Barefoot or not to barefoot.
Previously Eva has accidentally ended up barefoot, through pulling shoes and half her hoof, but this winter I’ve made the decision to give it a proper go.
When I first bought Eva whenever she lost a shoe she would be hopping lame. Poor girl was so sensitive that she really needed to be shod and reflecting back this will of been because of a poor diet.
Fast forward three/four years to about two years ago she pulled a back shoe and was sound. So I made the decision to go barefoot on the back and she has been happily barefoot on the back ever since.
Last year she pulled a front shoe and did quite a number on it that the farrier pointed out that since she is still sound perhaps the best course is to go barefoot while it grows back.
I trotted her up in front of vets on two separate occasions – for her bi-annual health checks – and they agreed she was sound, so I ended up eventing her and jumping our first meter class barefoot.
At the end of last year I put the fronts back on as they were suffering a wee bit on hard ground. However now looking back on it, I think what I should of done was adjust her diet to include more biotin to support the growth and harden them up.
Obviously this year with everything going on we haven’t been eventing, as it was beginning to look like we were going to get out again I increased the work and with that Eva twisted a shoe so that she was slightly lame. This was the day before a xc practice, the week after the other shoe came off. The farrier got the shoes back on “short and tight” but said if she takes it off again then we will have to wait for some growth.
When Eva takes a shoe off, she does it in style, I do not blame the farrier at all, as think of the force that went in to this shoe to bend it like that!
Speaking to the Vet
Eva had a dental and health check in July, during which Eva was trotted up. We were discussing about her pulling shoes and the vet pointed out that most horses when they trot their legs open slightly so that the feet are further apart.
Eva doesn’t do this.
She trots with her legs still very close together therefore pulling shoes will probably always be an issue especially during increased work.
I told the vet of our history of being barefoot and the vet suggested that perhaps I give going barefoot a proper go, as there have been eventers that have evented 4* barefoot, you just need to look after their feet and legs and ride slightly differently as you don’t have studs. Also when doing road work there are good boots that I can get that would protect the hooves.
Are Eva and I likely to get anywhere near 4* ? Definitely not! But it does show that it is possible and I think it is the way forward for us.
I spoke with the farrier and he agreed it makes sense to give it a go. Our next farrier appointment is at the start of October and at that point I’ve asked the farrier to take the shoes off. Therefore we will have the winter without shoes – I always give Eva December off – which we wont be doing much competing anyway.
In order to help to prepare Evas feet a little for going barefoot, I have added Biotin in to her feeds so that her feet strengthen up. I chose to get the gold label biotin plus which I bought from amazon as I was recommended it by another girl at the yard.
Fingers crossed it all goes to plan and Eva can be a barefoot princess! At least I won’t need to worry about her pulling shoes anymore!