With the right horse, hoof, and set up, it really doesn’t have to be a big deal.
Most of the tips on barefoot transitioning I read up on were fairly complicated. Or the setting didn’t apply to my situation. Or the horse wasn’t going to do the same type of work. (Or, you know, do much of any serious work at all…)
Thank you for contacting me and asking how we’re doing with it!! Appreciate it!
Quick share of my story today as a follow up to last spring. Because you asked. And because it didn’t have the predicted outcome.
Transitioning a young dressage horse to barefoot can be pretty straightforward. Maybe you already know that, and that’s great; this is for the rest who would like to, but haven’t been able to pull it off (hepp) just yet.
It started out really stress free.
Adding that her hind shoes were removed a few months before the fronts. It’s the way to go.
- Over all, undramatic.
- I didn’t use boots on her.
- She didn’t have to putter around for weeks in pasture doing nothing while strengthening tender soles and heels.
- No massive applications of hoof hardener several times per day. Some, but no overkill.
Here’s your fine print: I didn’t become part of the Barefoot Sect. All inner Hoof Goddesses have to restrain themselves here.
Hooves starting out:
Some 2 1/2 years ago – Barefoot on all 4.
I liked this shape better. ↓ Excuse the goat hair leg.
Hind soles. Gorgeous!
White line after spring grass. ↓ Still love the nice open frog.
Still, as she continued training for another year and a half, her fronts showed signs that the level of work might be limited to mostly this type of work 😉
We tried a short period with shoes on her hinds, then this last January transitioned to full barefoot again.
So much healthier, and of course no one’s going to miss picking muddy feet. Or worrying about lost shoes. Or lost winter season bell boots. Right?
Tons of positive hoof testers later, it was clear that her fronts didn’t want to develop any concavity at all. Farrier helped in as many ways as he could. Trimming every 5 weeks, with me filing on my own in between to help the walls.
By May she had developed fluid in her right front, both toes were sore, she got an injection and the vet waived the red flag for that coffin bone. I didn’t need any more convincing, front shoes went back on, and at vet recheck a couple of weeks ago she was wonderful.
So that’s your recap! Still believe in barefoot (and she still is on the hinds, and I may cycle rest periods for the fronts too.), but within reason. Creating an athlete, not a cripple.