Joanna's Barefoot Transition Story
Do you shoe your horse? If so, it’s likely that your horse has thrown a shoe, at least once. For as long as we have been shoeing horses, horse owners have struggled to keep shoes on.
Beyond asking your farrier to come out time and time again to replace the lost shoe, there are countless home remedies that those in the horse community recommend to help shoes stay on. Some people purchase overreach boots, use hoof supplements, or apply various hoof moist potions. Others feed sunflower seeds, or use ointment or Keratex.
Sometimes farriers recommend using a shoe with a lighter weight steel or even sit the shoe back a bit and cut off the heels to avoid overreaching. Still, others recommend using clipless shoes, side clipped shoes or glue on shoes. In the most extreme cases, owners may blame the many lost shoes on their farrier and may continually switch farriers in an attempt to find someone who can keep the shoes on.
If you have found yourself struggling to keep shoes on your horse, you’re not alone. Scoot Boot recently spoke with a rider named Joanna about her experience when her horse unexpectedly lost a shoe.
Maybe you can Relate to This Story:
Joanna is a 33 year old endurance rider who has been riding since she was five. She has a seven year old Arabian named Zephyr. She describes him as hard headed and goofy and says that she 100% trusts him on trails. Joanna boasts that he knows his job and he absolutely loves it.
Not Long ago, Joanna had a Situation Come up Where Zephyr Lost a Shoe Shortly Before an Endurance Ride. Here is Their Story:
“We were going to a ride that shoes or boots were definitely needed. It takes sedatives to get Zephyr shod so we try not to shoe him very often. Well, we got the shoes on but the day before the ride I guess he caught one of the shoes with his back foot and bent it totally up. So, we got to the ride and my farrier got the shoe off and straightened it out, but we knew without being able to sedate Zephyr, that it would be a fight. And boy it was. After about an hour, I called it and said just pull the other shoe. I wasn’t sure at that point what we were going to do but I knew we couldn’t keep going with trying to get the shoe back on him.
And I knew my friend had Scoots with her so I knew I could put those on him if needed.
We did end up putting the Scoot Boots on him and completing the whole ride. His feet were amazing! The Scoot Boots did their job and we got through the ride. We definitely wouldn’t have made it without them. And he had also just blown an abscess. The boots protected his feet 100%. The only downside was since he wasn’t used to wearing them and since he has extremely sensitive skin, he did get rubs on his ankles.”
What Advice Would you Give Other Horse Owners who Have Horses That are Difficult to Shoe or Can't Keep Shoes on?
“I would say that it’s really not worth it (to try to keep shoes on). I know how Zephyr is without sedatives and I hate putting him through it. Scoot Boots are so easy and secure that I would recommend those 100% over fighting with a difficult horse.”
As Joanna discovered, barefoot can be the best choice for your horse. Choosing to keep your horse barefoot has numerous benefits over shoeing.
First off, you’ll save money! Have you ever priced out the difference between shoeing a horse for a year and barefoot trimming for a year? The cost difference is significant. Often, the cost of a set of shoes is double, if not triple, the price of a barefoot trim. So multiply that by a farrier visit every 6 to 8 weeks for the year and it becomes clear that barefoot trimming offers substantial cost savings over shoeing. As horse owners, we have a lot of expenses associated with horse ownership. It’s nice to know that when it comes to hoof care, there is an opportunity for saving money.
That being said, of course we would never sacrifice our horse’s health or well-being just to save a few bucks. So what will barefoot trimming really do to your horse’s feet? Are they better off with shoes on? Research and experience show that barefoot trimming actually leads to a much healthier hoof, and horse, overall. When a horse is barefoot, their feet are able to expand, contract, flex and twist on varied terrain and conditions, which helps to reduce stress and prevent injury to joints, ligaments and tendons. In addition, circulation is improved in barefoot horses in comparison to shod horses. Metal shoes prevent much of the flexion the hoof was designed for, which inhibits circulation and is more taxing on the horse’s body.
A balanced barefoot trim can help reduce the chances of early onset arthritis. Beyond the benefits to circulation and joint health, a barefoot hoof provides the best damping to absorb the shock of foot impact. A metal shoe does not allow the sole of the foot to absorb shock in the way it was intended to, leading to the horse’s joints taking on more of the impact.
Metal shoes cause a number of unpleasant problems when attached to a hoof, not only do the nails compromise the integrity of the hoof wall, but the shoe itself leads to increased concussion, especially on hard surfaces. The shoe effectively lifts the part of the hoof that is meant to be weight bearing and shock absorbing off the ground and replaces it with a metal rim. The feet and limbs of a shod horse must accept a much more jarring force with each impact compared to a barefoot horses.
Beyond all of the benefits already discussed, likely the reason you read this article is because you are having trouble keeping your horse’s shoes on. If you choose to take your horse barefoot, we can absolutely guarantee that your horse will NEVER lose its shoes again!
There are many reasons that wonderful, knowledgeable, well-meaning horse owners want to shoe their horses. Perhaps your intention is to protect your horse’s feet from harsh terrain, overwear or sensitive soles. Or maybe you’ve always kept your horses shod and that’s what you are most comfortable with. If you are concerned about how your horse’s feet would fare if you took them barefoot, try a pair of Scoot Boots to help with the transition. Scoot Boots give additional protection and traction to bare feet while still allowing them to function as nature intended. Scoot Boots can be worn for turnout, endurance rides and even high level competition in most locations. As Joanna mentioned, it is important to allow your horse to get used to the boots before taking them on a very long ride or they could experience some rubbing. If you intend to use Scoot Boots for endurance rides or very long trail rides, use the boots at home for the first few times on shorter rides so your horse has the opportunity to get used to wearing the boots and to allow their skin time to adjust.
Joanna and Zephyr
If your horse does have sensitive soles and you would like to give them additional support during the barefoot transition, a pair of Scoot Pads will help them feel more comfortable - https://scootboots.com/collections/all/products/scoot-pads
Many equine owners do not know that they have alternative options to shoeing. Shoes are not necessary for horses and, in fact, research shows that keeping a horse barefoot can provide countless benefits over keeping them shod. If your horse does need extra protection and support while transitioning to barefoot, during long rides or on rough terrain, Scoot Boots can provide the protection they need while still allowing the foot to function naturally. With the help of Scoot Boots, the foot can be protected on all types of terrain, even when barefoot.
If you’d like to get started on a path to healthier hooves and no more lost shoes, Scoot Boots offers a free sizing service to ensure your boots are the right fit. Just click here to get started - https://scootboots.com/pages/sizing-fitting