Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bare VS Shod: There must be a compromise - Tom Sites

First off let me start by saying i'm not leaning towards any position, yet see the best both have to offer, hense the compromise.

i had a shoe farrier trim Gabriels feet for over a year and it always seemed to me he had too long a toe. With 2 trims by a 'barefoot' trimmer his foot is the shape i always thought it to be. But she said it'll take a few more trimmings and growth to get it where we want to be. I am considering a number of hoof protection boots and i again admit, i'll lean to what seems easier to me to fit and works best for the horse. Any suggetions would be appreciated. And if it works here in the mountains it'll work anywhere, except we don't have too much swamp but there are a few bogs in the wet season.

Why do farriers leave such a long toe? Does that not put stress on the tendons? I *think* farriers compensate the usage of shoes to cover up inadequate trims. Correct me on your perfect farriers, but they won't come and see me and as i look back all my horses had too long a toe. I must admit Jody had a good trimmed foot on all her horses w/ shoes

Perhaps i may be wrong (again) but this lesson late in life will perhaps change me or take me back to where i was w/ long toes and steel shoes. But if i see i ever again go to shoes, i'll keep this barefoot trim program going, hense the compromise.



Anonymous said...

> Why does one have to be a freak or a nut to consider stuff? ts
I dunno, but you're qualified on both accounts Tom! >eg<

Just kiddin! Interesting thing though. My farrier who has gone off to
Afghanistan has been sending us photos of the people over there on their
horses. Pretty interesting. The horses look quite Arab...are fit looking
and in decent flesh (but not a pound over). The people look incredibly
poor, the carts have wooden wheels and some bridles are made from twisted
rags, harness leather looks rotten and dried out, but the horses are
shod! I figured as poor as they are they'd be barefoot. Strange angles
too. The rear feet look extremely upright. Front may have a longer toe
but the rear feet look like a mule.

Angie (don't throw things...I've got 2 shod and one barefoot!)

Anonymous said...

My assessment would be this...You don't know how long these horses hold up?
The humans over there aren't holding up too well. You see pictures of people in their 30's with half their teeth rotted out of their heads.
Their horses are not their pets. If they don't live to be very old maybe it is not a big deal.
different standard of living....glad it is not mine! or my horses!

Anonymous said...

Correct trimming is correct trimming, whether barefoot or shod. It does indeed sound like you had a problem with your first farrier--and leaving too much toe is a common one.

That said, I've just started with a new farrier, too--and the majority of my horses are barefoot, since they are not working most of the time. My old farrier had a tendency to leave too much toe on the barefoot horses, too--it has nothing to do with shoeing, it has to do with trimming. I kept asking for less toe and more heel, and he would "get there" on the horses that were easy, but not on the ones that tend to wear too much heel. The new farrier had them with more heel and looking terrific even the first time he trimmed them.

The problem is in finding farriers that actually understand feet--not in shod vs. barefoot.


Anonymous said...

I have a Newbie question: Donna Snyder Smith in her book on endurance riding, states that all competing horses must be shod. I know she wrote that book some time ago. Is that a superseded rule or is it still in effect? I don?t ever plan on shoeing my mustang. I am considering boots, however. --Dave

Anonymous said...

It never was an AERC rule, to the best of my knowledge--however, it was a "local rule" at so many rides that it got to be where people just thought it was required across the board.

Most rides now that are concerned about the footing will require "hoof protection" instead of "shoes"--but check with each individual RM for their requirements.


Anonymous said...

No thinking outside the box allowed!
I am having some soundness issues with my 8 yo never been shod dressage/trail horse. long story short. He was the recipient of some trims that didn't "help" him.
the conventional folks scream for shoes...yet...why? no logical answer has been provided and it seems illogical to me to throw shoes on a sore foot. He is getting appropriate trims and pasture/corral rest. If he needs shoes then why is only one foot I buy one shoe? why now after 8 years?..I cannot begin to tell you the mean things people have said to me...Most of these same folks have had soundness issues in the past and maybe even ongoing ones they never ask if perhaps it is the result of the shoes. they just see that we don't have em so therefore we must need them on and on and on...I am not saying I would NEVER get shoes I am just saying that I haven't been given a diagnosis that really points at that.
Veterinay exam at a top clinic here in So Cal (San Luis Rey) failed to reveal anything...My next option after suitable rest and therapeutic trims is to run to Alamo Pintada for MRI..../Lucinda

Anonymous said...

Ok, not to get blasted here. And I am NOT going to sing the praises of barefoot vs. shoes either. I have my belief and you guys have yours, I do believe that there can be a marrying of the two in some cases. But, with that said, being mostly unfamiliar with the barefoot trim technique, how do you handle a wall separation problem? I have a 2 1/2 year old that on one back hoof has just that. In order to give her support and make her comfortable (she was very lame when we got back from the NC) I put a shoe on it, patched and she walked off nearly completely sound. And yes, it was just one shoe. I haven't had time to get the others on, maybe today. But in her case, there was a chunk missing. Perhaps the barefoot trim would have prevented it better then a "regular" trim. I reaching here folks, and trying to expand my brain and think outside the "shoeing box". See, all farriers are are not the evil people that abuse horses with shoes.

But, in her case, she had a lame hoof...and the shoe did help her.

Anonymous said...

I am really glad to find a discussion on this topic. I'm a total newcomer to, and relatively new to the idea of endurance. But thinking it's what I "want to do with the rest of my life..."
I have a farrier who does the mustang barefoot trim. Previous farrier rasped off all the toe callus, all the periopal on the wall, trimmed the sole to next to paper thin. Needless to say one mare was ALWAYS sore for a week or two after, and my other mare was sore for 3-4 days. So I found this new woman, and after 2 trims I'm seeing much improvement, and am happy.
But... can horses do endurance rides without shoes? I would love to gou that route, not feeling that shoes are my preference (subtle statement).
I own a pair of Old Mac boots, but wow, for a longer ride, they seem like they'd be a LOT of extra weight for the horse to lug around on their feet, PLUS... what about the issue of chaffing and rubbing?

Any input would be ver welcome! I have an open mind, just still new on the learning curve, but would love to find a way to do endurance without putting actual shoes on my mare.
Thank you in advance.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,
Let me start by saying that I'm so excited to hear that you are trying to make an educated decision about providing the best hoof care for your horse. And with that said, let me say that endurance can be done barefoot or booted! There have been some excellent advances made in hoof boot manufacturing. "Easy Care", has some newer style boots that are very "endurance" horse friendly.
It sounds as if you have found a good "Natural Hoof" care provider, that is a major "key" to being able to sucessfully compete in endurance barefoot!

Hope this note will offer you some encouragement.

App'ily yours,
Kathy Smith
Touch O'Glory Appaloosa's

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kathy, and thanks for your reply!! Yes, I am enormously encouraged that endurance can be done without old fashioned shoes. :-) My farrier is super, and she is helping me to figure out how to plan for the best future of riding for my mare.
I will check into Easy Care and what they have to offer.
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I think it would be helpful if barefoot enthusiasts would recognize that traditional farriers and people who hire them love horses too. They believe shoes prevent suffering, and their convictions are reinforced by many years of experience.

The barefoot movement is relatively new, and it involves a lot more than trimming technique. A horse living on soft pasture is going to get sore feet trotting down a gravel road no matter how perfectly his feet are trimmed.

His feet need conditioning to the surface. That might be accomplished by gradual exercise on the gravel, but it might also require altering the horse's living environment. Are you committed enough to barefoot to put rocks in your pasture?

And what is a perfect trim? How much should we take off the heels? How much should we trim the frog? Do we encourage concavity of the sole with our knife or let time do it for us?

Veterinarians and farriers are just tuning in. University research is beginning. Efforts are underway to create a hoof boot that is both effective and convenient. Within ten years I expect barefoot horses to be normal, accepted and winning in all kinds of competition.

Meanwhile, don't fight for the right to compete barefoot and then get pulled because your horse has sore feet. That means you must put in the miles and not compete until your horse has proved his soundness at competition distances and footing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tom, I thought I would comment on this, as I am now an apprentice level barefoot trimmer as of last June. So far, over the last 3 years, I have taken a one day clinic with a Jaime Jackson trained trimmer, hosted a two day with Martha Olivo, and last June did a three day one-on-one intensive with a Strasser trained lady. I have been doing my own horses for a couple of years and I have all the tools now, including a dremel tool that I just got for xmas that works great on the soles and saves my wrists. I plan to get certified by Martha eventually. I already have five clients, one with 20 Morgans on her breeding ranch that I have been trimming regularly. I am still searching for the perfect boot for endurance though. I have heard good things about the Epics and the EZ boot bares, and just heard about another one called the Renegade. I am going to thoroughly research all of them before I spring for a set. I did my last 100 on Felex with 4 foamed on EZ boots that worked great, just hated dealing with the foam, which is also probably a bit toxic to the hooves and body for any long term use, as well as hard to get off the boot, etc. But Felex finally did a ride without any tripping, so I was sold at that point on barefoot. Its a whole lifestyle change, its not just about the trim. Its getting horses as much as possible back to their natural state, walking and grazing all day, or as much as possible, more natural feeding programs, less blanketing, leg wrapping, etc. Hildrud Strasser's book, A Lifetime of Soundness, is highly recommended. There are lots of other good books coming out now too, by Jaime Jackson, Pete Ramey, etc. I have changed much of my philosophy about horse care after reading these. The thing I'm most excited about is the rehab possibilities of the barefoot trim for foundered and navicular horses. The lady I'm apprenticing with has done wonders for several horses that were given up on by vets. She even has a vet on her side who has given her referrals, and admits much of what he has been taught about soundness is not accurate! Hopefully in 10 years there will be more like him. There's a good website for barefoot info called The Horse's Hoof. So keep educating yourself and good luck with it! The times they are a changin'.

Anonymous said...

i agree with you guys that shoeing has alot of facets , you know when i graduated from the worlds greatest horseshoeing school i still felt like there was something missing - and from there i researched every method i heard about and what everyone else was doing shoeing horses . Well i found out something that's not taught in the schools . and it works , i feel sorry that so many horses are being ruined because too many farriers don't know what they're doing , but whose to blame - the schools aren't teaching the Whole truth .
well anyway hope all the best to you .
john silveira