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RE: [RC] [RC] Would you keep him barefoot? - Howard Bramhall

I'm not sure of the ride you're going to attempt this, but, unless it's in the mountains or has an inordinate amount of rocks, I'd go for it. Especially since you're doing a 25. It can be done. I did 50 milers for a year on 3 horses and never had any trouble. Of course, that's mostly in Florida and Southern Georgia, where you really can get away with such a thing.

Your husband sounds like a farrier in training. Get him to check out this site:

http://www.barefoothorse.com/

It got me started doing my own horses. I now do my own shoes but that's only because I have a dream of living in the mountains of western NC/eastern TN (I have a dream). My horses are mostly barefoot except for the ones I take out of state to ride on those mountain trails.

If your husband has (or gets) the basics down he can come in real handy during your ride in case you notice some chipping or breaking off. Fix it early and it won't become a serous problem. As far as those vertical cracks go, if they're near the heel, you want to file the area down from the crack to the back, to take the weight off the crack. Make that part of the hoof less weight bearing.

Don't let anyone talk you out of this if this is really what you want to do. It can be done without easy boots (hard to find when you lose one), Big Macs or any of those other additions which take away the whole concept of going bare. Dare to go bare and you'll never look back (unless she's really cute).

cya,
Howard


From: "Karen Casemier" <kcrazzmatazz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [RC]   Would you keep him barefoot?
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 16:45:52 -0400

Kind of hesitant to post this, because I don't want to get into one of those religious barefoot wars, but here it goes.

My husband has a 5 YO QH gelding. We've had him about a year. When we got him, his feet were in absolutely horrible shape - very much long toe/low heel, shelly, unhealthy frog, you name it.

We pulled his shoes (that were about 2 sizes to small and look like they had been on him for six months), gave him a good trim, and just let him be. We've continued to have him trimmed every six weeks, and my husband occasionally gives him a trim in between the farrier visits if it looks like the hoof wall is getting too long.

Now, I wouldn't say he has great feet, but his hooves look 100 times better than they did when we got him. We have been riding him out at Ionia State Park several times, and there are some quite rocky areas (but they are scattered - not consistent), and he's never come up sore.

We are keeping my mare barefoot this season at the recommendations of both my farrier and our vet - she has incredibly strong feet and a tough sole (and she can hold an EZ boot well, so if worse comes to worse I have a pair I can throw on her front feet). Now we are trying to decide if we put some shoes on the gelding, or just see if he can continue barefoot since things have been looking so much better for him.

Our first ride is just a little 15 miler - a clinic put on by Maggie Mieske in a couple of weeks. I'm sure Maggie can chime in regarding the course conditions, but the flyer recommends shoes. In addition, there will be other rides for this guy, but nothing over 25 miles for this season.

I have no problem putting a pair of shoes on this guy if it is necessary - but I'm so happy with how his feet are doing barefoot that I'd love to keep him that way if possible. The only real concern is some vertical cracks - but these are not initiated from the floor of the hoof wall, but rather seem to start in the middle or up near the coronet band (but not all the way up there). I don't think he'd hold EZ boots on very well, but Old Macs or Boa boots might be an option.

Opinions?

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