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Thicker soles with barefoot??

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  • Thicker soles with barefoot??

    OK, I have a question, and have heard this before but I don't get it, from experience.

    I hear people say that they pull the shoes from their horse, and it takes some time wherein they are sore, but eventually they devlope a thicker sole.

    Is this really true? Has anybody ever done before and after rads to show how the thickness of the sole has actually changed? Or is it a perception? Is it that the sole is harder, perhaps, from conact with the ground.

    Is that good? Should the sole be in contact with the ground when barefoot? Or is that what leads to abcesses?

    I know its good to have the frog become part of the support of the hoof, dunno how much frog on ground you want, but that is healthy for the hoof, but that is the goal with shoes, so I don't see how the sole actually becomes thicker without shoes.

    Is it because now the barefoot trimmer isn't paring back sole the way the farrier possibly did?

    Doesn't the sold grow as it should, and if not trimmed or pared back there is an outer layer which sloughs off, and usually gets filed away, if it is ragged, etc. with a shoeing, and why is this different than with shoes?

    Thanks for insights.
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

  • #2
    From my own experience, I don't think sole depth has anything to do with whether or not the horse is barefoot or shod.

    More to do with the person doing the trimming.

    I've seen soles whacked off completely and concavity dug in. I've also seen soles that were not trimmed, became overgrown and the bars and frog get all out of whack.

    I don't really buy the whole "pull the shoes let the horse walk around and their soles will toughen up" theory at all. Pull the shoes on a horse with little sole depth and you will have one sore horse. Walking around on nothing won't encourage growth or depth it will just make the horse sore and bruised.

    It's all in the trim IME and doesn't matter if it is a farrier or trimmer as long as they know what they are doing...
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

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    • #3
      1) A horse who is shod badly with long flared toes and has stretched thin soles as a result, may get thicker soles barefoot *if the trimmer and owner do all the right things* to bring the foot back into shape and stop the flattening/stretching.
      2) A horse that has thin soles because of genetics,barefoot or shod, the soles will not get any thicker barefoot no matter what is done because his genes determined his sole and hoofwall thickness.
      3) A horse who is shod correctly in a manner that does not interfere with his natural foot function and may even enhance his foot function (yes that IS possible) but has thin soles anyway will not get thicker soles barefoot. Because his genes say he has thin soles.

      Also , many barefooters claim to have built thicker sole when in fact all they have done is fail to remove layers of thick dead stuff over many months.. That is not the same as having thicker growing, "live" sole.
      Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
      Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
      www.hoofcareonline.com

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      • #4
        I think there is often many things happening at once too. Many people who transition a horse to barefoot from shod (except for those who do it every year in the winter, say), often are doing it because there's a problem with the hooves and the way they've been shod/trimmed. The feet have long toes and under-run heels, etc., and the horse may be slightly off, etc.

        So, assuming that the horse is decently trimmed while barefoot, the sole may get healthier and harder, which people may think of as "thicker."
        "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
          From my own experience, I don't think sole depth has anything to do with whether or not the horse is barefoot or shod...I've seen soles whacked off completely and concavity dug in. I've also seen soles that were not trimmed, became overgrown and the bars and frog get all out of whack.
          I've seen this too.

          I don't really buy the whole "pull the shoes let the horse walk around and their soles will toughen up" theory at all. Pull the shoes on a horse with little sole depth and you will have one sore horse. Walking around on nothing won't encourage growth or depth it will just make the horse sore and bruised.
          This is what 've seen. Pull the shoes on a horse with little sole depth and he's sore. I can't see where walking around on the soles make the sole any better. It makes him sore and bruised, fer sher.
          Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Patty Stiller View Post
            1) A horse who is shod badly with long flared toes and has stretched thin soles as a result, may get thicker soles barefoot *if the trimmer and owner do all the right things* to bring the foot back into shape and stop the flattening/stretching.
            Yes, because suddenly (well eventually) the trim is corrected. He could still be shod with the correct trim, it isn't the magic of barefoot which makes the horse more sound. I will take this a step further and postulate that the soles don't become thicker, possibly they don't get pared down thinner, possibly the foot is shaped so as to support the structure correctly and use the frog etc. to take part of the concussion (??) or the rest of the heel and more healthy hoof, and the horse is less sore. I still question whether the "sole is thicker". I would need to see rads of this and be convinced that the before pics were not of a hoof pared and thinned by a trimmer or farrier first.

            2) A horse that has thin soles because of genetics,barefoot or shod, the soles will not get any thicker barefoot no matter what is done because his genes determined his sole and hoofwall thickness.
            And I would think this normal - thickness wouldn't come from being barefoot, but from his genes.

            What is the mechanism by which folks think being barefoot actually thickens the sole?
            3) A horse who is shod correctly in a manner that does not interfere with his natural foot function and may even enhance his foot function (yes that IS possible) but has thin soles anyway will not get thicker soles barefoot. Because his genes say he has thin soles.

            Also , many barefooters claim to have built thicker sole when in fact all they have done is fail to remove layers of thick dead stuff over many months.. That is not the same as having thicker growing, "live" sole.
            This was my concern. Where do folks say the layers of dead stuff go, in order to measure the new thickness of NEW sole? Becuse if you are going to claim "thicker" you must be measuring it. And that, I believe, would be with Rads. Are they now measuring the new dead stuff in addition to the (same) thickness of sole?

            Its a disctinction which I think is important, because there are folks who are using the idea of "barefoot makes a thicker sole" to soothe people taking shoes off their horses who see problems and soreness and abcesses as a result of removing the shoes.

            I do not believe that the soreness and abcesses can be healed with time and shoe removal. I believe that the soreness and abcess have a different process which creates them rather than "thickness of sole" and therefore a different treatment and direction for the foot than "get a thicker sole".

            Its something which concerns me.
            Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

            Comment


            • #7
              My interpretation is thin sensitive soles are like people going barefoot for the first time and the pain you feel walking on gravel. Over time if you continue to go barefoot your feet toughen up and the gravel is easier to walk on. However, some people never get used to it - and it appears my TB is turning out to be like them

              Comment


              • #8
                barefoot horses will develop additional calous, which I suppose is a thicker sole. I think that the sole gets harder and more compressed, rather than thin and soft.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The above poster is correct in saying that a barefoot horse develops a thick, callused sole. It gets compressed and, if the horse is being trimmed properly, there will not be any extra, dead sole. There are certain occasions where the sole will need to be trimmed -- but, for the most part, the sole is not cut on a barefoot horse. When the sole is allowed to be in contact with the ground, it gets much tougher.
                  As for transitioning a horse from shoes to barefoot, any trimmer worth his/her salt would never do it without using hoof boots in order to keep the horse comfortable. There is no reason for the transition to be painful. The horse needs to develop a thicker sole and more callused frog, in addition to developing the internal structures (digital cushion and lateral cartilages) to be comfortable barefoot without boots.
                  To the OP -- Yes, the sole should be in contact with the ground. There isn't anything on the bottom of the horse's hoof that wasn't meant to come into contact with the ground. Peripheral loading (putting most of the horse's weight on the hoof wall) is not in line with how the hoof was designed to function.
                  Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AnotherRound View Post
                    OK, I have a question, and have heard this before but I don't get it, from experience.

                    I hear people say that they pull the shoes from their horse, and it takes some time wherein they are sore, but eventually they devlope a thicker sole.

                    Is this really true? Has anybody ever done before and after rads to show how the thickness of the sole has actually changed? Or is it a perception? Is it that the sole is harder, perhaps, from conact with the ground.

                    Is that good? Should the sole be in contact with the ground when barefoot? Or is that what leads to abcesses?

                    I know its good to have the frog become part of the support of the hoof, dunno how much frog on ground you want, but that is healthy for the hoof, but that is the goal with shoes, so I don't see how the sole actually becomes thicker without shoes.

                    Is it because now the barefoot trimmer isn't paring back sole the way the farrier possibly did?

                    Doesn't the sold grow as it should, and if not trimmed or pared back there is an outer layer which sloughs off, and usually gets filed away, if it is ragged, etc. with a shoeing, and why is this different than with shoes?

                    Thanks for insights.
                    I pulled shoes in August.......and I do beleive the sole does thicken......the reason I say this is that my horses foot did not actually need any trimming for several trim cycles my farrier would back up the toe, tidy up the heel......it wasn't till January that there actually was some hoof wall to take off....and her feet are know several sizes bigger......I atribute that to the thickening of the sole........its not that the hoof wall wasn't growing its just that the sole keep thickening and hiding the new growth....so it makes sense that her feet are now a little bigger .


                    Dalemma

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sole thickness the the product of genetics, environment and nutrition/management.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dalemma View Post
                        so it makes sense that her feet are now a little bigger .


                        Dalemma
                        Also, the horse's hooves are meant to expand and contract with each step. But think about a horseshoe -- it is nailed on when the horse's hoof is off the ground, non-weight-bearing and in the contracted state. When you nail a horse shoe onto the wall, it takes away the hoof's ability to expand and contract like it should. So, yes, after taking the shoes off, you will see your horse's hooves get a bit bigger.
                        Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

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                        • #13
                          I'm in the soles don't thicken camp, but I do believe they become tougher and my experience bears that out. Or rather, I should say soles don't thicken more than they are naturally able to. Often people do go the barefoot route because they've had terrible experiences with shoers, and so if the sole has been carved out or the foot is unhealthy it stands to reason it could thicken if that is fixed after the shoes are pulled. It's not specific to being barefoot, however, and it probably would do the same with proper shoeing.

                          But I have seen soles develop a callous and the horse become comfortable over rougher ground many times. This is about the only time that I think a comparison between a hoof and a human foot is relevant. There's a tribe in Mexico IIRC that runs long distances barefoot over all kinds of rock and prickly plants and everything. If I tried to do that, my feet would be raw and bleeding before I'd gone 50 feet. But since they're used to it and they've conditioned their feet to be tough enough to handle it, they do fine. I think the same process happens in hooves.
                          exploring the relationship between horse and human

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Frizzle View Post
                            When you nail a horse shoe onto the wall, it takes away the hoof's ability to expand and contract like it should. .
                            Absolutely incorrect. There is not one scintilla of irrefutable evidence that supports this [outlandish]claim, other than the fact that it is a mantra of the BUAtista movement.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Not all horses taken barefoot get thicker soles.

                              If the structures are unhealthy it can actually make the sole thinner.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I don't know if it is the barefoot time or not. Our TB came here to the farm with some pretty nasty feet (not from his original owner Trooper345 or his current owner...but from his former "situation"). He was sore when we pulled his shoes and he had thin soles too. He's been here for 6 months now and within the first 10 weeks we saw substantial improvement in his feet. But several things had changed:

                                1. He now has 24/7 turnout so he moves at will plus his regular exercise.

                                2. His diet was improved with better quality hay and more of it (free choice), plus Omega Horsehine.

                                3. He was trimmed properly. Before he came he was trimmed very, very short. His heels were under run and toes cut short. It was 10 weeks before the farrier felt he needed a tune up and at that time he lightly trimmed. It wasn't until this last time that the poor boy really needed a trim. That should give you an idea of how short he had been trimmed!

                                So in my personal experience it has been turnout, good farrier care and nutrition. He now has some good, solid healthy hoof to him and he moves out beautifully. I wish I had photographed it all...it really has been something to see!
                                I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                                Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

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                                • #17
                                  Also, the horse's hooves are meant to expand and contract with each step. But think about a horseshoe -- it is nailed on when the horse's hoof is off the ground, non-weight-bearing and in the contracted state. When you nail a horse shoe onto the wall, it takes away the hoof's ability to expand and contract like it should. So, yes, after taking the shoes off, you will see your horse's hooves get a bit bigger.
                                  BUA rubbish with absolutely no proof. Shoes and nails do not inhibit hoof expansion. However improper trimming whether barefoot or shod sure does. IT'S NOT THE SHOES that cause the problems.
                                  If it were true, then why would the new clients I get who initially have contracted feet and puny skinny frogs end up with WIDER heels and healthier frogs after a few proper shoeings?
                                  Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
                                  Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
                                  www.hoofcareonline.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I forgot to mention that our TB had crumbling hoof walls as well. I also didn't not want to imply that that his improvement was a thicker sole due to being barefoot. But that the entire hoof is improved. No crumbling, just strong healthy hoof. He will be shod again come spring if he needs to be for work.

                                    I just wanted to be sure that I came across clearly...I feel it is a whole hoof sort of thing...diet, turnout, and good hoof care.
                                    I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                                    Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Patty Stiller View Post
                                      BUA rubbish with absolutely no proof. Shoes and nails do not inhibit hoof expansion. However improper trimming whether barefoot or shod sure does.
                                      Dr. Robert Bowker, DVM PhD has proven that it's true. He studies horse hooves and ONLY horse hooves. If you want to take it up with him, be my guest.
                                      Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

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                                      • #20
                                        Poorly trimmed barefoot hooves that are landing toe first are just as bad as poorly trimmed shod hooves.

                                        I have seen horses build up layers of sole when taken barefoot, but I doubt this is the "sole thickness" the OP is referring to. The sole gets deeper around the frog and is hard, not chalky. Sometimes this sheds and sometimes not.

                                        Theoretically, one could reason that a hoof that is experiencing reduced circulation because of bad trimming and/or bad shoeing, then the sole and wall may not reach their genetic potential for thickness. Improving the hoof form so it functions better, if it improves circulation, could well result in thickened walls and soles. If this theory is correct, it would be the return of proper function, not the removal of shoes, that would allow the walls and soles to thicken. It would seem, though, that well trimmed shod feet that have reached their genetic potential should not thicken just because shoes are pulled.

                                        As for whether the soles should bear weight, that seems to be a subject of much argument. Personally, I think the soles and walls should both bear weight, and one needs to take the surface the horse lives and works on into account when trimming to make sure one or the other is not bearing more than its share of the weight of the horse. I have seen horses who are turned out on abrasive surfaces wear away too much sole and become sore. These horses need to have their soles protected from overwearing, through a change in turnout, application of shoes, or application of boots.
                                        Last edited by matryoshka; Mar. 6, 2010, 04:07 PM.
                                        "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."

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