The simple word “barefoot” seems to ignite quite a lot of passion and gnashing of teeth in the horse world. Horse people LOVE their traditions and cling to them mercilessly! While that makes a maverick’s job challenging, it also requires that we arm ourselves with extensive knowledge pertaining to barefoot and horses in general. We know our stuff and can argue with the best of them!
So, why do we put ourselves in contention with most of the horse world? Simply because we want the best for our horses and know the benefits of barefoot, which include:
- Functional shock absorption
- Correct hoof capsule function- think expansion and contraction
- Normal blood flow to the hoof
- Increased sure footedness
- Less incidence of pathology- cracks, navicular, laminitis
- Correct development of the inside of the hoof
- Less incidence of arthritis, ring bone, side bone, and other bodily afflictions
I am so glad that I took the leap 6 years ago, and asked a trimmer to remove my dressage horse’s shoes! We had a lot of pathology to fix, but he had never been sounder and seemed to actually enjoy his work. My only regret is not doing my research sooner!
Currently, we are smack in the middle of a paradigm shift when it comes to shoeing and barefoot. This shift will not be easy, but I think it is worth it to the health of our horses! One day, we will see more barefoot horses than shod!
If you want more information on the benefits of being barefoot, these websites are a wealth of information: