09 May

Shoes are a PLASTER. Shoes are NOT a fix.

‘But!! My horse can’t cope without shoes and it would be cruel to take them off!!!’ 

Ever thought about why your horses feet ‘can’t cope’? 

If we think about how wild horses live/lived and compare that to our domesticated horses, its’ no wonder that their feet struggle to cope.

 Horses are designed to travel miles each day over various terrain, foraging constantly as they go on low sugar/starch forage.

Keeping your horse without shoes is not the cruel thing here.

 Keeping your horses in an unsuitable environment (confined, without friends and without appropriate forage) and then covering up the problem by shoeing, is. 

The footsoreness, the cracks, the growth rings, the brittleness, the poorly formed hooves, the lameness etc. etc. these are all warning signs that something is wrong in your horses environment. 

Not his hooves. 

If you want your horse to be sound barefoot, it’s actually pretty simple. You need to look back to nature and think about how you can incorporate this into your domesticated horses life.

Your horse needs to move CONSTANTLY. 

Your horse needs a herd. 

And your horse needs an appropriate diet (See my last post on Grass). 

Ever stopped to think that the reason they ‘need shoes’ is because their diet and management today is so far removed from the wild, that of course their wild feet won’t cope? 

Shoes may be a quick fix, but by putting on shoes you have now created a whole loads of other problems that are not easy to fix.

I could write about this for hours, so to keep it simple, here’s a general summary of why shoes aren’t good for your horse:

The hoof is supposed to flex to absorb impact, and by applying a metal shoe you are stopping the foot from doing this. Think about it. Without the ability to flex and absorb impact, where is that shock going?

It’s going up your horses legs. Jarring his tendons and bones and forcing his hoof to land incorrectly, and his gait to change in a way that would never ever happen naturally. 

Also, that little triangular object on the bottom of your horses foot that is the first thing we learn the name of as kids when picking out a horses foot, the frog, is designed to be in contact with the floor. ALL THE TIME.

When the frog touches the floor, it stimulates and encourages blood flow that is essential for blood flow through the hooves, and up the legs and around the body. I shouldn’t need to explain why this basic bodily function is so important, so I’m not going to.

They say horses have five hearts. Four of them are in your horses feet.

Looking back to nature is the best thing you and do for your horse, and if you do it, your horse will cope barefoot. It’s not an easy ride, but it’s worth it, and you owe it to your equine companion. 

The horse world needs to wake up (including horse care professionals, vets, farriers etc.) and get rid of the medieval practice of shoes, and change the way we keep horses for the better. 

Each horse only gets one life, and from the day they are born all they need to be physically and mentally healthy is the 3 F’s.

The freedom to move, the correct forage, and friends. 


With these three things, your horse will not ‘need’ shoes.

Pictured is our Mr Bloo and his lovely mustang feet 

© Copyright Amy Dell of Abbotts View Livery:Barefoot and Back to Nature

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