View Full Version : Barefoot behind, footing question

Nov. 1, 2011, 10:31 AM
I keep my horses barefoot behind when I can. They only jump 2'9" at most (mod adult hunters) and do fine at home and at shows. My arena is fairly hard compared to others in the area. It is a hard packed clay base with a mix of granite sand and compost on top. I am encouraging it to go to grass.

Anyway, I took one to a show on Sat, and by the end of the day the sand arena that he showed in had some fairly deep spots. I felt like we were cantering underwater! He made the distances but I could not feel like he was going anywhere and we had a lot of close distances.

My question is to other people who show barefoot behind -- do you think soft footing is made worse by being barefoot behind? Do back shoes make a difference in different footings? You would think shoes would be a traction issue, not a deep/hard footing issue.....am I just being a footing wuss?

Nov. 1, 2011, 12:31 PM
My horse has been barefoot behind for almost 2 years now. We do the 3'6" hunters and are moving up to 4' next year. At home, our outdoor is a gravel dust arena - so pretty packed. Our indoor is a red clay/sand mixture. The top layer is very fine and the under is VERY hard/packed.

We show a variety of locations with a wide range of footing. To be honest, I've never noticed any difference that made me think "Hmm .. maybe I should have back shoes on". In fact, I pretty much forget that I don't have back shoes except when it comes to write my farrier a check =]

My guess is that had you had shoes on, you would've felt the same "underwater" feeling. You're not being a footing wuss, just doubting your decision!

Nov. 1, 2011, 01:21 PM
I have my jumper barefoot completely, and we've not had any issues with different footings at different show grounds. Maybe it was just THAT arena and THAT footing. Not sure shoes would have made a difference.

Nov. 1, 2011, 02:54 PM
Last year I boarded at a barn with fairly deep/soft footing and I can relate to the 'not going anywhere' feeling. My horse also began to struggle with his left canter lead, so in the interest of comfort/traction I put hind shoes on him--first time I've ever had a horse with shoes all the way around. It made a significant and immediate difference.....he felt a lot more confident as to where he was putting his feet etc. He has had the back shoes ever since.

Nov. 1, 2011, 03:07 PM
My barefoot horse used to seem like he had a harder time getting through deeper footing, but truthfully I think it was a lack of fitness/weak stifle issue, not a barefoot thing. I recently moved to a place with a deeper arena as well as some trails with deeper sand, and within about a month my horse was handling it perfectly.

Nov. 2, 2011, 10:47 AM
Being barefoot (behind or all round) will give you some advantages, and some disadvantages. Sometimes, if the footing is a "certain way", shoes may have helped on that day. Sometimes not, and they would not have made a difference. It is not a question that can be answered for all horses, in all footing possibilites, in a blanket statement. As a rider, with the horse you have, and the conditions you expect to meet in competition, you have to make the decision which option you are going to take, shod or not. If, when at the show, you find problems with being barefoot behind, and if there is a farrier present, you can try the other option fairly easily.