My Horse was Born with Four Feet

My horse has been barefoot, shod, barefoot, shod, barefoot, shod on all four feet and is now barefoot again.

The back and forth resulted from different opinions about what is best for him.  I decided that barefoot and booted is best.

Much has been written elsewhere about “shoes or not” for horses.  I am not an advocate of any particular approach.  I say, do whatever works.  I don’t think shoes work for my horse.  On this point, I have had some resistance from other people who also care for him and who think he should have shoes, and also from people who believe horses should never have shoes.  For me, the main reason for barefoot was that even if metal, nailed-on shoes had been the best thing for my horse, they were more likely to be off his feet than on them.

According to horse trainer Cherry Hill,

Some horses are more prone to losing shoes than others. In one documented study of lost shoes in one farrier’s practice, 80% of the shoes were lost by 20% of the horses.  And certain horses in the 20% group lost most of the shoes.  One client’s gelding lost more shoes in one year than another client’s four horses together lost in over 10 years!  The average in this study was 1.33 shoes lost per horse per year.

That “one client’s gelding” sounds a lot like my gelding.  A lost shoe is not only an inconvenience but also a hazard.  It leaves a nasty wake in the form of cracks, breaks and stuck nails, not to mention the risk of injury to horses from stepping on the lost shoe.  So, for my horse, barefoot and booted is best.


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