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to shoe or not to shoe (the hinds)? 'tis the question

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  • to shoe or not to shoe (the hinds)? 'tis the question

    I recently had my driving horse shod. He's been bare all his life, and I've been trimming him myself for the last 6 years. He has strong healthy feet, but I've long been interested in shoeing him, primarily for improved traction while driving.

    I planned to put him in equiflex plastic shoes but when I ordered them, his size was backordered for a couple weeks.

    The reason I wanted plastic shoes is because this horse lives out 24/7 w my 33yr old heart horse. Both my boys play rough and both have been known to kick at each other. I've known 3 friends who's horses had to be put down due to kicks from shod hinds, so I won't even consider putting metal on my guy's hinds.

    Separating them isn't an option.

    I was thinking plastic wouldn't be quite as dangerous as metal, hence my choice in footwear.

    Farrier appointment came before the plastic shoes arrived, so I decided to just have his fronts shod with steel. Farrier did a great job, with the shoes, and I am LOVING my horse shod. He has a longer stride and more confident step, exactly what I was hoping for. So now, I'm really eager to see what happens with his hinds done. This horse has a great engine and I would love to see him really come into his own.

    My questions, please, for the esteemed farriers on this board, and those in the know:

    Am I fooling myself that a kick from a plastic shod shoe would be less devastating than a metal shod one?

    Is plastic too slippery for the hinds? They don't offer the studded version in his size, so I'd be relying on the design for traction. We drive mainly on sandy turf arenas, and wooded trails, some road driving. Would a horse be better off bare behind than shod in plastic?

    Thank you!
    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

  • #2
    I'm not a farrier, but the danger in any kick is the power not the covering of the hoof. Indeed a smooth, metal surface (like a rounded shoe) might be less of a risk than a sharp, rough, natural surface or a plastic surface that could be sharp or possibly pitted (giving a nice "serrated edge" effect).

    But, in any event, whenever you turn horses out together you run a risk of injury. Mitigation of the risk is a Good Thing. Not adding to risk is a Good Thing. But both processes have to be put in the context of the needs of the working horse.

    If the horse in question needs shoes to do it's job then they ought to be used. If it doesn't, then the question is moot.

    Simple, yes?!?!?!

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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    • #3
      The plastic shoes I've used are put on with normal nails (E-heads) so you could use nails that had a carbide dot on the head for traction. This is what I do for my driving clients. And metal shoes have HORRIBLE traction on pavement. Plastic would actually be much much better.

      Jennifer
      Third Charm Event Team

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ThirdCharm View Post
        And metal shoes have HORRIBLE traction on pavement.
        It Depends.
        Plastic would actually be much much better.
        Not necessarily.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by buck22 View Post


          My questions, please, for the farriers on this board, and those in the know:

          Am I fooling myself that a kick from a plastic shod shoe would be less devastating than a metal shod one?
          I'm not a farrier, but when I read this my first thought was to ask your vet. Your vet would have a better idea of injuries caused by bare vs metal, although probably not plastic vs. metal. Either way your issue is with the metal shoes, so ask your vet.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
            I'm not a farrier, but the danger in any kick is the power not the covering of the hoof. Indeed a smooth, metal surface (like a rounded shoe) might be less of a risk than a sharp, rough, natural surface or a plastic surface that could be sharp or possibly pitted (giving a nice "serrated edge" effect).

            But, in any event, whenever you turn horses out together you run a risk of injury. Mitigation of the risk is a Good Thing. Not adding to risk is a Good Thing. But both processes have to be put in the context of the needs of the working horse.

            If the horse in question needs shoes to do it's job then they ought to be used. If it doesn't, then the question is moot.

            Simple, yes?!?!?!

            G.
            I'll never understand why some people freak out over horses being turned out with hind shoes. The worst injury I ever had was a barefoot behind horse.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks everyone for the input so far, I really appreciate and value all of it!

              The horse is comfortable bare, even on rocks, etc.. He's just finding extra traction with the shoes the farrier put on and he's gotten bolder in his step, which is nice to see.

              I have asked my vet in fact and she couldn't weigh in on the difference of plastic vs metal as there aren't many plastic shod around here.

              We spend less than 5% of our time on pavement, so as long as I'm not putting him in iceskates, we're ok. And, I pack along boots just in case anyhow.

              Yes, I could see a nasty gash from a plastic shoe that might be akin to serrated. In my mind I prefer that over a broken shoulder. I am trying to pick my poison.

              I appreciate that vast majority of people go through their horse owning lives never having a problem with shod horses turned out together. Most people go through their horse owning lives doing lots of things that a small percentage of the population are against, like feeding dry beet pulp, dry hay cubes, etc. We all have our own individual comfort ranges, and this is the border of mine. Just so happens I've been witness to more than my share of sad stories and I don't want any more.

              Yes, its certainly possible for a well placed bare foot to do its share of damage. But, if I had my horse shod, and my heart horse came up injured after - even if it was complete coincidence - I would never be able to live with myself. Horses shall be horses, I won't wrap them in bubble wrap, but I don't want to provide weaponry either. As it is I don't like the idea of plastic even, hence my asking opinions.

              I really appreciate the insights and everyone taking the time, thank you!
              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

              Comment


              • #8
                The idea that being kicked by a shod horse does more damage than a barefoot horse is like the idea that hit with a piece of pipe does more damage than a baseball bat.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The snark from some of the "resident farriers" on this board is pretty astonishing.
                  *friend of bar.ka

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cnvh View Post
                    The snark from some of the "resident farriers" on this board is pretty astonishing.
                    Fortunately it doesn't cost you anything and you get the benefit of education along with the entertainment.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have used Epona Shoes and Ground Control plastic shoes. I find them to be slippery on grass, esp wet grass, and get quite good traction on pavement and rocks. Although, my opinion is that they can be somewhat "sticky" if you will, on pavement. Made one of my horses sore in his hocks, so I went to plain steel.

                      While I appreciate your concerns about metal shod horses kicking one another, the only place I draw the line is with borium. No need to tear out chunks as well.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                        The idea that being kicked by a shod horse does more damage than a barefoot horse is like the idea that hit with a piece of pipe does more damage than a baseball bat.
                        Interesting analogy. Probably accurate, too.

                        G.
                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Like.... steel pipe vs. wiffle ball bat??

                          I appreciate the frankness, I don't detect snark, made me chuckle actually. But truth be told, all things being equal, if I had to take a blow I would rather it be from a wooden baseball bat than a steel pipe, or I guess more accurately, bar of steel.

                          But, I really appreciate the amount of opinions that feel they're virtually the same, its one of the questions I was asking and I appreciate the thoughts.

                          I am incredibly grateful for the insights on the plastic shoes too, slip is a huge concern of mine.

                          I have a lot to chew on, thank you so much!
                          Last edited by buck22; Apr. 15, 2013, 06:06 PM.
                          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I appreciate everyone's input too. Since moving, two of my boys have been having crazy abcesses. The farrier and I think shoes behind may be in order. Unfortunately, my guys play rough too. I also had a horse receive a pretty serious kick from a shod-behind horse. Maybe it would have been just as bad if the other horse had been barefoot, but I'm not so sure. Plastic is interesting.
                            Y'all ain't right!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                              Fortunately it doesn't cost you anything and you get the benefit of education along with the entertainment.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Another vote for not mattering if shod or not behind. A kick is a kick is a kick. Unshod feet are actually sharper and tend to do more damage than a shod foot.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by buck22 View Post
                                  But truth be told, all things being equal, if I had to take a blow I would rather it be from a wooden baseball bat than a steel pipe, or I guess more accurately, bar of steel.
                                  Me too! I'd prefer a punch from bare knuckles over brass knuckles any day.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I have a 3/4" plywood stall door with a perfect hoof shaped cookie cutter hole in it where one of my yearlings punched through with a bare hind.

                                    In regards to bare knuckles vs. brass knuckles, either way if you lead with your chin you are probably going to have a broken jaw.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      So being hit by Arnold Stang with brass knuckles would be preferable to being hit by Mike Tyson without?

                                      Being hit with baseball bat (a favorite of Al Capone and other Mafiosi, by the way) is better than an iron pipe?

                                      Seems to me that looking the totality of circumstance is much more important than making universal statements.

                                      G.
                                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Lauren12 View Post
                                        Another vote for not mattering if shod or not behind. A kick is a kick is a kick. Unshod feet are actually sharper and tend to do more damage than a shod foot.
                                        I had a shod horse who was turned out with an unshod "cripple" 22 yr old. the 22 yrs old bucked and kicked out and caught my guy in the upper front leg....cut was about 1 inch long and the entire leg was spiral fractured. Leg dangled and horse had to be put down.
                                        So I agree with Tom Bloomer. :-(
                                        Adriane
                                        Happily retired but used to be:
                                        www.ParrotNutz.com

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