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Re: Barefoot, reply to Bob Morris


The difference between metal shoes and hoof boots is that hoof boots allow
the hoof mechanism to operate, which is a circulatory pump for the horse
as well as a shock absorber.  Yes, they are not perfect.  They must be
fitted properly or problems will occur, just as problems would occur with
loose shoes or poor shoeing.

Most people train and ride as much as they can completely barefoot, they
only put the hoof boots on when extra protection is needed.  Further, it
is not true that there is a consistent mechanical influence imposed by
shoes; as the shod hooves grow, the position of the breakover and the
location of the point of impact relative to the bony column of the leg
changes (for the worse).  The shoes would need to be reset every week or
two to prevent this from happening, which is not practical or possible.
Boots impose a mechanical influence in the sense that they elevate the
horse off the ground about as much as shoes, but otherwise they do not
affect the horse's movement much, because the hoof is still expanding,
contracting, and bearing weight in the same way that it would if it were
resting directly on the ground.  The breakover and point of impact remain
the same, because the hooves are trimmed such that they remain very
consistent in length from day to day.  Also, boots do not cause damage to
the hoof capsule or cut off the circulation to the foot.

I'm confident that my horse could do 25 miles barefoot at this point, and
I hope to test out that theory this fall if I can find a local LD ride.
However, I will definitely be bringing some boots along for insurance.
I'll let you know how it goes.


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