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I want to join the Barefoot Eventers Clique

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  • I want to join the Barefoot Eventers Clique

    Hi there! Can I join your Barefoot Eventer's Clique? (I think I've read somewhere there just might be one!)

    From a gal who isn't one firmly entrenched either way, each horse as an individual determines their ability to be barefoot. My TB gelding may have the ability to go bare all around. I have two other pleasure ponies in my barn who are bare it's just him who is shod.

    We've finished cross country having pulled shoes on front and gone down gravel roads without said shoes and he's nary missed a step. So I'm thinking he's more likely capable than not.

    As we've come into January and have tried riding outdoors (absolutely a miserable undertaking in Wyoming) the only places that we can ride outside are on the roads. But riding him on the asphalt roads in shoes is like riding a drunk on rollerskates. So as an alternative I'm going to take his shoes off and go the rest of the winter and hopefully through the year barefoot.

    Any tips? How do your horses feet hold up conditioning? Do you trim a bit more often to keep them level and balanced? I do have a great farrier so that is not an issue.
    Proud to be owned by Just Walter
    and member of the *Barefoot Eventers Clique*

  • #2
    Originally posted by Just Walter View Post
    Hi there! Can I join your Barefoot Eventer's Clique?

    You can read about my guy on the "Banks" link in my sig line. His feet hold up just great for the lower level stuff we do, and he has good traction.

    As for tips, I recommend getting those trims regularly (3-6 weeks) and educating yourself about hoof care-- transitioning to bare feet, recognizing good hoof form, etc. Here are some of my favorite sites:


    And a nice website belonging to another barefoot eventer who is in my area:
    Taco Blog
    *T3DE 2010 Pact*


    • #3
      My horse has been doing Training for awhile (very successfully), and has been schooling Prelim stuff for over a year and half, with nary a slip--ever; at 9, she has *never* worn shoes...I may have to bite the bullet (and shoe her, so I can use studs) when I make the planned moveup to Prelim later this year, but so far, so good

      Luckily, she has excellent feet (which was one of my main criteria when I was looking for a horse to replace my late, crappy-footed TB...)

      I rasp her feet myself, with occasional input from the farrier--it's important to keep the feet balanced, and keep the chips smoothed down and the flares under control.

      In the summer, I use Keratex--this really helps with the chipping when the horn is more porous, and the ground and weather are both drier

      Good luck; I do think it's possible to keep a horse barefoot and event, but it does require some management--and genetically *good* feet (that can hold up to work under all conditions) are essential, from jump street!
      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


      • Original Poster


        Wonderful information! Do either of you give suppliments or did you through the transition?
        Proud to be owned by Just Walter
        and member of the *Barefoot Eventers Clique*


        • #5
          In my horse's case, she has *always* been barefoot--since birth (the transition for HER will be to having shoes nailed onto her virgin tootsies )

          I give a generalized supplement (Accel), but in the past, I have also used the Reitsport supplement (by HorseTech), and have ordered some more of that to start her on again before the spring seaon. I would recommend starting your horse on some sort of hoof-specific supplement ASAP, since it takes awhile to have an effect--but it *will* help! Generally the quality of hoof horn is better in the winter (according to the farrier I use, and I have observed this to be the case ), even though the growth slows down a bit.

          There are usually a lot of threads on this topic on the Horse Care forum, and you can get some good advice on "barefoot transitioning" providing you can ignore the extremists with polarized viewpoints

          In any case, you won't know whether or not this will work for your particular horse until you try it (and every horse is different, of course ), but good luck, and let us know how it goes!

          (If it works for you, you can just add *Barefoot Eventers Clique* under your sig line...)
          "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

          "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


          • #6
            This is so awesome to hear. My Brian has great feet and has always been barefoot. I also rasp and have a great barefoot farrier. I was really wondering if people out there did event with barefeet and I am so excited to hear that they do. I do agree that your horse needs good feet and it does take more management, but my horses feet are solid and he doesn't have trouble with slipping. Thank you for making my day....
            My horse of a lifetime!!


            • #7

              It's nice to have some company; I find many people are rather skeptical about it being possible/feasible--I would probably be too, had I not been lucky enough to experience it first-hand
              "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

              "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


              • #8
                Oooh! Count me in! My new OTTB is transitioning to barefoot beautifully , and though we are not competing yet, we will be eventing (Novice to start) by next year (fingers crossed!)
                View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com


                • #9
                  Welcome to the Clique! My boy has been barefoot for 2 years now and never had a slip on XC. We are planning the move to Prelim this year, and are qualified for the AEC's at Training. Being barefoot has improved his gaits and way of going. It is a wonderful thing for his feet and I am happy to know more people are eventing barefoot!

                  Founder of the *Barefoot Eventers Clique*

                  Happiness is a state of mind according to how you look at things.. and whether or not you have a sound horse!


                  • #10
                    Love hearing about other barefoot eventers! My TB has been barefoot for the last 2 years and has never moved better or been more sound. It did take her a month or two to transition over. We dont do the crazy aggressive "natural trim" stuff just follow what the hoof tells me. I rasp her myself (with watchful eyes from farrier the first year). This has been the best thing for me bc my horse is petrified of farriers and men. My last farrier (before the barefoot) she put in the hospital and he refused to shoe her without sedating her himself. Also called me a "little girl" everytime I asked him to do something different. Anyways, my girl now falls ASLEEP while my 5'1 100lb "little girl" self does her back feet. I still want to send a video of it to my last farrier!


                    • #11
                      Great, now I can join another unconventional clique: not only my daughter events an Arab, but he has never had shoes on. I didn't know if he'd need shoes going from Novice to Training, but from the experiences I've read here, it sounds like he will continue to go barefoot. This is awesome because he has very nice round, sturdy feet, and I didn't want to ruin them by having shoes on.
                      "Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"


                      • #12
                        My mare has now done one Prelim, and will do another next weekend--still barefoot!

                        I've now had her on the flax supplement for over a year, she has "grown a whole new foot" on it, and I have to say that this year she has chipped much less than in previous summers; I really only have to smooth out the wall edges with a rasp, and keep her feet balanced. They are in *fantastic* shape! (She hasn't had the farrier do her feet in the past 7 months or so.)

                        Still sound, still has GREAT traction...

                        Some vets theorize that unshod horses have better "proprioception"; can better feel where their feet are in relation to their body--which not only helps them to stay balanced, but also makes it easier for them to keep their feet underneath them (the proverbial "leg at each corner" )

                        I can testify that this is the case with my mare, who is an equine ATV...

                        I highly recommend doing this if you CAN, and if your horse has good feet; I have yet to have anyone pressure me to shoe her (so that I can use studs), because she is so balanced and sure-footed. Obviously, if the footing were to get really slippery due to rain, I would just scratch. (I can't tell you how much money I have saved over the past 4 1/2 years, so having to scratch one or two HTs--over the course of several years--would be a "drop in the bucket" )

                        Plus, shoeing this poor mare at her age (10) would doubtless be a HUGE shock to her system!
                        "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                        "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


                        • #13
                          It's not a clique until you have T-shirts or bumper stickers.
                          Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LexInVA View Post
                            It's not a clique until you have T-shirts or bumper stickers.
                            EWWWW I want a bumper sticker for my trailer!


                            • #15
                              I can add in me and my mustang , although we are just starting at elementary. But as long as he keep traction and security he'll stay bearefoot. But if he starts to have issues with keeping grip then we'll have to look at shoes. But then again- that is going to be in a very long time!!


                              • #16
                                I would love to try this with my boy (Belgian cross) but I'm concerned about traction issues. When I bought him he was shod on all 4 with regular shoes, and slipped out a few times on very gentle hills out in the field. Now he's wearing 4 "eventer" shoes and doesn't have problems slipping, but I'm not sure what the story would be with no shoes at all.

                                Still, maybe I will spend the winter working on dressage and on trying out bare feet, since we won't have any competitions. He's got great feet other than the traction question.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by equestrianerd View Post
                                  I would love to try this with my boy (Belgian cross) but I'm concerned about traction issues. When I bought him he was shod on all 4 with regular shoes, and slipped out a few times on very gentle hills out in the field. Now he's wearing 4 "eventer" shoes and doesn't have problems slipping, but I'm not sure what the story would be with no shoes at all.

                                  Still, maybe I will spend the winter working on dressage and on trying out bare feet, since we won't have any competitions. He's got great feet other than the traction question.

                                  Generally speaking, bare feet provide *more* traction than shod feet (SANS studs); you might try pulling his shoes in the fall/winter, riding him barefoot (on those same hills ), and seeing how he does...I'm betting he will slip less than he did with shoes (even "eventer" shoes--which have fullered rims for more grip?? I would like to see a pic...)

                                  Of course some horses just tend to slip more than others; in that case, you might consider shoeing him, drilling and tapping, and putting small grass tips in the hind shoes.
                                  "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                                  "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


                                  • #18
                                    Yeah, I've heard that bare feet get pretty good traction, so maybe we'll luck out. Having nice sturdy feet is a really nice change from my mare, who's got good feet, but "for a Thoroughbred", so she still has to be shod all 'round.

                                    I'd love to try it out sooner, but we've got HTs coming up in Sept, Oct, and Nov, so that doesn't give much room in between for experimentation. So I think I'll devote the winter to trying hte barefoot thing, and if it works out, we can try it in actual competition next spring.


                                    • #19
                                      I can attest to the traction thing! My 7 year old mare is just starting out this year at BN and she is yet another equine ATV! We won our division at Hunters Run this year and it POURED all weekend and I watched the rest of the people in my division have runout after runout when their horses started slipping and sliding all over the place - mine? Cooked it around the slippery grass without a moment's hesitation and came in a bit dangerously close to the speed time!

                                      http://brantgamma.exposuremanager.co..._er8/er8b36878 <-- A link to Brant Gamma's website to show that oh yes, barefoot horses can and do event successfully!

                                      And BTW, this is my Prelim prospect and I intend to take her there without shoes. She was shod in front with pads when I got her two years ago as a barely broke 5 year old, and from that day until today she has never taken an off step.
                                      Eventing-A-Gogo: Adventures of a Barefoot Event Horse and her Human
                                      The Reeling: An Unexpected Mareventure


                                      • #20
                                        yeah, they came up with studs because shoes don't have as good traction.

                                        I would like to join the barefoot eventers clique, but my mare needs new front feet foot - they are worse than stereotypical thoroughbred feet....

                                        Luckily I don't need shoes behind, which is good because she has major Farrier phobias also.