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[RC] Confined horses (was: barefoot trim) - k s swigart

Terry Bannister said:

Confining a horse for days and weeks at a time in a
12x24 stall, while standing in poorly drained footing
of feces and manure will not work!! (Think of ones
own fingernails after having hands in dishwater for
half an hour!) Yet, think of how many horses you
know of that live this way!

Actually, I know virtually none.  I know lots of horses that are
confined in 12x24 stalls (or even 12x12 which is the Orange County
norm); however, few of them are standing in porrly drained footing of
feces and manure as the managers of such places (and the owners of
horses kept in such places) go out of their way to ensure that the
stalls have good drainage and that manure is cleaned out meticulously.

The places where I have seen horses standing in the most manure is large
pens with multiple horses in them as often such pends are not cleaned
very often (if at all).

Additionally, when _I_ was competing successfully in endurance with my
barefoot horse (as in, no hoof protection of any kind), it was WHEN he
was in a boarding stable confined in a 12x12 and 12x24 stall.  When he
was confined in a stall with knee deep shavings for bedding, his feet
got enough rest from being worn down by movement on abrasive ground that
he had enough foot to conditoin and compete on abrasive ground.

When I took him out of the stall and put him in a 40x140 paddock with
mostly DG footing and plenty of self-exercise 24/7, THAT was when I
could no longer successfully manage his bare feet.  He needed hoof
protection any time I rode him more than a couple of miles (i.e. any
time I conditioned him), and since EasyBoot had not yet come out with a
hoof boot that would reliably stay on a bare foot, THAT'S when I put
steel shoes on him.

I don't mean to single out Terry Bannister in my responses about this, I
am just using her posts to demonstrate many of the fallacies that are
being used to justify the notion that horses shouldn't need hoof
protection.  And these fallacies that I have heard (not necessarily from
Terry) include:

Wild horses have bare feet, and do just fine (many wild horses DON'T do
just fine with bare feet)

So domestice horses should be able to do just fine with bare feet too
(the demands on wild horses feet are not the same as those of domestic
horse's feet)

Horses would do just fine barefoot if they could just "toughen up" their
feet enough which happens when they live/work on hard ground (living and
working on hard ground makes it harder to maintain a horse barefoot not
easier)

Farriers want to make more money putting steel shoes on your horse so
that is why they tell you your horse needs shoes (farriers don't make
more money shoing horses than they do trimming them if you consider all
the "expenses" they incur shoing a horse that they don't incur trimming
them).

Historically, people started putting shoes on horses as a fashion
statement because that is what the aristrocacy was doing with the horses
they confined in stalls (yeah, right, farmers started shoing their plow
horses as a fashion statement).

In fact, steel shoes on horse's feet was probably one of the biggest
advances in military technology to come along at the time, and probably
rates right up there with the invention of the bow and arrow, rifles,
and repeating rifles.  People started shoing horses because it was
clearly advantageous to do so, and for those people with horses that
gained no advantage by wearing steel shoes, I am SURE that their owners
didn't waste the resources in doing so.

Steel horse shoes were a great invention that have stood the test of
time, and not for lack of people trying many different things to replace
them.  It remains yet to be seen whether the current new technologies
are real improvements (we do have access to new materials that didn't
exist 1000 or even 100 years ago, so it is possible), and it remains to
be seen if the new lack of use associated with horse ownership (horses
of today are much more idle than those of yesteryear) will also diminish
the need for any kind of hoof protection.

But until then....

...one of the reasons that steel shoes have stood the test of time is
that they work so well for most horses.

kat
Orange County, Calif.
:)



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