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Pulling Shoes?

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  • Pulling Shoes?

    How many of you all pull shoes for the off season? My farrier came out yesterday and we decided to pull my guys hind shoes to hopefully help improve his feet. This is the first time we have done this so I hope all goes well. I am planning after his break to start him back into work and take him to some schooling events/dressage/jumper stuff first of the year. do you all normally feel it is okay to bring them back into semi-regular work w/o the shoes as long as they are comfortable?

  • #2
    I always pull my horse's shoes (all four) after our competition season is over. I think it's good for their feet, and when it snows the snow is less likely to ball up in their foot. My horse has really solid feet though, so he fares well. If you've never pulled his shoes before, give him a few days to a week off (depending on if he seems ouchy), and you should be good to go! I still trail ride, go to schooling shows, and even school xcountry in the spring without shoes on. It does depend on the horse though, so just take it easy with your guy at first, and he'll tell you if he's not comfortable. Good luck!


    • #3
      I do - I have had horses who don't fare well barefoot, and they keep their fronts on - with borium for ice - not sure if that's a problem where you live?

      I have to be much more careful about where I ride once I've pulled shoes (no galloping on rocky dirt roads), but usually by that time it's frozen enough that I'm limited to hacking or going to an indoor and she's fine with that. Depending on the weather sometimes I will pull the hinds first, and change the fronts to no pads, or to rim/snowball pads for a cycle so the hoof has a chance to toughen up a little -she wears pads during competition season.


      • #4
        As long as your horse's feet are not super soft or crumbly, you can certainly ride without hind shoes. My mare (who HAS to have front shoes b/c her feet are so flat) almost never wears hind shoes. Just be sensible about footing: small rocks are usually the most obvious culprit of sole bruises so don't go trotting on a gravel road every day. Stick to grass, dirt roads and the ring and see how he does. Often after having the shoes off for a bit the hooves really toughen up and you can ride on more varied terrain without issues.
        "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


        • #5
          I've got a TB, and I live in the south, so I leave all 4 on all year long. He crumbles if ya take them off.
          proud momma of an evil grey QH/Arab who can jump the moon... and he stole my heart


          • #6
            I've heard from more than 1 farrier that pulling shoes just for a few months doesn't really help at all. That being said, I have done it and haven't had any issues, but didn't notice any improvement, either.


            • #7
              Depends on footing and your horse's feet.
              Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
              Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


              • #8
                So glad you posted this! Not much to add in the way of experience, but I just pulled my mare's hinds for the first time. She is pregnant, so only going to be in light work through the winter, and figured that it made more sense than putting on (and paying for!) borium, as she has great feet. We are on day 4, and she seems a little uncomfortable on the concrete aisles in the barn, but totally fine in the indoor and on grass. Hopefully she will get used to the feeling! Would love to hear more experiences about this!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by allisontatman View Post
                  I've heard from more than 1 farrier that pulling shoes just for a few months doesn't really help at all. That being said, I have done it and haven't had any issues, but didn't notice any improvement, either.
                  My guy (OTTB) was in fronts-only until I pulled his shoes this summer; our competition schedule changed (ended, really-- lost job, couldn't afford to compete) and he had lost a couple of shoes that month, so I figured, was gonna pull 'em this fall, might as well do it now...

                  It was a slow go... he was pretty ouchy all over (gravel OR grass) for the first week, but it verrrrry slowly improved. Now, about 4 months later, his feet look AMAZING; he's not gimping whenever we cross gravel anymore, and the only time I put boots on him is if we're trail-riding somewhere particularly rocky. His hoofies look phenomenal, and I plan to keep him barefoot now, year-round (which was not my original intention).

                  My point, though, is it might take a while for the gimpiness to wear off, i.e., more than a week, and for improvements to be seen... If you're planning to ride and aren't prepared to go with some alternatives (boots, seriously reduced workload, etc.), it might not be worth it.
                  *friend of bar.ka

                  "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


                  • #10
                    I don't pull the shoes on mine because we ride year around and especially at my house, the clay is rock hard. My guy is 9 this year and has been wearing shoes all the way around since he was a long 3yo. His feet look great and we haven't had a foot problem yet (knocking on wood.) I asked my farrier a couple of times if we should pull the shoes for the winter and he said why fix something that isn't broken. I have to tend to agree with him. Spanky hasn't had a problem yet and I don't have to worry about riding him somewhere the footing isn't great.

                    I did have a TB who had the worst feet I have ever seen. I mean glue on shoe needed bad feet. I finally got tired of fighting his shoes and pulled everything off and turned him out for awhile without shoes. His feet finally got to looking a lot better but he would never be sound enough to ride if we didn't put shoes back on. Again... we are on hard hard clay and unless it is raining every other day or so, it's like concrete around here.

                    ~ Jus Passed My Zipper aka Spanky, 11yo QH gelding.
                    ~ Muskogee, 2yo Oldenburg Colt.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by allisontatman View Post
                      I've heard from more than 1 farrier that pulling shoes just for a few months doesn't really help at all. That being said, I have done it and haven't had any issues, but didn't notice any improvement, either.
                      But it can save some cash so long as your horse doesn't mind...
                      "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


                      • #12
                        Depends on the horse and the footing. I can tell you even on the same two horses, this year is very different from last for two reasons. Last year the fall was very wet and my OTTB's feet held up well when I pulled his shoes in November. The ground was very soft and there was a lot of moisture. He was also being ridden on Poly Trac, which is a felt footing.

                        This year, the ground is ROCK hard, it has not rained, significantly, in over 8 weeks and he is being handwalked in sand. His feet are brittle and they are getting worn by the footing, and due to an injury he is only WALKING.

                        I do notice a significant different in feet almost immediately when I pull their shoes. Last year I left back shoes off for 6 months. October thru March on both horses. The older one went with out front shoes for about 6 months as well. Then the ground got hard and I ended up putting all 4 shoes back on.

                        The WB kept fronts all winter. This year he is having some stall rest, backs are already pulled, fronts come off at next shoeing. he has really tough feet and I see a difference with him this year as well. His feet are just dryer and more chippy.

                        I like being able to do some soaks without any shoes.


                        • #13
                          I usually do, but Bonnie is keeping her front shoes (with snowball pads) this winter because last year she seemed happier "with" than "without" them. And Keebler is in wedge shoes forever, so he's keeping the fronts as well.
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            I think it depends on the horse's feet. My horse has great feet so I only really put shoes on him for the show season to use studs. But some need shoes for other reasons. My old guy keeps fronts on year round because he just has poor quality feet and gets sore without.

                            If the horse has good feet I dont see why not, many horses compete without hind shoes.


                            • #15
                              In the past I have pulled all four shoes for the off season but this year I decided to go with just pulling the hinds.

                              Like everyone else has said, it really depends on your horse, the footing you ride in (and that your horse is turned out in), and the amount of work you will be doing over the off season.

                              If you're going to be concentrating on mainly flatwork, etc., you may find that four shoes is not necessary and you can get away with only fronts or altogether barefoot. If you're still going to be jumping a fair amount, I would recommend at least keeping front shoes on, even if your horse has above-average feet.


                              • #16
                                depends on the horse. All but 2 get their shoes pulled here. 1 had a coronary band injury as a yearling/the hoof growing out of that spot has never grown back "quite right" since (is softer) so she is in front shoes year round/gets backs pulled and fronts stay on. Another mare has shelly front feet prone to cracking. She also gets the back pulled and fronts stay on when out of work.
                                Providence Farm


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by allisontatman View Post
                                  I've heard from more than 1 farrier that pulling shoes just for a few months doesn't really help at all. That being said, I have done it and haven't had any issues, but didn't notice any improvement, either.
                                  but it really helps the shoeing *bill* if you don't have to shoe them year round (wink)
                                  Providence Farm


                                  • #18
                                    My farrier and I talked about this last time he was out. He likes to do it but ONLY if the riders have the patience to leave them off for 2 to 3 months. I don't. I'm also gun shy with shoe pulling this time of year, since I've had a few get their shoes pulled and enjoyed the softy squishy mud for a week or two, then we get a nasty cold snap, that nice squishy mud freezes to hard, pointy, rutted nastiness and my horse, who's had shoes on all year, is suddenly bruised and foot sore...then it takes the rest of the winter to get their feet right again. I think it's great if you can do it...I just can't.

                                    On top of that, we've got a few who are hunting...they NEED those shoes (especially where we hunt. Lots of rocks).


                                    • #19
                                      I pulled my OTTBs shoes last October. Okay, he helped by pulling off one during a hunt and not leaving enough hoof wall to nail the shoe back on. So, we pulled all four while the ground was still soft.

                                      His feet are so much better now that I never put the shoes back on.

                                      My horse was never out of work. Despite chipping up his front foot badly, he was still sound on it. I used hoof boots (Cavallo) for riding all last fall -- if the footing was decent I used only front boots; if it was rocky, I used four.

                                      Snow is a great surface for the barefoot horse and I found that come spring, I no longer needed hoof boots for riding except when out hunting. Our territories are pretty rocky and going through them full tilt doesn't give any time to pick your path!

                                      My horse's hooves have never looked better. Before pulling his shoes I had a lot of problems keeping a shoe on him and my farrier was usually out at the barn every couple of weeks replacing shoes and/or patching.

                                      I never would have thought that he was a candidate for barefoot.

                                      I think that the options for hoof boots are now so good that if your horse is uncomfortable you have a wide range of choices (all with slightly different fits) to help you through.

                                      good luck!
                                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.