I am so glad to tell you that I am finished with the traditional horse shoes. I´ve had a bad feeling in my stomach for some time, and it kept telling me that Moon needed a change.
You might remember my former horse, a Haflinger called Soraya? I made her barefoot after using the Norwegian jogging shoes on the front hoofs for a while. And it worked well since I could stop using them at all after some months. She was the perfect barefooted horse. (Just so sad that the new owner chose to put shoes on her again…)
Then I got Moon that has got two different types of front hoofs and very nice back feet. I was convinced that she needed to keep using the traditional iron horseshoes on the front legs, but my bad stomach feeling became stronger and stronger.
After taking off the back shoes the legs stopped swelling after training, and it seemed like a small miracle. The fact is that the iron shoe stops the bloodstream in the foot. Then I got talked into putting them back on after a while, and they became even more swollen than before! It was at that point I took a very strong decision. Stop with the traditional iron shoes!
They are not good for the horse´s health and I needed to get away from this bad habit. It doesn´t matter if people tell you that your horse´s breed or the colour of the hoofs makes it impossible to go barefoot. This is only bullshit!
Then I thought: I call the barefoot expert and ask for advice. He told me that I had been making a big mistake while trying to make the front feet become more similar and that I needed to see it all in a new way. Having two different hoofs is not a problem, it´s just natural for that horse!
So I decided to get rid of the iron shoes and I ordered a new set of horse boots instead. In two different sizes! I still remember how happy I was with riding barefoot, since you can even ride in the snow. Your horse can actually feel the ground and it feels more steady while you sit on them.
If I didn´t have all my former experience in this project, I would probably have been desperate by now. Moon is not able to use her back feet properly, and she is at this moment just standing in her paddock. But I know that transition takes time, and she had some signs of damage from hitting stones under the back hoofs. But I also know that before she gets better she needs to get worse.
The hardest thing for me is that there are so many ignorant people in the horse environment. I find it easier to explain a person without any knowledge about horses than talking to a horse person about this theory. Why is it like that?
Well, a horse person has many kinds of experiences with horses, and of course, you need to manage the transition period before your horse will work well barefoot. If the horse owner is not patient and smart, he might just give up and go back to the old habit of iron shoes. It´s a fast solution but it will shorten the horse´s life and destroy the health.
If the horse person is not interested in investing in a pair of good horse boots the transition period might become impossible. He might not be able to ride his horse at all for many months and that might make him go back to iron shoes.
The first step is finding a good barefoot trimmer that will follow up your horse in the future. The second step is finding a pair of practical horse boots. I just got mine from Explora which is a Spanish brand. The third step is to stick to the plan and just wait until the new hoof will grow out. It might take a year before your horse is a fulfilled barefoot horse. The fourth step is to help you to survive: When other horse people are trying to convince you that you´re mad and a terrible horse owner, just laugh inside yourself and keep your mouth shut!
If you think about the fact that your horse will live much longer than their horses, then it´s worth it. Isn´t it?