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[RC] beaten barefoot subject - k s swigart

sbolinge said:

I recently got a quarter horse eight year old who has
been shod all his life...literally, even all through the winter.
I pulled his shoes about 3 months ago and even with
boots on he was sore to ride and definitely sore walking
around in the pasture.
...I expect it to take about two years before he will be
absolutely comfortable in the pasture and for short rides,
without boots or anything else.

I am having a real hard time understanding this statement.  Can somebody
tell me what justification there is for subjecting a horse to
months/years of pasture unsoundness (that's what "sore walking around in
the pasture" means to me)?

Was the horse unsound with shoes on when he was "recently gotten" (not
unheard of for a quarter horse) or has taking the shoes off the horse
made him sore all the time and the horse has just got to lump it for a
couple of years?

When my barefoot horses get sore just from walking around in their
living environment (i.e. 24/7), I provide them with full time hoof
protection.  And I gotta admit (I have tried Hoof Armor, but haven't
gotten it to work for me yet, some people say they have so I haven't
given up entirely), the only thing that I have found to adequately
protect a horse's hooves full time is some kind of nailed on shoe (and
in my DG environment, that means steel).  Hoof boots are totally
inadequate for full time use (and not just because the horses chew them
off...which should tell us something about how well horses like having
hoof boots on).

Making my horse live with sore feet for two years just so I can stay
true to a religion of avoiding steel shoes sounds an awful lot like
trying to turn my house cat into a vegetarian because I oppose the
eating of meat on moral grounds...or because I think it unhealthy.

It ain't unhealthy for the cat.  Cats are carnivores.

And, in my experience, lots of Quarter Horses need shoes to stay pasture
sound.  But even if the horse will eventually toughen up its feet so it
is pasture sound on bare feet, two years of sore feet 24 hours a day 7
days a week doesn't sound like a very nice thing to do to a horse to me.

All this, of course, does not apply, if the horse isn't pasture sound
WITH shoes either, but there was nothing in the original post that
mentioned that the switch to barefoot was an attempt to address and
currently existing unsoundness.

Personally, if I had a horse that wasn't pasture sound, and I didn't
think had any prospects of being pasture sound for two years, I would
put the horse down.  I don't think I could bring myself to subject a
horse to two years of sore feet in the hopes that at the end of those
two years it might be better.

How do people justify pulling the shoes off of a horse and letting it
walk around sore for two years (or even the three months that it has
been so far).

Don't get me wrong.  I don't think that every horse needs steel shoes.
However, I do believe that it is a kindness to provide hoof protection
(in whatever suitable form) to a horse with sore feet.  And if nailed on
steel is it, then nailed on steel is it.  If nailed on steel makes the
horse comfortable, then why NOT?

If there is somebody who knows of an alternative to steel shoes that can
be used full time for a horse that is pasture unsound due to lack of
hoof protection, I am all ears.

Orange County, Calif.

p.s.  And here I promised myself that I wouldn't let myself get sucked
into this discussion this time around; but I confess that foot sore
barefoot horses that could easily be made comfortable by a visit from
the farrier is a sore spot for me.
Orange County, Calif.


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