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  1. #21
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    Mar. 16, 2006
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    Larkspur, Colo.
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    My 16-year-old (main dressage horse) stays shod year-round because even on soft footing he is essentially lame without shoes. At 1380 pounds, his thin soles and weak digital cushion do not support him. I also take him out on trails a lot and do a fair amount of galloping. The ground here is very abrasive, so even if he were a candidate for barefoot he wouldn't be able to do it because of the wear (and his feet grow verrrrrry slowly)

    For the past year I've been driving haul 90 miles each way to get him done. Would I love for him to be barefoot? Absolutely. But it ain't happening.

    My mare stays barefoot year round but I don't ride her as much and the work is very easy. Her feet are very solid and she moves nicely, in spite of foundering when she was three years old.



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2007
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    Arizona
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    925

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    I have a horse that was barefoot most his life and was never off, although I always used Renegade hoof boots on the trails due to rocks. Against better judgement I listened to my then coach and put shoes on...she claimed he needed more "support" for lateral work. He was shod all the way around for one year and the changes in the quality and shape of his feet were progressively deteriorating and he lost some brilliance in his movement so I pulled the shoes. He has been barefoot again for one year and we moved up to second level. I ride 5 days a week in the arena...2 days out on the trails. I still use Renegades on the trails as a precaution. For my horse shoes were not the answer.



  3. #23
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    Mar. 26, 2011
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    Pennsylvania
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    5,165

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    I'm thinking of getting some renegades for Fella for our Gettysburg camping trip. They always appealed to be in theory, but having never used them I'd love to know what your opinion is of them.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  4. #24
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    Jun. 21, 2009
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    Hunterdon County NJ
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    I recently had the opportunity to observe a group of horses that were always shod go immediately barefoot. There were some difficulties with foot soreness, etc. But there is NO question that the horses all move better without the shoes. Rideability around town is improved with boots for those still having issues.

    But the main reason horses always USED to wear shoes 1)owner afraid to try barefoot 2) owner could afford shoes. Factor #2 has changed....



  5. #25
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    Jun. 21, 2009
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    Hunterdon County NJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by MysticOakRanch View Post


    For all these reasons, I do shoe my riding horses. They go better in shoes. I'm not sure why someone would question this decision?
    I think you may find some different results if you use shoes on/off. I have experienced a horse going 'better' in shoes. But it turns out they were footsore to start with. After one set of shoes, feet recovered, and gaits improved immediately upon pulling shoes.

    I don't doubt that rough terrain/footsoreness could be improved by shoes. BUT horses living in them throughout the year/their whole lives is ultimately very detrimental. When I see dressage horses that never do anything but go from the walker to the uber footed arena to the stall in shoeing packages that rival those found on saddlebreds and TWH, I think there is likely room for improvement in the management of that horse.

    Who is that Olympic dressage Luso with the uber funky shoes?



  6. #26
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    Aug. 25, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
    BUT horses living in them throughout the year/their whole lives is ultimately very detrimental.
    I disagree.

    My now 19 year old primary competition mare has worn shoes, continuously, since I bought her at just under five years of age. There are no abnormalities in heel height, foot shape, or any other conformational difficulty.

    Twice in her life I have tried a "barefoot regimen." In spite of supplements, pasture lifestyle (she's always live outside unless she was injured or otherwise required stall care), "barefoot trimming," etc. her feet have just never been of sufficient quality to handle the day to day wear she incurs. We are in East TN, on bottom land, and our pastures are mostly dirt/clay with good ground cover. There are rocky areas (particularly near the creeks). It's as benign an environment as you'd want. She still requires shoes.

    We even keep her in shoes for breeding, foaling, and lactation. I learned, the hard way, that if I pull shoes she gets sore footed fairly quickly. It's bad enough that she'll start to neglect the foal. That's why she wears shoes during lactation.

    The "bottom line" is that some horses need shoes all the time and some never need them at all. Most lie somewhere in between. There is no "school" answer for all horses. Each horse has its own individual needs.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão



  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2009
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    1. Do you ride like this (where your horse never goes off easy footing)? If so:

    Yes. We trail ride a couple of times a year but otherwise he's on good footing virtually all of the time.

    2. How many times a week?

    5 - 6 days per week. All day turnout seven days per week on grass.

    3. For how long? At what level are you riding/training?

    We generally ride 30 - 60 minutes depending on the day and what we're working on. We're schooling and showing PSG.

    4. Do you keep shoes on your horse all year round? In front only or all 4?

    Full set of shoes that he wears 24/7/365.

    5. If you do keep shoes on, why? Seriously -- what prompted you to make this choice?

    He has white feet. They tend to chip and crack easily and I don't have time to mess around and experiment with barefoot to see if we could make it work for him. He's 20 years old, shoes have served him well for his entire life, and I don't believe in fiddling with something that isn't broken. Perhaps if he was younger and riding at a less demanding level I would try it but we likely only have a couple of years left and I don't want to spend any of that time trying to rehab his feet. Once he retires I may consider pulling his hind shoes but we will probably hack out quite a bit at that time so I might just leave him be until he's doing little to no riding. He will likely always have fronts.

    I will add - I'm not married to shoes for all horses. My 2 year old has fantastic feet so he will remain barefoot when we start him next year. At some point I may put fronts on if I deem it necessary but if not I'm happy to keep him barefoot... It's a lot cheaper that way!



  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2008
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    312

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    I have dressage horse 5 years old in May. Ridden 5 times a week since 3/1/2 and is barefoot. She is just in stable to eat and then back out. I'm am hesitant to put shoes on as never had a problem. I'm with the "if it aint broke theory" whether its with shoes or barefoot. I just don't want the hassle of dealing with shoes.



  9. #29
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    Jun. 11, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guilherme View Post
    You're missing the fact it's not your horse. Leave it be.

    G.
    Wow! No, I don't think so. This is how we learn. I'm not trying to convince this person to do anything different. It's her horse and she can do what she wants. But since she has told me a number of times that the horse's feet are "great" and the TRAINER has told me (with the owner not present) that the horse has great feet, I am puzzled.

    I live in a world where "great feet" should be able to accommodate the (relatively) light work load this horse is subjected to. So it follows I would like to hear from others as to how they manage their horses with a similar work load.

    So, you contributed to this thread...how?



  10. #30
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    Jun. 11, 2004
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    Again, missing the point (why isn't the "link with a quote" button working!?). As I mentioned, in the very first paragraph, I was trying to gather data. Period. I should have just made up some dumb reason for wanting the info, then no one could some how make the whole thing personal. COTHer are MASTERS at re-forming an OP's original post.

    And thanks to the posters who gave well-thought-out answers to a complicated subject. Especially those who pointed out that a (relatively) free-moving horse on the trail might actually need shoes LESS than one who is doing repetitive movements on a constantly abrasive surface.

    Meanwhile, I am enjoying hearing from all the different posters; believe it out not, the barefoot brigade is not too far behind in actual numbers; but I suspect this is not the case if you took a poll of, say, USDF members.

    I think we all agree that you do what you think is best for the horse; any good horseman is going to do that. But sometimes we get so blinded by tradition we are afraid to try new stuff.

    But I agree -- if a horse needs shoes to be comfortable, someone would be cruel not to do it. I'm glad to see some folks are pulling it off, but the ultimate point is to keep the horse sound and happy.

    Carry on! More stories please!!

    (and yes, I edited my original post -- reason noted)
    Last edited by Kyzteke; Mar. 2, 2013 at 04:36 PM.



  11. #31
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    May. 7, 2012
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    113

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    The last horse that I owned myself had shoes in the front because he had a foot that would like to grow a little club-like so the shoes helped to control the shape. I had his hocks injected and then made the decision to add back shoes to really square off his toes and ease breakover to make my hock injections (hopefully) last longer. The combination of the 2 really made him more willing to take weight behind and sit more.

    My current lease horse had front shoes because he had a laminitis/founder scare and he had correction shoes. Then when I started riding him we had regular shoes on the front and added back shoes later because he has weak stifles. The farrier was able after a couple tries to get a good balance on the back feet and now his stifles don't "stick" as much anymore. I can tell when it's about time to have his back feet done again as his stifles will catch a little more (like when I go to pick out his back feet).

    I'm all for barefoot if it's possible. I think though that if they are being trail ridden or are constantly worked in sand that it's very abrasive to their feet and shoes can help with that. As far as slipping- when I was in Germany they would have these little caulks on the heel of the shoes to help with slipping since there's so much pavement there.
    Last edited by WarumNicht; Mar. 2, 2013 at 04:40 PM. Reason: Grammar



  12. #32
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
    I think you may find some different results if you use shoes on/off.
    I tried that a few years ago - pulling shoes off in the Winter when the ground out here is softer (aka wet),and it was NOT a successful experiement. Horses did not go better. Maybe I'm not the typical dressage rider - my horses are out on pasture, I seldom stable horses, so they are exposed to all kinds of terrain, and I'm very aware of how they are going. While hard ground and rocks result in an ocassional bruise or abcess, SAND arenas are a bigger source of wear and tear, so as long as I'm riding the horse, they stay shod, at least in front.

    I find young horses develop much better feet if they are barefoot and on varying terrain for their first 3 years - but once theyare under saddle, they have to go where I want them to go, the way I want them to go, and by taking away THEIR choice to slow down or avoid certain areas, I give them added support to avoid sore feet.

    So far, I've been lucky - I don't need anything "funky" - basic shoes is it.



  13. #33
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    Aug. 25, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyzteke View Post
    Wow! No, I don't think so. This is how we learn. I'm not trying to convince this person to do anything different. It's her horse and she can do what she wants. But since she has told me a number of times that the horse's feet are "great" and the TRAINER has told me (with the owner not present) that the horse has great feet, I am puzzled.

    I live in a world where "great feet" should be able to accommodate the (relatively) light work load this horse is subjected to. So it follows I would like to hear from others as to how they manage their horses with a similar work load.

    So, you contributed to this thread...how?
    First answer, post # 26.

    Your OP came off like the opening gun of a standard shoes vs. barefoot battle (your protestation to the contrary notwithstanding).

    Any question that ends with "what am I missing, here?" suggests that the post is not a quest for knowledge but an attempt to reinforce knowledge already had. Any post that includes something like "So, you contributed to this thread...how?" when the answer lies three steps above also suggests less a search for knowledge than a search for validation.

    But, to contribute:

    There are probably dozens of barefoot vs. shoeing threads across the length and breadth of the COTH fori. A quick search would have turned up many.

    I've got several horses under saddle and several brood mares who work as well as produce foals. We take horses in and out of shoes on a regular and frequent basis as indicated by the work load being done. In your world "where "great feet" should be able to accommodate the (relatively) light work load" you might not do this. In my world where we watch carefully to ensure that wear does not exceed growth we don't worry about "great feet"; we worry about the feet on the horse in front of us.

    Some folks say that the default condition for any horse is "barefoot." I say the default condition is what keeps the horse healthy, comfortable, and sound. If that means shoes then so be it; if that means barefoot then so be it. But as soon as somebody says "Seriously -- what prompted you to make this choice?" I'm pretty sure that they are not a seeker of knowledge but something else entirely.

    If I am wrong then I apologize.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


    3 members found this post helpful.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2008
    Location
    WA
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    325

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    My 10 yr old mare when younger lived in a different climate and durring the winter I would pull the back shoes off for about 3 months I really liked giving them a break etc. Then I moved her about 3 yr ago to a very wet climate since the move I have had to keep shoes all 4 on her due to the wet the whole hoof is just softer. No she is not staning in wet 24 x7 she goes outside daily for about half the day inside aned dry the rest of the time. I also have found that she is more confident moving with shoes on all four and I have seen what some call them being cautious in her. Just wanted to add that the climate you live in can change how you care for your horses feet. Footing is ok it is better some days then others but overall not terrable. Mare gets worked 5-6 days a week schooling 3rd.
    Its the Journey not the Destination.



  15. #35
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    Jun. 11, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guilherme View Post
    If I am wrong then I apologize.

    G.
    Accepted . Because you were

    I've been on COTH for years, yet I do not recall a thread that concentrated strictly on the dressage horses that are used for little else. Could be I missed it, but this would not be the first time COTH has had a repeat topic (rolleur anyone?)

    Just for future reference, I tend to not "imply"; I have a dictionary and English is my first language, so if I want to state something, I can usually be fairly clear. Thank you for trying to interpret what I "really" meant, but I assure you if you'd just read the words as written, you would have had the correct information. However, just in case, I DID change my opening post so it is crystal clear exactly what sort of DATA I'm asking about.

    Anyway, if the conversation bores you, please move on...I will not be offended.



  16. #36
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2012
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    210

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    1. Do you ride like this (where your horse never goes off easy footing)? If so:

    Turned out every day, varying conditions depending on season. Could be 4" of mud. could be 2 ft of snow on top of ice. could be sand. Arenas have good rubber footing, trails are trails once a week or a hack on a grass field.

    2. How many times a week?

    5 days a week shes ridden

    3. For how long? At what level are you riding/training?

    Usually 30 - 60 minutes depending on the day and what we are working on. We school third level movements and tests.

    4. Do you keep shoes on your horse all year round? In front only or all 4?

    Full set, every day, all year. Winter shoes with pads and borium studs in the winter. Back toes rolled and squared, front shoes as small as possible to prevent pulling.

    5. If you do keep shoes on, why? Seriously -- what prompted you to make this choice?

    My mare would be lame barefoot. Period. It's not "natural" for me to sit on her back and ask her to perform the way I do, therefore she will get artificial shoes to help her. Her joints and feet themselves need the support. Her feet crumble without shoes, she drags her back toes a bit, and shes got a clubby front foot. She needs the help. She was barefoot until she was years old and had developed all of these problems before that. Proper trimming and shoes could have helped the clubby foot I think.

    Your post sure makes me feel attacked for using shoes, though. If you just wanted data you should have asked in a far less biased and personal way



  17. #37
    Join Date
    Oct. 15, 2007
    Location
    the heartland
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    1. Do you ride like this (where your horse never goes off easy footing)?
    Horses train in the ring and in the field.

    2. How many times a week?

    3-4 days a week non-winter

    3. For how long? At what level are you riding/training?

    First and second level, 2 horses.

    4. Do you keep shoes on your horse all year round? In front only or all 4?

    All are barefoot. My older gelding had shoes on at the track. I tried them, but he rides the same without them. My mare has never had shoes. It is cheaper to not have them, and I think their feet look better without them. This thread has made me consider - 'being too careful' which might be a strength issue, or not.

    5. If you do keep shoes on, why? Seriously -- what prompted you to make this choice?

    No need at this time. My mare and her 4 year old colt have somewhat softer feet than my gelding, but even they do fine. Everyone is out most of the day.



  18. #38
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    Mar. 23, 2006
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    695

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    Eventer here so take it with a big block of salt.

    1. Do you ride like this (where your horse never goes off easy footing)?
    Two horses - 5 year old (almost) and 7 year old (almost). During the winter they are primarily ridden indoors (we are in Canada so snow/ice keeps us in the indoor). They do go out - about 8 hours per day unless it is exceptionally icy. Both are barefoot and have had no issues (knocking on wood now!).

    2. How many times a week?
    Both are ridden about 5 times per week, a jump school once and the rest is flatwork/dressage. Currently jumping about 2'6" to 3'0" depending on what we need to work on. In the summer we do a cross country school whenever weather permits so typically about two jumping sessions per week. We also hack them which includes medium ground (some rocks but relatively decent footing) and a creek they can go play in.

    3. For how long? At what level are you riding/training?
    Lessons would be about an hour; dressage lessons about 45 min because I am weak and can't handle more.

    4. Do you keep shoes on your horse all year round? In front only or all 4?
    No shoes. Neither one has ever had shoes on. Neither one has ever been lame (knocking on wood again) or had an abscess. Good feet despite both being canadian warmbloods (mare is Pacific Star baby; gelding is Indoctro/Voltaire cross). Gelding is giant with giant hooves but they seem to be doing pretty well by him.

    5. If you do keep shoes on, why?
    No shoes because I believe in the 'don't mess with it unless you have to' theory. There was a niggling doubt in there about traction but that was resolved when I watched the gelding behave like a fool in the field galloping up and down the big hill - he didn't seem to be disadvantaged compared to his shod friends so I figure we are good for now. If needed we'll put them on - but for now we are ok.

    That being said, we are fastidious about their feet. They get trimmed about every 6 weeks (even in the winter) and we are blessed with a really good farrier who understands how to keep them in tip top shape!!



  19. #39
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    There was a great article in DT of an FEI rider who decided to pull shoes off her mare and they photographed the results which showed a much better foot at the end of it.

    I have a 9 year old that has shoes all around mainly due to the fact that I was doing alot of trail conditioning on him as well as dressage and in winter that meant fire roads which bare foot he just couldn't handled.

    My 5 year old has fantastic feet, is green broke, mainly doing dressage with some lighter trail riding. Don't plan on shoeing her unless I need to. I don't believe that all horses move better with shoes on.
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  20. #40
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    Jun. 20, 2012
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    (Maybe too late to join in on the discussion as so many posts already, but here it goes)

    My horse has shoes on all 4's, all year round. She came to me only shoed in front but when she arrived from Germany I called my "super vet" out and basically told him "This is my next GP horse, so lets make it work". So every 6 months she gets adequan and Tildren, she has a highly specified diet and shoeing was also a part of the program. Because she is a little sickle hocked, he felt shoes would offer her more support and help keep her sound.



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