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Q: I pull my horse’s shoes when he’s not in hard work and in the winter. However, his feet seem sore even after a few weeks of going barefoot. He mostly lives on pasture turnout unless the weather is really bad, and is in good health and weight. The ground hasn’t frozen for the winter yet, so it’s only firm in certain places, although when we have to cross gravel he is even more sensitive. Is this normal and OK? Or should I keep shoes on him year-round even when he’s not being ridden?
A: When a horse has been in shoes for a while, at least part of the year, he is used to having protection for his soles. When you pull his shoes off, it is not unexpected to see some initial tender-footedness. For some horses, this could take even several months to abate. It is important for your farrier to trim for the barefoot horse and not take as much off as he might if the horse were going to be shod.
Finish reading “Barefoot Horses and Sore Hooves”
Further Reading on Common Hoof Problems
◆ Don’t Obsess Over a Hoof Abscess
◆ Stomp Out Thrush
◆ Ask the Vet: Sore Hooves after a Trim
◆ Treating Laminitis
◆ Ask the Vet: Cushing’s Disease and Cracked Hooves
◆ Video: White Line Disease
◆ Video: Thrush in the Equine Hoof
◆ Video: Under Run Heels