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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Never buy a shod horse

Based on recent (and past) experiences - of my own and my clients.

Too many people are buying problems in blissful ignorance.  Even with horses that have been vetted.

Shoes are being used to cover up a range of problems from footiness to twisted limbs. 

Don't set yourself up for heartache and a financial black hole.

If you want to buy a horse - buy a sound barefoot horse.


Barbara said...

How do you get a horse vetted and not have the shoes pulled? That has been SOP for any horse I have ever vetted and I don't ask, it is part of vetting. (They take shoes off better than they put them on - love being handed a lead rope and a handful of shoes, lol)

Dom said...

Or better yet... adopt one from us. They're all barefoot :)

Ironically, the WV on this comment is 'trim'.

smazourek said...

That's a bit extreme, don't you think? Considering that most horse owners still shoe their horses there are some pretty nice ones out there you'd be depriving of a healthy shoe-free life with that mindset.

I'd say that if you buy a shod horse expect there to be issues when you take the shoes off. I'm sure there are one or two out there that are worth the risk.

Lucy Priory said...

Barbara I don't know where you are but I wish I was there with you. Vets here IMexperience tend to have heart failure at having to vet an unshod horse. Not all but the majority.

Dom - likewise - oh how I wish. I seem to be spending a lot of time helping owners nurse sick horses which needn't have been if they had been vetted barefoot.

Smazourek - you know what they say about moccasins. I'd have agreed a few years back. But having seen owners near bankrupted from vets bills and some really nice horses shot because the cost of rehab can't be met, then no, not any more.

It's not about trivial issues such as caudal heel pain from contraction or sheered heels - some of the things I am seeing amount to fraud - but there is no comeback. Particularly as you'd be hard put to find a vet that would speak out against the vets that authorised/advocated some of these shoeing practices. And until the market starts demanding properly sound horses (ie ones that can do the job bare) we will continue to be faced with these abusive and arguably criminal practices. Criminal because of the fraud - not because of the emotive aspect. Abusive because I have seen the x-rays of the joints which have been completely distorted by the attempts to shoe the horse straight.

Dom - my IT skills are fairly low - what is a WV?

Lucy Priory said...

And yes - I am hurting - it always hurts when horses I get close to get shot in their prime.

smazourek said...

Okay, I can see your point. Obviously I haven't had much experience with that kind of thing.

In a way my horses were fortunate that they were neglected for most of their lives. They didn't have any hoofcare but that also means that they never had shoes put on. They've both got clubbed left fores so I can only imagine what a farrier would have tried to do to them.

Jenny said...

THANK YOU!!! All of our horses are raised barefoot and we advertise this in all of our sales ads.

Val said...

I think this is sound advice (pun intended). If the horse is trotted out without shoes, you may see if a problem is being masked and maybe get an idea if the problem is minor and treatable or something more severe. I would be worried if a seller did not want the shoes removed for a vetting.

Andrea said...

Hard to make such a generalization. That's a loaded gun right there.

achieve1dream said...

Interesting post and follow up comments.

Also WV means 'word verification'. :) The word he had to type in the comment apparently was 'trim' which I agree is ironic. :) Mine on the other hand is 'edoggin' . . . huh?

emilie said...

I have now bought a horse barefoot :) So I'm not worrieng too much as she is just a foal. This is a great blog and taught me loads, and im not extra careful!

amandap said...

One thng I've learned is many owners just have no idea about horses hoofs and how they are a reflection of the horses diet management etc.
Hooves are looked after by Farriers in many minds so who needs to know about them.
I find this so depressing and the more I learn and listen to my horses the more I'm convinced that many horses spend their lives in pain of varying levels. No wonder so many become unsound and grumpy. Sad that they then get remdial shoeing and beaten for being 'naughty'...

Minus Pride said...

I bought a young horse with shoes on, had the back shoes removed and researched A LOT about barefoot. I had the barn farrier remove her front shoes but was displeased with the information he gave me -"as long as she doesn't move too much, her feet won't chip off..." I then found the best barefoot trimmer in the area and pay a little more than fellow barn mates pay but she's awesome.
Luckily, in my case, my horse was really young and hadn't been shod that long...she's making a full comeback and is sound barefoot.
It is taking time though!! It's been 6 months since she had her shoes removed...and her feet still aren't amazing. The trimmer describes them as amazingly better, but not amazing!!

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