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Shoeing FAQ - Is Barefoot Better?


horse shoes

There is a lot of controversy about whether horses should wear shoes at all.

Image: K. Blocksdorf

Question: Shoeing FAQ - Is Barefoot Better - Barefoot Trims?

Answer: Some people think horses should never wear shoes and if trimmed and maintained properly, a horse can participate in any discipline and remain sound without them. Many barefoot proponents believe that even serious hoof problems, that would traditionally be treated with specialized shoeing by a farrier, can be solved with natural trims and changing the footing the horse stands on and its diet. There is some controversy over whether this is true. Some people even maintain that shoeing is inhumane.

Does your horse need shoes? For most pleasure horses, shoes probably aren’t necessary and sensible maintenance that includes regular trimming may be all that is needed. You need to pay attention to the wear of the hoof and the comfort of your horse as you ride over all sorts of footing. If your horse is getting sore feet, you have some different options. Your horse may need protection like hoof boots, that can be worn only when you ride. Or, you may opt for traditional nailed on shoes. There are also glued on shoes. The best resource for information about what hoof protection your horse may need is your farrier.

Barefoot enthusiasts point to shoeing as the cause of many problems and, indeed poor shoeing can do more harm than good. But shoeing has also many benefits. Whether or not barefoot is best is up to you and your horse.

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