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Hind Shoes for jump height

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  • Hind Shoes for jump height

    I have a gelding that is very capable of the 3'-3'6" and showed at those heights before I bought him. He used to be shod all around.... but right now I have him shod in the front and not behind. He has great feet and I have great footing at home. I also only show at venues with good footing. I just moved up from the 2'9" local adults to the 3' division and he seems to knock a rail at least once a day, of course putting us out of ribbons, but I'm concerned. He is only 10, on regular joint shots, gets regular chiro and is 100 % sound.

    Would putting the hind shoes on him help with him jumping the height? Will it give him just enough traction behind to help?


  • #2
    I have a 12 year old gelding. Shows 3'6", schooling 4'. No joint shots, chiro 2x/year. We do not have great footing for the barefoot horse (gravel dust as opposed to river sand). Last year, we only had one show where we pulled even 1 rail.

    I usually think its more about conditioning than the shoes. Try exercises to tidy up his front end and that encourage use of hind ed.
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    • #3
      It could be any number of things, including the rider (sorry!). 3" should have no impact at all on any reasonably athletic horse's ability to jump a fence. Are you sure it isn't something you are doing? Is he getting rails in front or behind? A long distance or getting a little left can cause them to cut down behind and get a rail. Too close a distance can mean a rail in front.

      That said, I either shoe all around or not at all. I like all 4 feet to be "balanced" the same way.


      • #4
        It's hard to say without seeing the horse. I will say, though, that when I was starting to move my 4yo up in height last year she was seeming unsteady in her hind end over fences. Was fine at the lower heights, but just refused to power off for the bigger fences. Backed her off for a few months, did a lot of strengthening exercises on the flat, and tried again with the same results. At that time she was shod in front and barefoot behind. I had a long discussion with my Dad, who is a retired farrier (75yo and has done her feet for me in an emergency - lives 6hrs away but at least knows her), and we decided to go ahead an put shoes on behind. All of a sudden she started pushing off behind and we haven't had the problem since. Maybe she just matured and figured her body out at the same time, but his thought was based off of how her foot was shaped and that putting a shoe on behind might help steady her out as she learned to use herself. Maybe a far reaching idea, but she is jumping better.


        • #5
          Originally posted by wanderlust View Post
          ...shoe all around or not at all. I like all 4 feet to be "balanced" the same way.

          And honestly, I've seen some horses go from "nice movers" to "amazing movers" with the application of hind shoes... I truly believe that hind shoes provide an effective base of support; and are incredibly important, especially when asking a horse to regularly and intensely engage its hind end.

          Originally posted by Martha Drum
          ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.


          • #6
            I would suggest you give them a try.

            Why not give hind shoes a try? I will tell you my experience a few years ago. I had a project horse with EXCELLENT, sturdy feet. He was barefoot all around (I know yours is shod up front).

            That spring we did light conditioning on the trails and got ready for some low level events in the spring. The footing was very good in the fields, rings and trails. He was great. I was thinking "this is what all those natural feet people are about - a horse who is comfortable in his feet and needs no shoes".

            But... I decided to shoe him before our first event as we had had some rain leading up to the event and I knew the stadium course was on a slope on grass (King Oak). I had the shoes drilled and tapped "just in case" I felt we needed studs for that day. Yes....I know, I know - barefoot is supposed to be best when it comes to traction. Never mind that. Anyway - it was about 5 days out from the event when he got his new sneakers put on and when I rode him later that day it was like sitting on ROCKET POWERED JET FUEL! He was a totally different horse - in a good way for me as I like em fire-y. I could not believe the difference. While he certainly had not been mincing his steps when barefoot, he was just different. With shoes he felt so much more powerful, more impulsion, more suspension, just MORE.

            As your horse plants his hind feet to take off at the jump, he may indeed just be "feeling the ground" enough to not push off as hard as you like.


            • #7
              You often see ponies, especially smalls, shod behind and barefoot in front. This allows them to keep the maximum floating movement but helps them get down the lines. Are yur lines getting long? Hind shoes could help.


              • #8
                I have a large pony who I had shod on all fours last year while showing in the pony jumpers, and I really think it gave her the extra "push" to get up and over the fences. Granted, she's 14.1hh and was showing 3'6".
                I'd say try hind shoes the next time your farrier comes. If you don't notice a difference, have him pull them the time after that.
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