Frequently Asked Questions

Can my horse go barefoot?

The short answer is it depends! Most horses can go barefoot, however, this is dependent on a number of factors. Some horses can come straight out of shoes and will be sound and happy from day one. Some horses will struggle on certain surfaces and some will struggle even on soft ground initially. The reasons for this are varied but can usually be overcome by looking at the other influencing factors of nutrition and environment etc. and providing a conditioning programme to carefully introduce the feet to being in contact with the ground as nature intended! There is no reason for your horse to be in pain throughout the process of transition. Hoof boots can be used with therapeutic pads if necessary to support the foot as it conditions and strengthens.
Keeping a horse barefoot is a commitment by the owner and is not always the easy option but, if you are able to make the necessary changes, your horses’ hooves will thank you for it!

What kind of conditions can Equine Podiatry help with?

Equine Podiatry can help with laminitis, navicular, under-run heels, side bone, ring bone, bull nose, white line disease, thrush and capsule shift to name just a few. If your horse is suffering with any of these conditions, and you would be interested in having a conversation to understand how it could help, please do get in touch.

What are the benefits of keeping a horse barefoot?

The horses hoof is a mechanical masterpiece and is designed to absorb shock and act as a spring to aid in locomotion. A shoe raises the frog off the ground which is an important part of the shock absorption system. It means that rather than being absorbed by a combination of the inner wall, white line, sole, frog and digital cushion as nature intended, all the shock and ground reaction force is focussed on the hoof wall.
Overtime, this can lead to weakened structures in the foot – the frog becomes small and contracted, the soles can become thinner and therefore more sensitive, the digital cushion can atrophy and weaken. All these together can, overtime, lead to conditions such as side bone, ring bone, navicular syndrome, under run heels and the list goes on. It’s important to state that not all shod horses will suffer from these conditions!