Barefoot horse

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Although keeping a horse barefoot does save a massive amount on farrier costs, there are some disadvatages.  The main thing I would suggest you take into consideration is the locality that your horse is kept and the breed and type of horse.  Around my field is miles of very stony bridleways, a nightmare for the barefoot horse.  The smaller stones can work their way into the whiteline of the horses foot causing lameness and absesses.  Also the horse just seems more uncomfortable walking.  However investing in some boots such as Boa horse boots for hacking out is useful and they can last months/years depending on how often you ride.  The boots can also have studs attached and the horse can hack out and jump as normal.  My quarter horse whom dislikes her feet being handled has taken to the boots with no problems.  Before I knew about the boots I had to use hoof putty in any holes in her hooves.  She ended up with a nasty absesss when a stone worked its way in.  Since the boots have been used for riding her feet have been fine.  Apart from saving in cost, barefoot horses do not have problems associated with shoeing, loose shoes, nails etc.

Pros – Saving cost of having farrier for only barefoot trimming.  No problems associated with shoeing.  Boots can be used for riding and removed for turning the horse out.

Cons- properly correct shoeing can prevent splits and cracks in the feet.  Boots will need replacing with wear and tear.  Road riding without boots can split and wear down the feet too quickly. Stones can work their way into the white line in the hoof.

I suggest mainly looking at where and how often you ride before deciding whether to shoe your horse or not.  However I do reccomend the boots – my quarter horse wears these for hours with no rubbing or problems associated with them.  It also depends on the quality of your horses feet, if they split and crack easily shoeing the horse might be the only answer.


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