I'm gonna get tossed out of the farrier community for this one, I just know it! Well, no, actually, my true friends won't care. The dirty little secret us horseshoers carry around is, we'd rather not shoe 'em! It's so much easier to trim feet and wander off than unload the truck, determine shoe size, get them things right, and nail 'em on, then pack back up before driving away.
I came home from Death Valley with a lame horse. Hoss had strained his hock on the third day. Although we completed, our ride was over. I loaded him up and brought him home to stand in a corral for two weeks. In an effort to help keep this rather fit and somewhat rambunctious fellow from hurting himself, I pulled his shoes. I figured he'd be a little bit foot sore, and this would slow him down. Wow, have I ever been wrong about that! It's been four weeks, we're back riding, and he's walking with me and the dogs and the goats (yes, I'm the crazy lady in my neighborhood) two plus miles every day. Our roads are hard-packed dirt. Since I started riding him again, it's just been around the neighborhood, so he's riding on these roads, too. And he's still barefoot. Hasn't shown the least sign of foot-soreness yet.
When I bought Hoss, I had glimmering hopes he'd be a barefoot horse for me. He is, after all, a Mustang, and they are known for good feet. Unfortunately, it was not to be. While in training, he developed a pretty major case of toe sore. So sore, in fact, that he nearly sat down like a dog when I applied pressure with my thumbs. On went the shoes. I've continued to shoe him up until now simply because it's been easier. I did try one other time to take him back to barefoot, but it was unsuccessful.
The lack of success in our previous attempt to return to barefoot is what caused me to conclude that he'd be foot sore when I pulled the shoes this time. I am pleasantly surprised with his progress. Every day I wait to see some sign he's starting to get sore, but it hasn't happened. We're coming up on five weeks now, and I'm beginning to think I should trim his feet. Like most horses, he's a little toed in, and has worn his feet such that the inside is higher than the outside on the fronts. His hinds look great. I'm a little hesitant to mess with them since he's doing so well, but that can't last forever with the inside toe flare appearing. Besides, it's just about killing me not to do anything with them.
I'm in the process of getting a set of boots for Hoss now. I've decided that things have gone so well that it's worth it. I'm going to get him Gloves. I like them. They're easy and form fitting, and since I am the farrier, the necessity of fiddling regularly with the feet is no problem.
So, there we are. The farrier has gone off her nut and is gonna use boots!