Your horse’s hoofcare will be individual to your horse – there is no blanket rule that fits all breeds and ages. Their hooves will change throughout their lifetime too, it’s an ever evolving thing. My approach is to assess all the factors affecting your horse’s situation and then discuss options with you openly, wanting only what is best for your horse. Once we have agreed the way forward, from barefoot to therapeutic shoeing and back again, I have the expertise to make that happen.
Barefoot Trim – the best option if nature has been kind to your horse.
Some horses do really well barefoot, some don’t. It all depends on what you want to do with your horse and their genetic make-up. A sure-footed arab with straight legs, thick hoof-wall and good foot concavity will likely thrive and do whatever is required of it without shoes. But a thoroughbred with crooked legs and flat feet is going to be painfully lame and will possibly suffer just standing in a paddock without the support of shoes.
There is also the option of leaving your horse barefoot and apply boots for when you are riding. This can be a good option if your horse has a standard foot shape and is happy to wear boots. There are many manufacturers and variations available and I am happy to measure your horses trimmed foot and advise you of your options so you can decide what suits you best.
Front shoes – A good option if your horse is in light work
Front shoes would work well if your horse is trail riding, for example, and is sensitive on rocks but you are not asking anything too athletic from it’s hind end.
Horses carry 60% of their weight on their front feet, plus most of your weight too, and as a result, front feet are often less concaved than the hinds. This means they feel the stones more, so front shoes can make a horse far more willing to relax and enjoy the ride.
Reluctance to cross roads, slowness, and even nervousness can all be signs that your horse is not coping barefoot. Riders are often surprised at the change of attitude in their horse once shoes are giving them the support and confidence to ride over hard surfaces.
Fully Shod – It’s hard to beat a set of shoes for surefootedness in full work and competition
Shoes are an economical option when you require your horse to ‘get the job done’ without fuss.
Here are some of the specific cases where shoes serve well –
- if the work your horse is doing wears the hoof out faster than it can grow,
- you need enhanced traction for your horse to be confident and safe,
- your horse has a therapeutic need that can’t be addressed barefoot.