand Prix dressage horses. I have been privileged to have been the official farrier at quite a few dressage tests, including - for six or seven years - the Region 9 Championships. I don't recall ever seeing anything barefooted light the board.

YMMV.

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 14, 2010, 11:24 PM
Tom--I don't disagree with your observations, but I don't think it's necessarily an accurate comparison. The idea that you don't HAVE to shoe is only fairly recent. I felt like the attitude was that I was doing it "wrong" because I didn't do what everyone else did. I completely disagree that if you want to "win" you have to have shoes. I would imagine that would hold more true for upper level eventing and jumpers where shoes are needed more for traction.

I'm sorry I can't come up with more, but I know there are horses in Europe that light up the board and are barefoot, and international level Grand Prix. I think the standard right now is that people do what they've always done, and that is they shoe because they're afraid of doing it wrong. What you're seeing is more a result of the way things have always been done. I'm happy to see in here a lot of people who don't go by that in regards to shoeing, supplements, stabling, etc. I always feel I'm int the "outs" because I don't do it they way everyone else does. I would say most people would say you don't find many Grand Prix dressage horses doing duty on the streets as a police horse, yet Klaus Balkenhal did a pretty good job with Goldstern at the Olympics, and his previous dressage horse, also. I'm sure a lot of people would say there aren't many GP dressage horses out there that are turned out and run with other horses in pasture, but there are. It's not because it makes them less of a competative horse, but because people tend to do things the same way as everyone else.

SO, I think there's a fallacy in the reasoning here. For example, most people may drink coffee (or whatever) every day, and most people are healthy, so coffee makes you healthy? No. Just because most people who ride at the upper level have shod horses, doesn't mean they're successful BECAUSE they're shod.

There are horses that really DO need to be shod. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that making the automatic assumption they should be is the what should be challenged. I was one of the ones who did it the way everyone else did, until I didn't. From my limited experience, every single horse I've had barefoot has been great. Could just the right shoe make that little bit of difference? Maybe yes. Is it all about that little bit of difference? If you're a pro at the top of the world, oh yeah. But, in the end I think too many dressage people look for the gadget or saddle or supplement or shoe or training method or, or, or that will make the difference, when in the end it's more a matter of time and work that is really needed.

I've just have become the person that does something for a specific reason, not just because it's always done. If things are fine, I don't see a reason to change things just because. I never felt that riding GP barefoot was any hinderence, caused any problems, or did anything but made my horse better. I didn't put shoes on to just see what would happen.

deltawave
Mar. 14, 2010, 11:31 PM
If things are fine, I don't see a reason to change things just because.

Would this, then, apply to the custom of putting shoes on working horses? :confused:

Just about everyone I know who competes falls into the category of "I've tried barefoot, my horse can't hold up to it" or "my horse does way better with shoes on". This has been my own experience as well. None of mine wears shoes if they don't need them and I try to pull them at least 4-5 months out of the year. But when and if that doesn't work out, on they go again. Haven't had one yet that does better without shoes than with them.

CosMonster
Mar. 14, 2010, 11:37 PM
Although I disagree with some of BTDT's posts on this thread (in spite of thinking it's best to stay bare whenever possible for both people and horses--I myself run in Vibram's 5Fingers shoes, which is as close to barefoot as I'm getting in the desert :lol:--I don't think comparisons between human feet and equine hooves are useful as they are completely different), I do agree that there is a mentality in dressage that your horse has to be shod and I do question that. I know on my old horse, when we hit 3rd level I was told we were way overdue for shoes, so I put them on. Now I question whether he needed them. It's impossible for me to tell as I did not start learning much about hoof care myself until after he was retired, nor did I pull his shoes until he became too arthritic for hard work (although his arthritis did improve--whether it's due to a lack of shoes, a better trim, or a combination thereof it's hard to say). The mindset of "upper level horses need shoes" regardless of individual circumstances is very prevalent, however.

I do think we might start seeing more barefoot upper level horses eventually. I know of several performing at grand prix without shoes, but they're not top horses regardless of their hoof care. I don't disagree that shoes are often necessary, but I do wonder how often they're just put on because that's what's done, and not because the horse needs them.

edit: Deltawave posted while I was typing mine up. :) I want to clarify that I think a lot of competitive horses do fall into the category you mention, but IME a lot don't as well. I don't want to come off as a BUA as I think shoes definitely have their place, but I think it is a good idea to make sure we're doing it for the horse's needs and not just because. As far as the OP goes, I don't think it would hurt to try shoes for a cycle and see if your horse goes better in them.

LarkspurCO
Mar. 14, 2010, 11:44 PM
Oaks. Yes, my mare was Grand Prix and barefoot from the day she was born through the day I lost her. Her daughter was schooling I-1, barefoot since birth. My new mare is now working her way through 4th level, barefoot. Was a broodmare when I got her with front shoes 3 years ago, pulled them off, no problem.

Lucky you -- horses with good feet. Now, just to play devil's advocate, how do you know these horses would not have moved better with shoes?


I know there are some international level GP horses barefoot.

And their names are?



Here are a few more references:
http://www.thehorseshoof.com/barefootperf_dress.html
http://www.hoofcareunltd.com/Emma%20Hindle.htm

I have to say I have seen videos of Juneau and he was obviously lame. Not saying it was or wasnt' due to his bare feet, and I know he got a few good scores last fall, but the videos show a lame horse.

As for the other examples, nothing earth-shattering there. Training level barefoot horses. I have one of those myself and see barefoot horses showing the local circuit around here and doing fine.

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 15, 2010, 12:05 AM
Jeese. I have to put the computer down. I am NOT getting my work done. I swear, this has got to be it for today. I have to get up an hour earlier with the time switching, too.

"Lucky you --"
--Hmm. IS it lucky when it happens repeatedly with all types of horses? I get that with the horses in pasture and trail riding, too--I'm "lucky" they're never lame. Maybe I am lucky, or . . . I do get called "lucky" a lot. But, if that were so, you'd think it would be in other parts of life. No lottery, nothing. Who knows?
" horses with good feet. Now, just to play devil's advocate, how do you know these horses would not have moved better with shoes?"
Dunno-- How do I know they wouldn't have done better with this supplement, that saddle, that bit, this training regimine. I guess that's what it's all about. We can spend a lot of our time playing "what if." If I were at the top of the world and had a lot of money, I guess I could do that. We all make choices in how we do things.

Buuuut, JUST to play devil's advocate, how do you know YOUR horse wouldn't do better without shoes?

I CAN'T remember any names of international barefoot horses. I know there are because I remember seeing it in some magazine. People in here are way better at this stuff and remembering than I am. I'm really bad with names.

The links I supplied I don't know and didn't look at. I just did a quick Google search. The one about Emma Hindle I just looked at now quickly--2 horses winning at a CDIO in Saumur. Actually, reading it now for the first time seems to answer some of these questions. I didn't look at the other one.

Please excuse me for the night. No more. This stuff is too addictive. Please, keep the discussion going. It's always good to talk.

Hampton Bay
Mar. 15, 2010, 12:19 AM
You know, this is something I have thought about over and over and over. My mare is schooling at second level, an off-breed, and currently barefoot. I plan to aim for some bronze-medal scores this year, and given that I have one chance (money...), do I shoe or not? I go round and round.

I think for my mare, the main arguments are traction in strange footing, and getting a touch extra height in front (she's almost butt-high, and certainly can collect, but she never looks like a horse already built uphill). So for me, if it will give her that little bit of boost to feel more sure of her footing (due to a bit of padding on her feet) and to look a touch more uphill, then it seems worth it.

Do I think she could do the work barefoot and stay sound? Of course, or she wouldn't be barefoot now. But she's a 6 mover. Given that dressage is scored so heavily on the gaits, and that you need a 60% for a score toward a bronze medal, every little bit counts. If she were a 7 or 8 mover, I probably wouldn't bother.

But for me it's really about removing any reason for them to worry about their footing, or to step on a rock at the show and bruise a hoof, etc. It's about getting that little extra edge.

Tom Stovall
Mar. 15, 2010, 12:34 AM
Beentheredonethat in gray

Tom--I don't disagree with your observations, but I don't think it's necessarily an accurate comparison. The idea that you don't HAVE to shoe is only fairly recent.

As far as I know, there have never been any rules mandating shoes on dressage horses at any level.

I felt like the attitude was that I was doing it "wrong" because I didn't do what everyone else did. I completely disagree that if you want to "win" you have to have shoes.

While you may disagree, you have only to observe whether a greater percentage of winners are shod or barefooted in order to base your opinion on reality.

I would imagine that would hold more true for upper level eventing and jumpers where shoes are needed more for traction.

IME, it has to do with inertia and subjectivity. Physical law can be difficult to overcome.

I'm sorry I can't come up with more, but I know there are horses in Europe that light up the board and are barefoot, and international level Grand Prix.

Since there are no FEI rules requiring shoes on dressage horses, it would be logical to think that folks will do whatever is necessary to give their horses whatever they need in order to perform at their best within the dictates of the discipline.

I think the standard right now is that people do what they've always done, and that is they shoe because they're afraid of doing it wrong.

Daddydiditthataway rules in lots of places, but dressage horses haven't "always" been shod without reason.

What you're seeing is more a result of the way things have always been done.

Oh? One hates to express the obvious, but there's a reason shoeing has "always been done" and it has to do with subjective criteria and inertia.

I'm happy to see in here a lot of people who don't go by that in regards to shoeing, supplements, stabling, etc. I always feel I'm int the "outs" because I don't do it they way everyone else does.

Opinions abound, but the proof of a pudding is in the tasting: In reality, the overwhelming majority of high-level dressage horses are shod.

I would say most people would say you don't find many Grand Prix dressage horses doing duty on the streets as a police horse, yet Klaus Balkenhal did a pretty good job with Goldstern at the Olympics, and his previous dressage horse, also.

What percentage of winning Grand Prix horses would you say barefooted horses comprise?

I'm sure a lot of people would say there aren't many GP dressage horses out there that are turned out and run with other horses in pasture, but there are.

What percentage of winning Grand Prix horses do you think are turned out with other horses?

It's not because it makes them less of a competative horse, but because people tend to do things the same way as everyone else.

I disagree. In terms of risk assessment, it's sheer folly to turn horses out together. A good horse can figure out a way to hurt itself in rubber room; a puke can be turned out in a barbed wire trap full of discs and never get a scratch.

SO, I think there's a fallacy in the reasoning here. For example, most people may drink coffee (or whatever) every day, and most people are healthy, so coffee makes you healthy? No. Just because most people who ride at the upper level have shod horses, doesn't mean they're successful BECAUSE they're shod.

Allow me to point out the fallacy of your reasoning: Dressage is subjectively evaluated and the swing phase of movement moves inexorably toward weight and length; thus, if horses are equally talented, the shod horse will usually win because the shod horse will exhibit superior performance, not necessarily because it's "better" in terms of caloric expenditure in getting from here to there; rather, because it's "better" according to the subjective criteria by which the performance of dressage horses is evaluated.

There are horses that really DO need to be shod. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that making the automatic assumption they should be is the what should be challenged. I was one of the ones who did it the way everyone else did, until I didn't. From my limited experience, every single horse I've had barefoot has been great. Could just the right shoe make that little bit of difference? Maybe yes. Is it all about that little bit of difference? If you're a pro at the top of the world, oh yeah. But, in the end I think too many dressage people look for the gadget or saddle or supplement or shoe or training method or, or, or that will make the difference, when in the end it's more a matter of time and work that is really needed.

Folks decide for themselves whether they want to participate or to win.

I've just have become the person that does something for a specific reason, not just because it's always done. If things are fine, I don't see a reason to change things just because. I never felt that riding GP barefoot was any hinderence, caused any problems, or did anything but made my horse better. I didn't put shoes on to just see what would happen.

If one is winning GP tests barefooted, there's no reason to shoe; if not, there may be. It depends on one's goals, but personal prejudice should never be used as an excuse for failure: Whatever the discipline, in terms of a horse's hooves, either the horse gets whatever it needs to do whatever it does as best it can be done - or, it doesn't.

whbar158
Mar. 15, 2010, 09:16 AM
I would think if the horse moves freely and without pain then adding shoes is NOT going to improve their gaits. If they are hesitant and short then shoeing might help them reach out and not worry about if it will hurt. My horse can not handle barefoot, way too painful for him to make the transition for all 4 feet. That does not mean that one day he could get use to it, but we are not talking just a little ouchy this was not moving one step more than he had to on extremely soft footing.

I would think that often dressage horses are kept shod for several reasons, they are often ridden in rings the most and may wear they hooves down faster than they can grow. Also when you show you may meet less than ideal footing and it sucks to go to a show and have your horse not perform well because the footing is different from what they are use to. Of course there are people who just do it to do it.

Also for a dressage horse I would do all the way around not just fronts, many horses I have seen move better with all 4 than just fronts. Personally I would leave your horse bare if it doesn't have any problems and moves out well without because shoes are only going to help if they are sore from being bare.

Perfect Pony
Mar. 15, 2010, 12:55 PM
Just about everyone I know who competes falls into the category of "I've tried barefoot, my horse can't hold up to it" or "my horse does way better with shoes on". This has been my own experience as well. None of mine wears shoes if they don't need them and I try to pull them at least 4-5 months out of the year. But when and if that doesn't work out, on they go again. Haven't had one yet that does better without shoes than with them.

I agree with this 100%.

I would also like to add to this discussion how saddened I am by the number of lame horses at the barn I ride at, many of which IMO are caused by people forcing their horses to go barefoot and do dressage work. There are a growing number of people who have decided that barefoot is always best, and I cringe watching these poor creatures with their clueless owners who work their resistant (and clearly most likely incredibly foot sore) horses day after day, refusing to even consider shoes.

Oakstable
Mar. 15, 2010, 01:57 PM
I had front shoes put on this morning.

We have a dressage lesson this afternoon.,

Will let you know what the trainer thinks.

It was $80 for a full trim and half shoes.

kkindley
Mar. 15, 2010, 07:59 PM
I just put front shoes on my mare. I'm training her for eventing so at this point we are doing a lot of dressage work. She was barefoot for 5 years when i got her and just turned out in a field. Her feet looked great besides needing a little cleaning up. I started riding her after her first trim and she made it 3 and a half weeks before I decided to put shoes on her. She was a very nice mover barefoot but we have a long gravel driveway that she was getting ouchy walking up and I could tell when she hit a rock in the ring. I had planned to keep her barefoot for as long as possible and I could have probably done it. I decided I didn't want to worry about her stepping on stones and taking a lame step or two. I rode her right after she got her front shoes and I was blown away by the change. Her lovely walk turned into this huge swinging walk, her floaty trot turned into this big, free, gorgeous trot. I can't judge her canter yet cause we don't have on yet :D So glad I put them on. I know once summer comes and I'm working her harder, she's getting hind shoes as well. It won't hurt to try them and if no change, you can always pull them.

Guilherme
Mar. 15, 2010, 08:53 PM
Do horses move better with front shoes? I have a horse who is barefoot. Incredibly nice quality feet.

If I put shoes on the front, would he move any differently?

We're going to a show soon.

The art of the farrier is in the trim.

Then in applying a shoe to protect the trim, if required.

In theory just adding a standard shoe should be "transparent" as far as gait is concerned. If it's not then then that would suggest to me a problem with the horse.

G.

WarHorse
Mar. 15, 2010, 08:56 PM
My question was going to be "Why make a change this close to the test?"

katarine
Mar. 15, 2010, 09:34 PM
The owner should do what the horse needs. In tinkering with my TWH we never went bare as I ride too much, on terrible ground, LOL, and my arena is 1/4 by fine gravel. His hinds are bare and never need more than the wisp of a rasp. No way I'd maintain him bare on the fores= he'd wear those feet to nothing. Same for my SSH filly- raised her, started her bare, rode her bare for a bit, but wasn't sure if she was being lazy or tender. On went the fores. Bing went the lightbulb, let's go. She too never needs more than a titch of a rasp on the hinds.

Do what suits the horse. Slapping keg shoes on two days before the show is a big so what. We aren't talking about plantation shoes, folks.

2ndyrgal
Mar. 15, 2010, 09:57 PM
He has fabulous feet, I shod him for purely cosmetic reasons before a show. He went like a cart horse, knocked the hell out of himself and on day 3, I found him in his stall, intentionally standing on a front shoe and trying his best to pull it off.

I took them off, have a great farrier (who says he sees no reason for my horse to ever wear shoes) and haven't looked back. That was 5 years ago, he gets a trim every 6 weeks like clockwork, and is in good work doing dressage.

If he ever gets to GP, it will be barefoot, if he doesn't, it damn sure won't be because he wasn't shod.

slp2
Mar. 15, 2010, 10:10 PM
If your horse is footsore (which is something a vet can test for) than they will probably be more comfortable with shoes. It won't necessarily "change" their movement, but they probably will slow their tempo a bit and may allow for some suspension if they did not want to take their feet too far off the ground. If anyone has ever ridden their horse on some of that amazing rubberized footing, and felt their horse "float" on it, than its proof that lack of pain in the feet can have an effect. I have a tb with very good quality feet, but she events for a living. She is ridden in sand arenas, gravel roads, fields, and sometimes I need to add studs for traction on x-c. I would love to have her barefoot, but she would probably wear down her feet quicker than they grow (my farrier always mentions how much she wears down her hind shoes during the summer months). Her hocks also get more sore when I take off her hind shoes. Once they are back on, it's almost like she had her hocks injected. I have a new youngster that I bought who never had shoes on before. She moved like she was footsore (quick and choppy). Sure enough, during the PPE, the vet said she reactive to the hoof testers. And the vet said she had good quality feet. I put front shoes on her and lo and behold, she now is slowing her tempo - not pitter pattering away at 90 beats per minute. Sorry--I just don't think that could've been addressed with a "fantastic trim".

LarkspurCO
Mar. 16, 2010, 01:23 AM
" horses with good feet. Now, just to play devil's advocate, how do you know these horses would not have moved better with shoes?"
Dunno-- How do I know they wouldn't have done better with this supplement, that saddle, that bit, this training regimine. I guess that's what it's all about. We can spend a lot of our time playing "what if." If I were at the top of the world and had a lot of money, I guess I could do that. We all make choices in how we do things.

Well you said you'd never shod them so you have no idea if the shoeing would have helped their dressage gaits. That is the point of the point of the thread here.



Buuuut, JUST to play devil's advocate, how do you know YOUR horse wouldn't do better without shoes?

Eeeesy. Because I have tried them all barefoot. All of them have been much improved with shoes. However, only one is shod right now because he's the only one who really needs them for the work he is doing.


I CAN'T remember any names of international barefoot horses. I know there are because I remember seeing it in some magazine. People in here are way better at this stuff and remembering than I am. I'm really bad with names.

I just asked for names because I would like to know. I hear this claim often enough yet I have never seen any evidence of a grand prix horse competing internationally barefoot. If you're making the claim it's up to you to back it up.:)


The links I supplied I don't know and didn't look at. I just did a quick Google search. The one about Emma Hindle I just looked at now quickly--2 horses winning at a CDIO in Saumur.

Hot air or a passing fancy, as far as I can tell. Videos and photos of Emma Hindle show her riding shod horses. For example, last fall on Lancet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGw8Sk4YZjI

Mozart
Mar. 16, 2010, 10:45 AM
Emma Hindle of the British team apparently lets her horses go barefoot unless she is competing at a team event.

How do I know this? Trying to remember...I think I heard this from an FEI dressage judge (Cara Whitham) commenting on the Beijing Games.

If you have a show coming up I might not want to make a change too close in advance. However, I think it is worth experimenting with in the future.

I think, until you get to FEI levels, horses will score better based on their training, suppleness and submission than on a little extra animation.

Oakstable
Mar. 16, 2010, 11:56 AM
Well.
I had the shoes put on. My trainer said she never rides her horses at home right after a shoeing but her footing is really rocky.
So we went ahead with a lesson the same day as his first shoeing.

It went very well. I thot the horse showed more air time but he was being ridden in a lesson. So it may have been how he was being ridden.

The rider doesn't think shoes would make a difference.

Unfortunately I ruined the video of the lesson.

But he was not sore at all and performed very well. (Good farrier, yeah!)

katarine
Mar. 16, 2010, 12:00 PM
There are some really weird ideas out there.

Shoes are custom fit to the horse and there's no reason that a sound horse won't walk off and work sound on a good shoeing job with plain old keg shoes, flat shoes, boring old normal horse shoes.

Why on earth would a sound horse, with a good shoeing job, need time to adjust?

CosMonster
Mar. 16, 2010, 12:09 PM
I agree with Katarine. Adding flat shoes, if done well, really shouldn't be a big deal at all. I guess one caveat would be that if the horse is being ridden over very rough terrain (like, where I live in the Rocky Mountains), I've seen some horses who are shod for the very first time be a little more hesitant until they get used to the different feel of the shoe on rock, but they get used to it very quickly and you have to ride them to get them over it anyway.

Oakstable, keep us updated on how your horse does when he's at home. It sounds like the shoes may have been something he needed, but there's definitely that lesson factor--they always seem to go better when the instructor is yelling at you to ride better. :lol:

deltawave
Mar. 16, 2010, 12:22 PM
Time to adjust, minimal to none. Time to notice a difference in gaits might take a little longer. IMO. :)

Mozart
Mar. 16, 2010, 12:38 PM
Why on earth would a sound horse, with a good shoeing job, need time to adjust?

Can't speak for others but I was thinking more of the risk of a close nail. Shoe can be taken off and reset of course but horse might still be ouchy from the close nail.

My thinking tends to be, if all is going well, don't rock the boat just before a show. But as always, YMMV :)

katarine
Mar. 16, 2010, 01:19 PM
Can't speak for others but I was thinking more of the risk of a close nail. Shoe can be taken off and reset of course but horse might still be ouchy from the close nail.

My thinking tends to be, if all is going well, don't rock the boat just before a show. But as always, YMMV :)

note I said good shoeing job. Close nail does not equal good shoeing job. Do they happen to good farriers? Yep. Would they say THAT was a good job? Nope.

Mozart
Mar. 16, 2010, 02:59 PM
Sure, I agree that a close nail does not constitute a good shoeing job. I also agree that close nails can happen to good farriers. Therefore, regardless of how good your farrier is, there is a slight risk. It is not a risk I would take with a show 6 days away when the horse is fine sans shoes.

Regardless, the deed is done and no such mishap occurred...so it is a moot point! Good luck with your show Oakstable!

ThirdCharm
Mar. 16, 2010, 04:43 PM
I have never put back shoes on a horse and NOT seen an improvement in movement.

I have a young stallion with wonderful feet. Sound u/s w/t/c. Put shoes on him and big improvement in movement (more support = increased 'carrying' ability behind).

Jennifer

Tif_Ann
Mar. 16, 2010, 05:25 PM
All other things aside - it seems you want shoes to add animation/suspension? That comes from training the horse to use his body right, not shoes. All I can think is you are thinking of some training methods of putting weighted shoes on horses that need a lot of animation and then removing them to show, so they are lighter? Not necessarily recommended either.

Shoes should be a "as needed" thing, in my opinion. I have a QH with a thin sole that bruises standing in pasture, and he's only a trail horse, and he gets shoes. Meanwhile, my dressage horse, who is showing First this year, schooling Second and Third, is a mustang and has mule feet, and definitely doesn't need shoes. I'm not about to put shoes on him without a physical reason for them!

matryoshka
Mar. 16, 2010, 10:54 PM
There are some really weird ideas out there.

Shoes are custom fit to the horse and there's no reason that a sound horse won't walk off and work sound on a good shoeing job with plain old keg shoes, flat shoes, boring old normal horse shoes.

Why on earth would a sound horse, with a good shoeing job, need time to adjust?Ask the race horse people. Some are sore for days after a reset every time. Not all racehorses, or even most--enough to make me advise clients to shoe either a week in advance or the day of a competition.

Hampton Bay
Mar. 17, 2010, 12:00 AM
Animation and suspension are not necessarily improved only through training. Some horses will appear sound in their work, but maybe less-than-ideal gait-wise. As in just not fancy movers. But if they are just slightly uncomfortable barefoot, they may be protecting themselves and not moving to their full potential. So putting shoes on in those cases will improve the movement by making the horse more comfortable, even though it was not obvious that the horse was uncomfortable to begin with.

deltawave
Mar. 17, 2010, 12:14 AM
But if they are just slightly uncomfortable barefoot, they may be protecting themselves and not moving to their full potential. So putting shoes on in those cases will improve the movement by making the horse more comfortable, even though it was not obvious that the horse was uncomfortable to begin with.

This is what I'm forced to conclude with my young mare. She's not a great mover no matter what, but she is better with shoes than without UNLESS we get the opportunity to ride on one of those amazing rubber-synthetic surfaces. Which we do not, except on rare occasions. So for the other 249 out of 250 days of her "working year" (I do pull shoes in the winter if she's not working much) the shoes go on, and she's presumably that much more comfortable and happy to move out to her full (even if unspectacular) potential. :)

katarine
Mar. 17, 2010, 09:17 AM
Ask the race horse people. Some are sore for days after a reset every time. Not all racehorses, or even most--enough to make me advise clients to shoe either a week in advance or the day of a competition.

As often as those critters are redone and worked over, and running full out- I don't consider that an apples to apples with a dressage horse done every 5-6 weeks and never/rarely let out of a hand gallop, if that LOL

matryoshka
Mar. 17, 2010, 05:44 PM
As often as those critters are redone and worked over, and running full out- I don't consider that an apples to apples with a dressage horse done every 5-6 weeks and never/rarely let out of a hand gallop, if that LOLWell, now that I've seen horses who are sore for days after every shoeing, I can't say it doesn't happen. Apples or oranges, TB's or warmbloods.

I still think it is sensible to shoe at least a week in advance of a planned competition. I've gotta speak from what I've seen.

Dressage Art
Mar. 18, 2010, 04:48 PM
"I don't think you'll find many barefooted Grand Prix dressage horses."

Ditto.

As unfortunate it is, but true, most of FEI dressage horses are shod with shoes with rubber pads and many also get bar shoes as well.

I wish it wouldn't be the case, since i love to keep my horses barefoot, but the dressage footing at times is not as deep as Western or jumper footing and also some footing really works as a sand paper on barefoot horses.

I kept my mare with out shoes until 2nd level and then she got diagnosed with mild navicular on her one front leg only. Put bar shoes with rubber pads and she never took a lame step in them and trained till PSG

grayarabs
Mar. 20, 2010, 04:31 PM
I was looking at photos of the Welsh Cob stallion "Cardi" in CoTh mag and it looks like he is barefoot. He is doing quite well at Int-1 - IIRC competed DAD. I cannot swear he is bare. If wearing shoes I could not see them in the photos.

whbar158
Mar. 20, 2010, 04:50 PM
If your horse is sore for days after being shod without a good reason (ie a hot nail) then your farrier is not a good one. It is not normal for them to be sore, yes I have known horses that were sore after being shod but one look at their feet and you know why.

yellowbritches
Mar. 20, 2010, 06:12 PM
Ask the race horse people. Some are sore for days after a reset every time. Not all racehorses, or even most--enough to make me advise clients to shoe either a week in advance or the day of a competition.
Some of the worst shoeing I've seen has been from racetrack farriers. I'm sure that's not true of all racetrack farriers and definitely not of the ones who shoe the high dollar runners, but most of the horses I've seen come off the track (and various tracks, not just one in particular), have been horribly trimmed and shod. No wonder they are sore for days.

If a horse is sore AT ALL after being shod (or trimmed), it is not a good job.

katie+tru
Mar. 20, 2010, 08:03 PM
My horse has always had really good feet and for that reason I kept and showed him barefoot for the first couple years I had him. Pony Cub and mini trials didn't really require fancy stuff, so I didn't bother. However, as we trained more at home I decided shoes were worth it strictly because he moved better. I mean, he moves fine without them... he doesn't get sensitive, he just doesn't "go" the same. So I'm all for shoes for movement's sake. If you want to save money/his feet, let him go barefoot in the winter.

Fairview Horse Center
Mar. 20, 2010, 08:55 PM
In general, a shoe will exaggerate the movement. When we had 2 mares shipped in from Europe, I was surprised to find how heavy those shoes were - MUCH heavier than ours. Today with the Walking horse type exaggeration popular in dressage, the shoes will add to that swing.

We have had 3 horses though that you have to be VERY careful not to put ANY shoe pressure on the edge of their soles, or they will move like cart horses. They hurt.

Belle12
Mar. 20, 2010, 11:28 PM
Oh, I know of a couple more barefoot winning FEI horses:

USDF All Breeds Lipizzan, Reserve Champion, Intermediate I:
Maestoso Glena

USDF All Breeds Arabian, Champion, Grand Prix and Intermediate II:
MSU Majic J

Barefoot is just a "new" thing, as far as being a high performance option, and dressage is a sport steeped in tradition. Look how hard it seems to be to convince those folks to wear helmets! It might be a long time before those at the top give up their traditional footwear (and headwear).

Tom Stovall
Mar. 21, 2010, 07:56 AM
Belle12 in gray

Oh, I know of a couple more barefoot winning FEI horses:

USDF All Breeds Lipizzan, Reserve Champion, Intermediate I:
Maestoso Glena

USDF All Breeds Arabian, Champion, Grand Prix and Intermediate II:
MSU Majic J

If the performance of a few barefooted individuals is meaningful, how meaningful are the performances of those individuals that are shod? There is no FEI or USDF requirement for shoes.

Barefoot is just a "new" thing, as far as being a high performance option,

A bare foot is neither a "new, nor a "high performance" option for a dressage horse, it's just an option - and the higher the level, the greater the probability of a bare hoof's being a poor choice. While a few barefooted horses are able to perform at high levels, it appears the majority need all the mechanical help they can get in order to perform as best they can within the dictates of dressage's criteria. Realistically, dressage is not about biomechanical efficiency, it's about meeting artificial criteria.

and dressage is a sport steeped in tradition.

The subjective criteria of dressage is weighted toward exaggerated movement; shoes, especially relatively heavy shoes, exaggerate movement - and the swing phase of movement at any gait is a study in inertia.

Look how hard it seems to be to convince those folks to wear helmets!

Human headgear and equid footgear; apples and oranges.

It might be a long time before those at the top give up their traditional footwear (and headwear).

Given dressage's criteria, there will probably be a new crop at the top if those there now decide their horses are immune to Newtonian physics. :)

grayarabpony
Mar. 21, 2010, 10:08 AM
Picking the feet up higher does not equal self-carriage. Reasons to shoe for dressage basically are: if the footing in the warm-up arena sucks (which it sometimes really does), the arena itself is very hard, or for therapeutic reasons for the horse.

Hampton Bay
Mar. 21, 2010, 10:29 AM
The problem is that in COMPETITIVE dressage, self-carriage alone doesn't get you the scores. The horse has to be a very fancy mover. If just going correctly was the requirement, then far fewer horses would be shod.

But look at the scores Totilas is getting. It's not because he moves correctly, it's because he gets those front legs up very high when he does move.

My mare carries herself very well. She's getting shod soon because she's not flashy, and as a 6 mover, it's hard to get the 60% score without doing everything under the sun to make sure the horse is moving as extravigantly as they possibly can. Because the score you get for each movement is based on the "quality" of the gaits, with a bit of leeway up or down for a well-done movement or a poorly-done movement. "Quality" no longer means purity, it means flashiness.

Dressageforjuniors
Mar. 21, 2010, 11:23 AM
I have an older FEI Schoolmaster and he has been without shoes for almost a couple of years. I did this way before I sent him in partial retirement.(I still ride him). He moves better than ever! He feels stronger, his feet are trimmed on a regular basis and is sound.

Don't make any changes if you don't have to, is my motto.

Colleen
Dressageforjuniors.com

Oakstable
Mar. 21, 2010, 11:37 AM
My horse is a 7 mover.

We're showing later this morning.

I think he moved better in his lesson on Monday. The rider seems to get charged by competition so I expect they will do well.

His canter is nice. His trot was a little too flat. I think the rider can get more air time and maybe the shoes have nothing to do with it.

I just wanted to experiment.

Fairview Horse Center
Mar. 21, 2010, 11:40 AM
Shoes also give them confidence to take that bigger, bolder step as they know they are not going to step down on something that may hurt.

Dressage Art
Mar. 21, 2010, 04:26 PM
Barefoot in dressage is not a "new thing" I've known dressage riders from 30 years ago who always tryed to save $ on not shoeing their horses.

Some horses can go barefoot and not wear off/crack their hoofs. But if horse has cracks and wears off their hoofs = they do need shoes.

According to the new study, about 40% of horses have some navicular issues in their front legs those results in the sour soles or sour feet. It just takes about $2K+ to diagnose it and the best equipment, so majority of navicular problems don't get diagnosed, but called “floating lameness". Those horses also do need shoes with rubber padding to lessen the concussion impact.

And the older the horse = the more support it needs.

Also good ferrier makes all the difference.