sore when barefoot

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sore when barefoot

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:05 pm

Dear Don,



My horse has been barefoot now for about 6 months and he is still very sore when we ride. Our trails are pretty rocky and I'm wondering if I should just give it up. My horse has had 2 abscesses in the past 6 months, and none before we went barefoot. I want to do the right thing, but now I'm not sure what it is. I THOUGHT it was to leave him barefoot but it seems I have more problems now than I did before. My current farrier says my horse's hooves are hard as rocks and seems mystified about the cause of the abscesses. I'd been assuming they were because of stone bruises. Everyone keeps telling me that "it takes a while for the horse to get accustomed to the bare feet, just stick it out". I feel like I'm torturing my horse. What to do?



Thanks,



Mary, Kentucky
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Re: sore when barefoot

Post by Don Cloutier on Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:33 pm

This is not the first time I have been asked this question and not the last time I will attempt to answer it as well. Some will say 6 months is plenty long enough and others will say at least a year, but this will be a decision that you and your farrier will have to make on your own, based on what is ultimately best for your horse.

Instead of examining each of your points individually I will give you an overall answer. The hooves are hard as rocks, he has been barefoot for a solid 6 months, 2 abscesses in this time period, still very sore when you ride and more problems now than you did before! This is what I would do. I would have your farrier shoe your horse’s fronts and trim the hinds. Very few of the trail horses that I care for are completely barefoot. Now, it is not that I am unaware of the hooves need to naturally contract and expand as it contacts the ground and absorbs pressure, all this is important, but keep in mind that the weight a horses hoof is supporting is equal to a person bearing their body weight on just their index fingers.

My point is, you are asking your horse to do a great deal more by adding the weight of gear and rider. Put a 50 pound sack on your back and try walking a few miles over rocky terrain barefoot, how far would you get? Some horses can do this others will not. Listen to your horse more than everyone else.

This is the best advice I can give. Best of luck and please keep me informed as to the direction you and your farrier ultimately take.

Don Cloutier’
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