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Explain the reason for no back shoes

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  • Explain the reason for no back shoes

    Can someone explain why it is somewhat common to only shoe the front?
    A lot of horses around here only get front shoes. Say they have good feet to start with and are just trail ridden.
    What is the physical/logical reason for not putting shoes (or hoof boots) on all 4? Are the feet loaded differently? Do they wear differently?
    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

  • #2
    The front legs carry 2/3 of the horse's weight. With a lighter work load many horses just don't need back shoes.

    Horses in a pasture situationwill kick and no shoes makes it a bit less likely that another horse will get seriously injured.

    Without back shoes YOU stand a better chance of not being seriously injured when a horse kickcs you. That's why I have a brace and a fracture instead of a lot of broken bones and a cast!
    Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

    Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

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    • #3
      I only put shoes on the front because they bear the most weight and get worn down quicker. That is just my experience. I've actually never owned a horse that had to have shoes on the back for medical reasons. I did put back shoes on the horse I showed as a teenager because we were showing almost every weekend and it seemed more comfortable for him. He may not have really needed them, but I was a teenager and of course I knew everything and for all I knew, it was the cool thing to do back then

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      • #4
        The mechanics of how the feet come down are different too. Fronts are far more likely to chip/crack etc., while hinds can often just grow toe forever.
        InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

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        • #5
          Because they need the protection on front feet, but do fine without rear shoes. It can also make herd management easier, because a kick from shod foot can do a lot more damage than a bare foot. I've boarded at a few places that wouldn't allow a horse with rear shoes in group turnout. Instead, the horse would be kept separate.

          I imagine that there are disciplines in which shoeing just the fronts is uncommon or frowned upon, though.

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          • #6
            a horse is uneven still if only shod on the front but a lot of people do it
            some do it becuase horse is a git to shoe on the hinds, some do for whatever reason
            sometimes the horse is so used to having no shoes behind his feet are rock hard and dont grow much as the work hes doing files of the foot so always looks as if no wear and tear
            some horses cant for what every reason its depends on the horse in question

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            • #7
              The hind foot tends to have more concavity in general, serving to have the coffin bone higher off the ground. The higher it is, the worse footing it can take, generally, because it's better protected.
              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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              • #8
                Because...

                The horse doesn't have a job that requires hind shoes.
                The hinds don't chip & wear like the fronts, and seem to be less sensitive to footing changes.
                They're pastured with other horses and owners prefer no hinds.
                It's cheaper & healthier for the horse.

                All six of my horses are bare (4) or shod fronts only (2). One of them may get hind shoes simply because he's moved up to training level eventing and may need studs for traction. He's done quite well at Beg Novice & Novice bare behind.
                "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville

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                • #9
                  We have 45 horses on the farm I work at. Only TWO horses have back shoes. We only put on back shoes if they have an issue that requires back shoes. We try to avoid it because kicks from back shoes are alot worse, 4 shoes are expensive, why add them if you dont need it?
                  The two horses that have back shoes have hind end issues, wont stay sound without the shoes. My own horse used to be the third horse with four shoes. I recently pulled them since he is now retired and no longer needs back shoes

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                  • #10
                    Because my mare is deadly. She once kicked the hoo-ha off a pasturemate with NO rear shoes. Really not a laughing matter. She is now forever restricted in who can be friends with her. No more alpha wars. She will protect her underlings at all costs. And no rear shoes for all those other reasons already mentioned.
                    I need to change my name to 2barelychunkymonkies.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by goeslikestink View Post
                      a horse is uneven still if only shod on the front
                      Pardon?

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                      • #12
                        Originally Posted by goeslikestink
                        a horse is uneven still if only shod on the front
                        Originally posted by Kaeleer View Post
                        Pardon?
                        Difference in weight, foot length, and traction between fronts and hinds can have an affect on performance and confidence.

                        The difference is a moot point if nobody is demanding so much performance from the horse that winning and losing is measured in fractions of a second.

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                        • #13
                          If the horse has extremely difficult feet, and especially if they are poor and flat in front, it may put more weight on the fronts if not shod behind, making the fronts take even more weight. Those horses, even if they can go ok without shoes behind, will be more comfortable shod all round and will be more likely to carry their weight further back.
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                          • #14
                            My horse is shod only in front- this is because she was completely barefoot and we began having lameness issues, the vet took x-rays, found some navicular changes and suggested front shoes and pads. Worked like a charm. Once her workload increases more she will probably need back shoes, but for now just fronts are working fine.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                              If the horse has extremely difficult feet, and especially if they are poor and flat in front, it may put more weight on the fronts if not shod behind, making the fronts take even more weight. Those horses, even if they can go ok without shoes behind, will be more comfortable shod all round and will be more likely to carry their weight further back.
                              I've been thinking of putting hind shoes on my mare for this reason, since she tends to go a little heavy in front and I was thinking she might be more comfortable moving off of her hind end with shoes all around.

                              At this point, one reason I go with front shoes only is that the horses where I board have been losing shoes right and left this summer and with only two in front that's two less to lose.

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                              • #16
                                The front legs and hooves take 80% of its weight (I've also read 70% but learned 80%) so more weight and the hooves don't hold up as easily as the back. Trail riding on rocks with that much weight on the front makes a difference if the horses feet are not strong enough or hard enough. My guys are either barefoot all around or shoed on front only. Even my dressage/CT horse is just on front. Now the one I use to barrel race was all 4, mainly because when we got more serious in racing he started to stone bruise in the back and wear down the hoove uneven from the turns.
                                Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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                                • #17
                                  Ugh.

                                  I cannot stand people who use front shoes only unless dictated by large herd T/O and pony isn't doing much of anything.

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                                  • #18
                                    Simple reason - because the horse's feet and what it is used for do not dictate a need for shoes on the back, only the front. Why put shoes on when they are not needed?

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                                    • #19
                                      Could you be more specific Pirateer? Give some sound, fact based reasons why you can't stand people who don't shoe all 4? I am discussing this issue with my farrier on Friday, and this is a timely thread for me.

                                      I like what I've heard so far from posters. A low level jumper, turned out in a group, ring that has cedar shred footing...a good candidate for fronts only?? He has excellent feet, holds his shoes well--does that sound like he'd do well?
                                      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Oh No! Pirateer can't stand me!! LMAO!!! I didn't know my horse's choice of shoes was so irritating (giggling to self). Anyhoo, my OTTB wears shoes up front and is bare behind. His hind feet wear like iron, are very concave, and are not sensitive at all. His fronts are much more sensitive so he's shod up front. We are currently doing lower level dressage and some small jumps four days per week. Once we really turn up the workload I may consider putting hind shoes on, but only if I feel it's necessary.

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