Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shoes on...Shoes off?... Bah, I don't know

Prairie is scheduled for a trim later today.  This would be her second (short) cycle with shoes on and I'm flip flopping like a floppy-flip-flopper as to whether or not I want to keep shoes on for the summer.

Part of me wants control of her tootsies back.  Especially when I see her spitting hoof out at such a high rate that even a 5 week cycle leaves her heels getting longer and more forward than I would like...

But the other part of me is worried about keeping her comfortable through the show season with varied footing that I can't predict or control.

I'm not concerned about having a barefoot horse in the Hunter Ring and getting dinged for her not looking traditional.

I'm also not concerned about being a bad self-trimmer and caving to shoes if she needs them to stay consistently comfy all summer long.

But I most definitely am concerned about which path gives me the best chance of keeping her sound, happy and healthy while hauling her all over the place.
Ahh if only they were as affordable as some Chucks...
If we didn't have much on the calendar I'm pretty sure I'm 90% positive (how's that for a statement) that I would pull the front shoes off today (hinds are still bare).  At home I've got some nice dry pastures, some gravel pastures and good arena footing where I can get her transitioned back to barefoot comfortably and I can feel good about maximizing her heel support.

Buuuuut there's the nagging voice in my head that says it's going to rain for another month, make my mare's feet all mushy and then I'll throw her on some sand/concrete ring and ask her to jump all nice and pretty and everything will go down in flames.

I've been debating this for a couple weeks now and am no closer to a decision than I was when I started.

My farrier is pretty reasonable and while I know he will tend toward "shoes."  I'm hoping he can help me with some insight.  Maybe while her shoes are off today we'll jog her and see how sensitive she is and go from there. 

Bah.  I don't know.

Shoes on..... shoes off.... shoes on??? shoes off...... 


  1. Ugh, I am so there with you! Such a hard choice.

    You know, Easyboot is coming out with glue-on shoes that are squishy and have frog/heel support built-in. I think they arrive late June/early July. Link is here: I may try those on Echo to see how they do - he's still a smidge ouchy on his fronts where his hoof wall hasn't grown all the way down. If I do, I'll let you know how it goes!

  2. Preach it... I feel ya! Tried to take off Henry's hind shoes but yeah that didn't work, boo!

    Hope you have some clarity and whatever you chooses works :)

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  4. I will always say shoes off but I'm biased being a trimmer!

    What I love about you is you KNOW she should be bare and you want to preserve her quality hoof and you only want the shoes on for a minimal amount of time.

    I can't wait until these are out, I'm pretty excited!

  5. I'm waffling with this decision right now too, it's not easy!

  6. I love Epona shoes. They were a godsend when I moved my barefoot mare from sandy FL to icy MD right at the beginning of winter. We glued them on at the recommendation of my trimmer, as I told her I only wanted to use them temporarily to keep Lily comfortable. (They can be nailed on if so desired.) They allow the hoof to function as a barefoot hoof, while still having all the perks of shoes-the entire sole and frog are stimulated, thanks to the flexible polyurethane material and center gel insert on the shoes.
    The EasyShoes that are about to come out are almost exactly the same as Eponas. My mare wore her Eponas for 3 months to allow her to grow more sole. She went from 1/8" of sole to at least 1/2" of sole during that time (confirmed with radiographs). We removed the Eponas in February, and she was immediately sound on gravel - no transition period whatsoever. This mare used to be horrendously sore after every trim back in FL, whether in steel shoes or barefoot. Not anymore. She has continued to be barefoot ever since, even with our current muddy, wet spring.

  7. Honestly, if you are at all concerned about her comfort and performance I would keep her in shoes until show season ends. I'm like you, neither a die hard "barefootist" nor an advocate shoes. I just worry that she will turn up sore, and that is never good. Booked show season or otherwise...

  8. Hopefully your farrier offered some insight. :)

  9. I have heard good things about Epona shoes. My friend's horse is benefitting from them very much so. My vote is for bare, but Eponsa might be a nice compromise. She can certainly jump in them.

    If you are noticing that her heels are coming forward, this is not acceptable. Shoes or bare, that will compromise her feet and risk her soundness. Hopefully, your farrier is seeing what you are seeing.

  10. I'm with Val. :) Good luck with your decision!


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