Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Barefoot or Shoes?

Are your horses regularly shod or do they go barefoot? Mine go barefoot. I'm lucky that way and I only light trail ride, so the horses really haven't had a need for shoes, nor have they really had any foot problems. I do find, however, that finding and keeping a good farrier that isn't burnt out is an ongoing endeavor. Often I've had to stand over watch and dictate what exactly I wanted done or there would be shortcuts taken. My farrier, Jeremiah is good and does a good job generally. He's a horseman and a good one. I have had angry, impatient farriers in the past, but I've now had Jeremiah a good few years now. Jess has fired a few farriers in her time. As well as that she has over thirty head of horses at her place now and has taken on a few convalescent old mares previously foundered that she's had to have special treatment for and as kept up have done quite well, hence the few farriers fired. Most the athletic horses are shod. Good hoof care is a must. I especially have to keep up in the spring with the mud. They tend to pick up stones and their feet must be picked out often to keep them free of painful stones. In spite of the mud I've never had a case of thrush. Summer dryness and stomping of flies brings on cracks, so it's important to mange fly control. I welcome any hoof advice or things you have learned to keeping good feet and sound horses.


Anonymous said...

I know nothing about mud, but a lady we knew once would shoe her horses then allow the shoes to fall off naturally. Once they did, she let the horse go barefoot, until it had worn it's wall down a bit. It was an interesting and rather unorthodox approach, but her horses all had good, hard feet.

Transylvanian horseman said...

I shoe my work horses through the working season because of the metalled roads and stony paths. In winter the riding horses are all barefoot, and only the draught horses are shod.

I've had good results from Natural Balance (see although I am probably only scratching the surface of that technique out here in the wilds. It did reduce stumbling and has increased levels of soundness across my 30 horses.

In the busy season, I apply borium to all the shoes, using construction industry arc welding rods that include borium.

A farrier recently suggested applying a mixture of equal parts formaldegyde, iodine and surgical alcohol to the sole of the foot to toughen it againt stoe bruises. I've not tried this for long enough to know whether it works.