FAQ Barefoot Horses

Frequently Asked Questions

Barefoot Horse Management

See also: Barefoot and Shoeing

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Q. Will my horse (or pony) cope without shoes?

A. Most horses and ponies are capable of living without shoes, depending upon the ground, stabling, work required and previous shoeing technique. However, in some it is easier to convert to barefoot than others. Care is needed and it is important to take feedback from the individual animal and proceed accordingly. Some horses require an ‘on-off' period of acclimatization to managing without shoes. Others, usually older animals that have never been without shoes in their working lives, may find the process too difficult. The AVMC advises trying at least part of the year without shoes, in order to allow the foot to regain a degree of normal function during that period.

Q. Why go barefoot?

A. A wide spectrum of foot problems can be helped in the long term by allowing the foot to behave more naturally and to enjoy more natural circulation and pressures. However, the process must be carried out without prejudice to the horse's welfare.

Q. Which barefoot doctrine should I adopt?

A. At the AVMC, we do not adhere to any particular doctrine nor do we recommend or discourage any particular doctrine. We advocate following a process, in each case, that is horse-friendly and that is suited to the individual horse. Ongoing care must be dictated by the individual's responses.

Q. Is it safe?

A. Barefoot management is as safe for horses and ponies as any other intervention, including shoeing, if it is carried out with sensitivity to the needs and responses of the individual concerned. Blind adherence to a particular doctrine is not advocated, owing to the possibility of overriding this important provision.

See also: Barefoot and Shoeing

If you have questions not answered here, please let us know (contact details)

Back to main FAQ