Every day we talk to horse owners with their own particular reason for wanting to go barefoot. For many it’s about the benefits of a more natural programme. There’s a general awareness about the benefits of natural horse hoof care and concern that conventional shoeing fundamentally inhibits the healthy function of the hoof. I have to say though that very often horse owners come to Horse and More because they’ve reached crisis point with their horse or pony. It might be a health issue such as persistent lameness, laminitis or navicular disease. Or it might be that due to deterioration in hoof quality and persistent shoeing, that the farrier just can’t keep metals shoes on the horse anymore. There are a plethora of reasons for wanting to transition to barefoot, but you might be surprised to hear that it seems to be rarely about cost. Good natural horse hoof care is not just about barefoot trimming. It concerns every aspect of the horse's lifestyle: feeding, management, and health-care and if you get this right the cost benefits are huge. One of our many barefoot success stories is Debbie Ashworth and her horse Johny.
In September 2015 Debbie came to Horse and More to purchase some Cavallo Trek hoof boots. She was desperate. Johny her 16 hand 12 year old hunter type horse just couldn’t keep his shoes on and his feet were in a terrible state. He was terribly foot sore and riding was out of the question. The problem had really started 12 months earlier when Johny started to pull his shoes off more and more frequently. Each time he was losing more hoof and it was getting harder to re-apply his metal shoes even with the help of glue and she’d even tried acrylic shoes for a while. Debbie’s initial idea was to go barefoot on the back feet and use hoof boots on the front over shoes, really just to keep the metal shoes on. Six months on Debbie’s plan has changed. Johny is now happily barefoot all round and his hooves and frogs are hard and strong. He’s had a new lease of life, enjoying hacking out and is doing well at dressage. He’s booted up on all four hooves with Cavallo Trek hoof boots for hacking, but when working in the sand paddock he just goes barefoot and moves freely again, something Debbie thought wasn’t possible. What a difference in 6 months! “I’ve got my horse back” says Debbie.
Debbie’s top tip –Don’t allow your horse’s feet to get too sore before you take the plunge and go barefoot. Plan to go barefoot working with your farrier and use Cavallo hoof boots from Horse and More to help prevent discomfort during the transition!