FAQ 1: Should horses wear shoes, boots or go barefoot?

Oct 23, 2009 by Butler2318 Category: FAQ's, Horse Foot Care 0 comments

Which do you recommend: metal shoes, strap-on boots, or barefoot?

Before recommending a specific plan for hoof care, I need to know something about the horse’s feet, the rider and the intended use of the horse.  Of course, it would be ideal if all horses could be ridden barefoot, as it would be the most inexpensive and simplest solution. However, most of today’s domesticated horses do not have feet that are strong enough to take the abrasion and concussion that a mountain trail would present. Some not only require shoes but pads as well to protect a thin sole. Traction may be needed for both the rider’s as well as the horse’s safety.

Inexperienced riders may stress a horse more than an experienced rider and horseman will. Horses that have strong feet and are ridden for only a few hours a few times a month or less may get by with regularly trimmed feet and snug fitting removable boots of some kind. All forms of hoof care have up-sides and down-sides. The important thing is to provide the most humane and practical solution for your horse and your individual situation. In order to give you a pleasurable experience, your horse has to be as sound at the end of your ride as it is before you start.

Free e-book

You may be interested in becoming a farrier yourself or just understanding the work of a farrier. Download my free e-book, “So You Want to Be a Farrier?” at www.dougbutler.com. You can order Horse Foot Care on our web site for only $19.95 each plus shipping and handling, or call 1-800-728-3826 (press 1).

Attention Farriers – If you are a practicing farrier and want to boost your proficiency, master a new skill, or learn how to grow a more profitable business, we can customize a training program just for you. Call today to discuss your particular needs and plan to attend our upcoming Practicing Farrier Workshop on December 7-11, 2009 at our training facility near Chardon, Nebraska. For more information, call Jake at 800-728-3826 (press 3).

AUTHOR BIO: Doug Butler, PhD, CJF, FWC, is the author of The Principles of Horseshoeing (P3), the most widely used farrier training book in the world. His doctorate is from Cornell University, where he did research on factors affecting growth of the horse’s foot. He is a Certified Journeyman Farrier by the American Farriers Association and a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers of England established in 1356 A.D.  P3 is an encyclopedic work that covers all aspects of hoof care and is used as a standard reference by farriers, veterinarians, and horse owners. Dr. Butler’s most recent book, Horse Foot Care is designed for horse owners and will help them provide the most humane hoof care for their horses. He and his sons Jake and Pete run a horseshoeing school located near Chadron, Nebraska. Visit www.butlerprofessionalfarrierschool.com to learn more.

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