My horse has neurological issues that requires him to be tranquilized to be shod behind. Generally he gets between 1/2 and 3/4 a CC of dermosedan to be shod behind - so approximately every 5 weeks. I am debating pulling his hind shoes for a few months this winter to give him a break from having to be tranquilized. The break from the tranquilizer is the only reason I am considering pulling them - if he did not need to be tranquilized to be shod behind it would never have even crossed my mind.
My farrier is totally on board with the idea - my horse has good feet and he doesn't think that leaving him barefoot behind for a few months would be a problem at all - but of course he doesn't have to ride him.
I will continue to ride my horse through the winter - it will be inside on the very best footing and of course he will continue to be turned out. Mostly in a small paddock, but if weather and footing issues permit a midsize field as well. I would also like to show him a bit - about once a month - in the adult equitation and child / adult jumpers ... at new jersey winter shows this means that he would be jumping 3' to 3'3". I would pull his hind shoes middle of this month and put them back on beginning of April.
So my question for all of you - do you think this is an okay idea? Do you think I will pull the hind shoes and immediately wished I hadn't? Is the benefit of the break from the tranquilizer worth having no shoes behind? Does anyone have any experience with this?
Thanks in advance for any insight. I am very nervous about making the wrong decision
I just pulled the hind shoes on my son's horse. He's a thin-soled TB but after about a week of adjustment he seems fine with it. I will probably put them back on for the summer however because he spends a lot time stomping when the bugs are bad and also he seems to have more power behind when shod all the way around and so makes the strides more easily.
Your horse should be fine. If you think he'll be tender, I'd stock up on Durasole before you pull the shoes. You can also ride in hoof boots.
However, as the previous poster mentioned, unless you're riding on very hard or rocky ground, hind shoes aren't usually a big problem. You can always put the shoes back on if you think you've made a big mistake.
I always pulled hinds off for the winter. This year I pulled all 4 off the show horse, and he's (knock on wood) doing great. I still jump him, and other than a few weeks adjustment he now feels the same as with shoes.
Unless you are putting something on the shoes for traction that you need for your winter riding, I don't see at all why your horse would have a problem. In fact, there will be less snow balling up in the feet, and probably better overall traction with barefoot hinds. I'm with MCarver...as a general rule none of our horses wear hind shoes.
I admit, I'm confused by your reasoning, though. I'm not really sure that skipping 1 or 2 out of 10 doses of Dormosedan per year really makes any kind of a difference to a horse. My reasoning would be instead, why put hind shoes on a horse that doesn't need them to begin with? Honestly, I wouldn't worry at all about pulling the hinds. You can always put them back on the next cycle if you don't like how your horse goes.
FYI, if it is the injections you are worried about, they now make a Dormosedan gel which can be given orally.
Thanks for all the responses - I really appreciate everyone's opinions.
MCarverS - I will certainly have to discuss with my farrier whether he will be able to trim him without the tranquilizer. This is something that I have thought about - its not the banging etc. that requires him to be tranquilized its just difficult for him to hold up his hind feet for a long time. My hope is that he can hold his feet for a trim (whereas putting on a shoe takes much longer). But again, this is certainly something that I will need to take into consideration.
Thanks again everyone - you have really helped put my mind at ease about this decision