Saturday, February 26, 2011

Barefoot Horses

One of the other interesting seminars at the Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association (ECTRA) Annual Convention was a talk by barefoot trimmer Jessica Chickering of Massachusetts.

I put shoes on John for the first time in years last year to compete in 25 mile competitive trail rides. John has great feet overall. The left front has a tendency to get a bit of a "club hoof" meaning it is smaller than his right front, but as long as he has regular trims the problem is easily managed and not noticable.

Before Leverett I had front shoes put on him. After Leverett he had shoes on all four feet and they did not come off until November. He has been barefoot all winter.

The reason I put shoes on him was because he had to cover a lot of miles over sometimes difficult terrain (hills, rocks etc)

The shoes changed his gait and motion. I noticed this right away and again when the shoes came off in November.

The premise of Jessica's presentation is that hores do not need shoes and that shoes can be damagaing. There are a lot of products out there now, Easy Boots being the most popular, that make shoes unnecessary.

I had been following Easy Boots for awhile, one of the horses I took care of in Reno wore them and they were a great product.

After listening to Jessica's presentation and knowing what good feet John has, I am tempted to try Easy Boots as we condition this spring and find out for myself, are shoes really necessary?

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