A horse’s ability to go barefoot, in many cases, is a fact that stands as a natural ability of the animal. What has become misunderstood and often never brought forward is the fact that the job accomplished is only as good as the person accomplishing the job.
Consequently, there are good barefoot trimmers and there are bad barefoot trimmers; just as there are good farriers and there are bad farriers. The true answer to the question is that either method of hoof care can be right for your horse and you are the one that has to make that decision. The choice that is made has to be the right one for your horse, not for you.
I do not have a problem with people that decide to have their horses go barefoot, but I do have a problem when it is painful for the horse to go barefoot. One of my customers put it better than I ever could, and it went this way “Barefoot trimming is different than going barefoot.” What that person was trying to get across was that the person doing the barefoot trim on her horse over did the trimming and in the process the hoof lost its natural supportive ability of the hoof. As I said, I don’t have a problem with barefooted horses; when my family had a large breeding operation all of the horses that did not need shoes, did not have shoes, and went barefooted. In addition, these same barefoot horses were that way all year long, but it was done in a method and fashion that was correct for each and every particular horse. This goes right back to being able to determine what is right for your horse and how to implement it correctly.
Lastly, consider this point if you are leaning towards having your horse’s shoes pulled and having them become a barefoot horse and it is their bloodlines. Why would you consider a horse’s bloodlines when worried about their feet? Simple, some horses have a natural ability to go barefooted without any problem, but there are others that have week soles, weak walls, and many other hoof problems that have been passed along through the genetic DNA of their parents. Even in the wild environment nature culled the herd; the bad footed horses died.
Careful consideration has to be made because mankind in its infinite wisdom has intervened into the natural breeding programs of the horse and since we have determined that we are a better judge than “Mother Nature” it has progressed to a point that we now have many specific bloodlines that have lower leg and hoof problems. The only advice I can give you in this area is to take your time and do your homework, check the bloodlines of your horse, consult your veterinarian, make your decision for your horse and not for you, and lastly make your decision wisely. Don’t make your decision on statements that have been made that are designed to make YOU feel bad.
Until Next time........Ride for the Brand