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View Full Version : When to put hind shoes on...?



Boomer
Jul. 20, 2010, 02:49 PM
Last weekend I was at my trainer's and she thought I should consider adding hind shoes now that my gelding is working with more collection at 2nd Level (3rd next year!).

He has had fronts only for several years.

Is there a "time" to add shoes based on work level? Or just if your horse's feet are not holding up to the work barefoot? Will hinds give him more support?

Eclectic Horseman
Jul. 20, 2010, 02:57 PM
I agree with your trainer that as a general rule this is the right time.

Think about it--you are now asking your horse to rebalance toward the hind legs and carry more weight back there. Not fair if he does not have as much confidence with his hind feet.

Additionally, we like to see the hind foot stride match that of the front foot in articulation, elevation and reach. Again the disparity in weight and protection with and without hind shoes makes it more difficult for most horses.

not again
Jul. 20, 2010, 03:08 PM
We seldom put hind shoes on our dressage horses, even at the grand prix level. The event horses and jumpers get four shoes, drilled and tapped, until they get a break from competition when their hind shoes are pulled. In our view hind shoes are a necessary evil, so if you horse grows a good foot and needs trimming, doesn't wear to nubs, then go with what is working.

EqTrainer
Jul. 20, 2010, 03:09 PM
There is a lot that goes into this decision IMO. I'd talk to your farrier about it. Added collection really has little to do with the need for hind shoes. Need for shoeing has more to do with protection and concussion issues. Since shoeing is not without its own inherent issues, the big one for me being that four shoes versus two gives my horse even more potential to pull one off :lol:

Boomer
Jul. 20, 2010, 03:44 PM
Thanks for the input. My farrier will be out this week to work on my boarder's draftie (feel bad for him to lift those honkin' feet in this heat!), so I'll talk to him about it.

My gelding's going well - we've just moved up to 2nd this spring and have gotten good scores. I've got a show coming up in 5 weeks, so I'll hold off making any changes until after that.

angel
Jul. 20, 2010, 04:01 PM
You should not put hind shoes on your horse if he gets turned out with any other horses. The risk to those horses if he should kick them is much more serious if he has shoes on.

n2dressage
Jul. 21, 2010, 02:39 AM
My 2nd/3rd level horse got hind shoes after several years without them and he was much happier and easier in the collection even though he had excellent feet and was not sore at all.

Boomer
Jul. 21, 2010, 08:10 AM
Hinds may be a mute point now. Planned to ride last night and my boy was lame. Looks like left stifle :no:

Kept him in the barn with a buddy but he proceded to do wheelies, trash his stall, and scream all night. This morning he charged the poopie cart, knocking it over and getting out of his stall. He'd been bucking in his stall when I got up there so I shut the barn gates incase he got out, well... he didn't realize one was closed and crashed it. The latch failed and off he galloped into the dark. :no:

Last time he was on stall rest was nearly 9 years ago when he was 4 months old, so keeping him up will be a nightmare.

Thanks for the shoe help tho - hope I can use the advise in the future.

Perfect Pony
Jul. 21, 2010, 10:10 AM
This is just me, from my experience with my own horses, and watching many horses over the years.

I put hind shoes on a horse when I put front shoes on. I am an all or nothing person when a horse is truly in dressage or jumping work. I totally don't believe in just front shoes for a horse that is being asked to do what is un-natural, and move the weight more to the hind end.

My recommendation for anyone contemplating fronts only, is to put hinds on for a couple months, and evaluate the horse with and without hind shoes before just assuming the horse is fine without them.

Perfect Pony
Jul. 21, 2010, 10:13 AM
My 2nd/3rd level horse got hind shoes after several years without them and he was much happier and easier in the collection even though he had excellent feet and was not sore at all.

Funny, I didn't see this before my post. This is nearly always the case. Soreness can manifest itself in different ways. A horse does not have to be sore with hoof testers to be uncomfortable in the work we are asking them to do with bare feet. Nearly every horse I have put hind shoes on had radical improvement in every aspect of their work. You could practically feel them breathe a sign of relief when asked to go forward and round after the shoes were put on.

katarine
Jul. 21, 2010, 10:16 AM
What PP said.

If the horse isn't asked to do much but be a horse and go trail riding, fores only may be fine. If we're working, though- I'm going to put 4 on and try them a while, at least two sets, before I say ok they don't seem to matter, let's go back to fores only.

This is a philosophical change for me as I used to be happy with fores only on some of mine that seemed to be fine w/ that... but I've had some horses change my mind over time...

Zevida
Jul. 21, 2010, 10:25 AM
Good timing on this thread. I just went through this with my horse. He turned 8 in June and we are at Third Level and starting to school pirouette canter more. My trainer and the head trainer at the farm noticed that as I was asking my horse to take more weight behind, his hind hooves would slip every now and again. They thought it was time to put the hind shoes on him now to give him something more stable to push against. And, it means his hocks and stifles won't have to work as hard.

He got the shoes on last week and my feel from the saddle is not refined enough to notice the difference, but my trainer was really pleased with how he was using himself with the hind shoes on now.

Boomer
Jul. 21, 2010, 11:17 AM
Hmm... maybe my boy has been developing a stifle issue and shoes would have helped.

Lately he's been very oral under saddle - tongue coming out and he hasn't been getting the trot lengthings like he was a few months ago. Coming back from the canter lengthenings has been harder...

crap, maybe he was telling me "I need hind shoes" and I just didn't get it. Maybe I'm just frustrated to have him going so well for so long and now not.

Argh....

EqTrainer
Jul. 21, 2010, 12:39 PM
I am curious to hear exactly what people think putting shoes on their horse did for them that changed the way they went. Traction? protection? I have a horse who only wears front shoes because hind shoes change his way of going over the trim cycle to the point that it aggravates an old injury. I have another who need them, for exactly the reason the other one cannot wear them. It's interesting.

EqTrainer
Jul. 21, 2010, 12:40 PM
Boomer, it's highly unlikely your horse injured his stifle because he did not have shoes on. Give yourself a break... Horses are usually determined to hurt themselves no matter what we do.. Or don't do.

Perfect Pony
Jul. 21, 2010, 12:47 PM
I am curious to hear exactly what people think putting shoes on their horse did for them that changed the way they went. Traction? protection? I have a horse who only wears front shoes because hind shoes change his way of going over the trim cycle to the point that it aggravates an old injury. I have another who need them, for exactly the reason the other one cannot wear them. It's interesting.

Just a couple weeks ago I had a mare on trial that had front on only. She had a couple problems that needed addressing (like her teeth) but she was quite unbalanced and on her forehand at the trot, and really unbalanced at the canter. She had a sore back as well. After putting on hind shoes, the first ride after she had a much more balanced trot in both directions, had an excellent left lead canter, and her right lead canter which was nearly impossible to ride was ridable. Within two weeks the improvement in her balance, rhythm and topline was remarkable.

I would love to attribute the entire thing to my riding <grin> but a lot of it IMO was putting a set of shoes all the way around.

Perfect Pony
Jul. 21, 2010, 12:50 PM
Oh and to answer your question about what exactly it does, well truthfully I don't know. My theory is it gives them a little more traction and protection, but I also think some horses also respond to the weight balance and "feel" of having shoes on all 4.

Unfortunately horses cannot talk and tell us.

Equibrit
Jul. 21, 2010, 12:55 PM
You should not put hind shoes on your horse if he gets turned out with any other horses. The risk to those horses if he should kick them is much more serious if he has shoes on.

Oh - for heaven's sake !
You'd better take his teeth out too - just in case he wants to bite those other horses.

EqTrainer
Jul. 21, 2010, 12:56 PM
Maybe her feet were sore.... If her teeth were not done and her back were sore and someone sent her on trial (??!!!) it would stand to reason that they wouldn't have noticed/cared that her feet were sore, too...

I pull off so many back shoes on lame horses and have them be so much sounder after they are balanced but still barefoot that I have to try to see it from all sides.

I don't think a horse feels unbalanced longitudinally with only front shoes. It's a negligible difference in foot height and they grow accustomed to the weight quickly.... Adding back shoes (for the sake of this example) only adds more weight, no inherent advantage there..

It's an interesting subject. I think it's easy to get into a habit of shoeing all four feet and not thinking about why.

Equibrit
Jul. 21, 2010, 01:00 PM
Just look at the way your horse wears his rear feet. If he tends to wear one side (medial/lateral) more than the other it may be wise to shoe him.

dwblover
Jul. 21, 2010, 01:01 PM
I find this an interesting discussion as well. My OTTB cannot wear hind shoes whatsoever. We tried several different kinds and they all aggravated his sticky stifle. Barefoot with a very short toe behind keeps him slip-free and happy, so he won't be able to wear shoes. He is progressing up the levels nicely without them, very happy to take weight behind and tons of power.

Valentina_32926
Jul. 21, 2010, 02:10 PM
My mare is showing Third schooling PSG and does NOT have hind shoes. She doesn't need them.

Not every horse does. IS he going well? Are his hind feet breaking up? I think the answers to those questions will anser your initial question. :cool:

not again
Jul. 21, 2010, 02:15 PM
When moving up the levels to FEI it is important of remember and gripping action that hind shoes provide can irritate the hocks and stifles. The hock joins generally fuse from 8-12 years so avoiding extra stress during that period can keep the horse more comfortable. A good joint supplement may be more beneficial than hind shoes.

Perfect Pony
Jul. 21, 2010, 02:31 PM
Maybe her feet were sore.... If her teeth were not done and her back were sore and someone sent her on trial (??!!!) it would stand to reason that they wouldn't have noticed/cared that her feet were sore, too...

No I agree, but according to the farrier who did the shoes she was not "sore" in the traditional sense (that is, with hoof testers, and she did not walk or trot like a lame/sore horse behind at all). Like I said in a another thread absence of lameness does not equal soundness. In the same vein, absence of OBVIOUS foot soreness does not necessarily mean they are not uncomfortable. This mare was sore all over, but the hind shoes, before I had her teeth done, made a huge difference.

Like many have said, some horses go as well or better without them. But IMO I like to try several things and take a bit of a scientific approach on what works with a particular horses, before assuming that all is fine. With my own mare I played around with barefoot, half shoeing and full shoeing to see what worked best, and I will probably do that for any horse I have.

Eclectic Horseman
Jul. 21, 2010, 02:44 PM
Like many "shoe or not to shoe" questions, I think the answers really also vary depending on where you live and the terrain that the horse will be walking on both in the arena and in turnout.

Here in MA we have very rocky terrain--in some places more than others. Even if a horse is not currently bruised or hoof sore, he may be more careful and less confident to put his full weight (and that of a rider) on an unshod hoof here. I've noticed that even Morgans and Appys and other horses known for their hard hooves can be very careful if they are not confident in their footing. They will be less forward (although may be "quick" and short strided) and may think too much about where they are placing their feet and not have an immediate response to the aids. You can tell a lot about your terrain when you go for a walk outside the arena--if the horse constantly tries to walk on the grassy shoulder of the trail even when he risks being wacked with tree limbs--he probably needs shoes.

Obviously, if the horse only goes from the stall to the arena, the terrain is not a concern.

katarine
Jul. 21, 2010, 02:53 PM
traction and stability would be my answer to why?

My 5 YO SSH has been in fores only since age 2. Last month we went to TN to trail ride and those trails required hinds. She got them 2 wks pre trip. Week one she was unsure about the change in her foot weight/how she landed- week two she was fully adjusted. We kept her in all fours b/c I can feel her striding better, more fully, more confidently. Is it the added fitness of TN mtns? Maybe. Is it shoes? Maybe. She'll stay in them til it's cool enough to really ride her more,and see if she stays the same, when I drop her back to fores only, late this Fall. It's an experiment. But I can say I'm happy with the changes in how she hits the ground, and I wasn't unhappy with how she hit it before.

GreekDressageQueen
Jul. 21, 2010, 03:06 PM
The hock joins generally fuse from 8-12 years so avoiding extra stress during that period can keep the horse more comfortable. A good joint supplement may be more beneficial than hind shoes.

I think what you meant to say is some horses (especially drafts) develop occult spavin, which affects the lower section of the hock (not the actual joint capsule) and the laying down of new bone will eventually cause that lower portion of the hock to fuse. If the upper part of the hock joint - the true joint - were to fuse in every horse from 8-12 years - we all would be in a LOT of trouble. :lol:

And actually, stress will make the bones fuse faster, which is what you want. Thus decreasing pain and inflammation and possible lameness. This is why many vets encourage you to NOT give NSAIDS for this condition and let the horse work through the discomfort so the bones fuse faster.

Eclectic Horseman
Jul. 21, 2010, 03:16 PM
I
And actually, stress will make the bones fuse faster, which is what you want. Thus decreasing pain and inflammation and possible lameness. This is why many vets encourage you to NOT give NSAIDS for this condition and let the horse work through the discomfort so the bones fuse faster.

Not to hijack, but it seems that the more modern veterinary view is that such a clean fusion is wishful thinking in most cases. :cry:

Boomer
Jul. 21, 2010, 04:14 PM
Boomer, it's highly unlikely your horse injured his stifle because he did not have shoes on. Give yourself a break... Horses are usually determined to hurt themselves no matter what we do.. Or don't do.

Thanks, I needed that! I'm just tired and frustrated to *finally* have a really nice horse - a horse I could never afford to go out and buy - that was a good match for me, that I bred and raised, with so much potential.....now lame.

I should add that his teeth were done in May - since I had made reference to that in a previous post. Reading this sentance I'm thinking what the hell does teeth have to do with his hind end?

My animals have all apparently been to the same meeting on how to make the human crazy. My farm dogs barked on and off all night, and the kittens dumped over two plants last night. Maybe it was something in the air ;)

goeslikestink
Jul. 21, 2010, 04:43 PM
You should not put hind shoes on your horse if he gets turned out with any other horses. The risk to those horses if he should kick them is much more serious if he has shoes on.

beter tell most of uk then not to do that as most have shoes on when turned out

goeslikestink
Jul. 21, 2010, 04:44 PM
I agree with your trainer that as a general rule this is the right time.

Think about it--you are now asking your horse to rebalance toward the hind legs and carry more weight back there. Not fair if he does not have as much confidence with his hind feet.

Additionally, we like to see the hind foot stride match that of the front foot in articulation, elevation and reach. Again the disparity in weight and protection with and without hind shoes makes it more difficult for most horses.

echo

patch work farm
Jul. 22, 2010, 12:51 AM
In my opinion, each horse is different. Years ago, I would pull hind shoes for the winter, then I did it only based on what each horse seemed to need. I have put hind shoes on 3 years olds that had a tough time keeping their balance in the canter and needed that extra support. That said, I currently have a horse with no shoes on, she is incredibly well balanced and when I did put shoes on her, my farrier thought I was crazy. He thinks she has the best feet of any of mine-all 4 are white! So, when the ground was soft, I pulled her shoes and didn't put them back on. I watch her hooves like a hawk because I used to think my ring was abrasive, I guess adding the rubber helped because she is fine. Some of them need them all the way around, others again, IMHO don't need them.

Merle
Jul. 22, 2010, 09:44 AM
I had fronts only on my OTTB who was doing fine but we were asking more from him so my trainer suggested putting hinds on as well. The difference was amazing. His canter had the biggest difference. It was so much more powerful and round since he pushed much much more from behind. His trot was much freer and again, he pushed much more from behind. I'm a big believer that all 4 shoes really do help in some cases. I have a warmblood now who is barefoot and she'll most likely never get shoes on, unless we need them for studs.

Zevida
Jul. 22, 2010, 01:59 PM
beter tell most of uk then not to do that as most have shoes on when turned out

Most of the US does too, but you will find an occasional barn that won't turn a horse out with others if they have hind shoes.