🐴Metal horse shoes are so ‘YESTERDAY’!💤

shoes vs hoof boots

Move over Mr Metal Shoe here come the new kids on the block!!

Get your FREE in depth article “Scientific proof that hoof boots are an improvement on metal shoes”
➡️ https://bit.ly/2DpOavq

As the Editor of The Barefoot Horse Magazine I might be a bit bias, so lets take a look at some of the general pros and cons of shoes vs boots.

👉The PROS of why HOOF BOOTS are BETTER than SHOES:

– Hoof boots do not invade the hoof capsule, unlike nails to secure the metal shoe to the hoof

– Shoes (and nails) always do cause a degree of deterioration of the hoof capsule over time e.g. contraction, distortion, reduction in circulation, cracking, whereas hoof boots have no such effect on the hoof capsule

– Hoof boots can be easily put on and taken off whenever the owner feels the horse needs protection, giving the owner far more control over their horse’s comfort; shoes are fixed and can only be removed and replaced by the farrier

– After the initial outlay, hoof boots are far more economical than shoes, as the owner can put them on and off without cost, totally free, unlike shoes which have a cost implication at all times

– Being made of metal & because they are worn continuously, shoes deteriorate much faster than the tough composite materials in hoof boots, meaning boots last far far longer than shoes, and can be used over and over again

– Hoof boots can be measured, purchased and fitted by the owner, shoes always need a farrier

– Hoof boots have been proven to reduce impact and therefore reduce wear and tear on the joints of the horse, shoes have been proven to increase concussive forces and therefore cause & continue to exacerbate joint/tendon issues (see FREE article download below)

– The majority of shoes are heavier than boots

👉The PROS of why SHOES are BETTER than BOOTS – to the owner:

– Shoes need little to no attention by the owner, they are the farriers domain and the owner has very little input

– Some owners think shoes allow horses to ‘grip’ (but this has been proven to be no more or less of a reality to either barefoot or booted horses)

– The owner has to make sure the boot fits correctly, with shoes this is up to the farrier

👉The CONS of both SHOES and BOOTS:

– Shoes and boots can both come off. If a shoe comes off then the horse is often very footsore and the horse is out of action until the farrier can return. If a boot comes off, other than the fact it has to be put back on again, a barefoot horse has the ability of going bare!

It doesn’t matter how many times these points are discussed, there will always be those who believe shoes are better and refuse to believe boots are any good and of course vice versa.

However, one thing is for sure, the hoof boot industry is absolutely booming, manufacturers are developing new boots all the time, and therefore that can only mean one thing….the shoeing industry is on the decline.

If you want to go barefoot but are worried about your horse ‘coping’, then booting is now a real and better alternative to metal shoes.

But don’t take my word for it….we have a great free article for you, showing some scientific research & data, proving without a shadow of a doubt that hoof boots are an improvement on metal shoes.

⭐️Get this FREE article “Proof that hoof boots are an improvement on metal shoes” by clicking here
➡️ https://bit.ly/2DpOavq

Happy Booting everyone!

Lindsay, Editor

Bare, Booted or Shod? 🤔

There are times, many times, when a ‘non barefoot enthusiast’ utters the disgruntled and immortal words ‘booted isn’t barefoot!’. To this I sigh and smile politely before I deliberate whether or not I should enter into the often lengthy and emotive subject of the difference between bare, booted and shod.

Well, as barefoot ‘enthusios’ we know, that there’s nothing healthier and indeed more beautiful than a bare hoof on a horse. Owners often marvel with me, some many months down the line after taking their horse’s shoes off, at just how amazingly different their horse’s feet look ‘now’ compared to ‘then’. But going barefoot is way, way more than just aesthetics.

During transition or rehab, on the road to the ‘healthy hoof’, completely going bare may not be possible at that time. This is where the boot comes into its own. Also, in the realms of tough equine sports, such as endurance, where you would think barefoot would be least likely to take off, it’s growing rapidly, aided and abetted by the advent of the boot. Endurance horses often cover great distances far exceeding what they would be apt to do in a natural wild environment and therefore further protection is often needed, take the gruelling Tevis Cup in the US for example, with barefoot & booted competitors year on year taking the tops spots.

So boots are a reality. A well fitted boot never impedes the natural hoof mechanism. It is neither invasive nor constrictive. It offers support and protection and affordability. In the UK, a full set of shoes ranges on average from £65-£150 (depending upon your location in the country) every 5-6 weeks. In one year alone that can mean a shoeing bill of well over £1200. Boots range from approximately £85-£250 per pair, depending on the make and size and there is also a thriving second hand market too. It doesn’t take a genius therefore to see that booting your horse is way more cost effective than shoeing, with boots lasting many times longer than shoes….years in lots of cases!

This brings me to one of the points of this post. One of the major differences between boots and shoes is that boots can easily be removed, put back on and removed again by the owner whenever they need to. When the horse returns from a ride the boots come off and the hoof is bare. I see so many horses who ride out or work less than 15 hours per week. That means that a vast majority of horses spend 153 hours a week lounging, resting & eating, not being ‘used’ by the human. For barefoot horses that’s 153 hours more contact with the ground than a shod horse in the same amount of work!

So this really brings us on to the third option for our horses feet – shoeing. If we further explore the previous calculations of 153 hours a week for bare horses in contact with the ground, most shod horses spend 100% of their ‘useful’ lives in shoes, changing them for a new set or reset every 5-6 weeks. So that’s 168 hours a week no matter whether they are doing work or not…that equates to 8,736 hours a year with absolutely no natural contact with the ground. The owner of course has no control over taking them on or off, they have to wait until the next visit from the farrier (if they happen to stay on that long and not all owners are conscientious enough to change them as often as they should!).

Nowadays an even more disturbing statistic is starting to arise. Many more horses now than ever before are spending 24/7, 365, year on year out shod…no rest or recuperation for the hoof. Most people who have been around horses for a long time will tell you that they remember a time when shoes used to be removed at least once a year for a significant amount of time to let the horse’s feet recover. Most farriers encouraged this practice and everyone involved agreed it helped the horse ‘last just that little bit longer’ in shoes.

Horses in today’s modern world are often subjected to shoes way before they have fully matured (maturity is approximately around 7 years of age) and are shod ‘back to back’ on just the fronts or increasingly on all four for the rest of their lives, whether they are in work, injured or retired. Even more worryingly now, is the big trend to using remedial shoeing techniques such as heart bar shoes as a ‘preventative’ to problems later on in life…this of course is unfounded and is symptomatic of the backlash to pathology which is wreaking havoc amongst our equines throughout the world. Shoeing ‘back to back’ is something which has become so common that owners are now becoming increasingly afraid of removing their horses shoes for fear of further damage purported by professionals with vested interests and for fear of reprisals from the tongues & prying eyes of their peers!

No-one wants to see a ‘footy’ horse tip-toeing across a yard, especially in front of those criticising eyes. But here is where questions need to be asked. Why is the horse ‘footy’? It is often a complete revelation to owners when they are told that their horse’s temporarily uncomfortable state is not just because they have had their shoes removed but because they have actually worn shoes and had a diet and management regime in the past which has caused the problem and deterioration of the hoof health in the first place (not to mention a myriad of other biomechanical issues – but that’s for another post!).

So, believe it or not, the future is looking brighter now than has ever been before for our equines. Yes there is huge political controversy surrounding barefoot vs shoeing, not least because there is a great deal of money invested in the shoeing industry and all the subsidiary businesses that support it. Yes horses are going lame earlier and are exhibiting more pathology than ever before…BUT and there is a big BUT… those of us committed to the barefoot healthier horse know that we are amongst some of the most forward thinking and innovative members of the equine community today. We are now able more than ever before, to educate ourselves on the whole health of the horse, instead of relying on tradition and convention to ‘see us through’. Barefoot owners are using their new found knowledge to propel the equine industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century and beyond. Turning their backs on old traditions and conventions which are now finally being scrutinised and questioned and gradually eroded.

Mark my words…with barefoot increasing at the rate it is doing today, in the next 10-15 years (or maybe even before) the world will witness a massive swing towards barefoot and booted horses and this will then be seen as the ‘norm’. The shoe, it’s nails and it’s detrimental toll it takes on the hoof and the horse, will be pushed into the annals of history as an interesting stop gap before the world caught up with innovation and educated themselves on the healthy barefoot horse.

Happy exciting barefoot & booted times!

Lindsay, Editor

Can you JUMP your horse BAREFOOT or BOOTED?

Jumping booted

Well the obvious straight answer to us here in the barefoot world is YES! 

But perhaps if you are contemplating taking your horse barefoot, you might be being put off from doing so because you are worried you won’t be able to carry on doing all the fun things you could do (or maybe ‘were’ doing) in shoes.

It is a rather bizarre notion that the completely accepted normal in the horse world is horses wearing shoes (or at least it ‘used’ to be). People shoe their horses because they feel that the shoes will give support, traction, protection and some even believe it gives their horse comfort. Well I’m not going to go into details about the multitude of problems shoes cause in this post, which of course out weigh any potential benefit there might have once been, but rather focus on all the positive examples of owners competing, hacking, trekking, eventing, doing dressage, endurance, western….and of course JUMPING their horses barefoot or booted.

Owners who truly believe that their horse needs shoes for jumping will tell you that it is ‘safer’ for a horse, they will be able to corner with more traction, land better, jump higher….the list goes on…but truly, if you are someone who believes this, then all I can say to you is you have never jumped around a course, whether indoors or outdoors, show jumping, cross country or eventing, on a sound, healthy barefoot horse.

Lets take one example (we have so many examples in the mag), a lady called Holly Coetzee, who jumps her horses regularly in competition, not only barefoot but bitless too. Holly has featured many times in our magazine and is an ambassador for what can truly be achieved with horses who were previously written off as no-hopers, taking them to winning heights over and over. Holly featured on the front of Issue 18 and Issue 14 and says inside:

“My boy was a superstar at the FBMA international showjumping cup in Abu Dhabi….with a clear including the Joker in the 1.10m accumulator class on day one…..Interesting to note we were competing on GRASS with guess what…? NO SHOES!! Every other horse was fully studded up. Food for thought eh?”

Holly sends us regular updates and we have one coming up in Issue 20 out on November 1st (pre-orders available very soon). Holly is just one example of so many owners we feature in the magazine every single issue, who are able to carry on and do more and often far better than ever before, barefoot. Not only is Holly doing well with her own horses, she’s such a shining example that she’s encouraging more to join her and compete alongside her & her horses, all barefoot and mostly bitless!

But what about booted? Can horses jump in boots? Won’t they come off, get in the way, cause the horse to slip, create more problems? Again perhaps the only way to allay all these fears is to feature people who are jumping barefoot in all different kinds of boots and again succeeding. These owners want to shout about it from the rooftops because so many others who think that nothing is better than shoes can’t believe (and often WON’T believe it’s possible).

In issue 15 rider Ingvild Surdal, from Norway, who rides her horse in Equine Fusions in both dressage and eventing tells us how she chose to keep her horses barefoot and booted because she experiences very little in the way of injuries on her horses as well as many other positive benefits, such as improved circulation in the feet which improves overall health of the horse.

Some of you are familiar with one couple we often feature in photos, Carl and his horse Pegasus who jump wearing Cavallo hoof boots…this talented pair prove without a shadow of a doubt that horses who jump in boots have absolutely no problem at all.

If you check out our Competing Update feature which appears in most of our issues (see the contents of each issue on the mag website to find out), you will see lots and lots of examples of owners jumping barefoot and booted, with both horse and rider truly loving what they are doing.

On a final note, Issue 20 as I mentioned earlier is going to be released on November 1st and in this issue we have and interview with 3 ladies all who jump in Scoot hoof boots. Some fabulous pictures and great content, so watch this space for pre-orders to make sure you don’t miss that issue.

And one more final final note…our printed issues are very popular so if you want to be absolutely sure to receive a printed copy of the mag, the best way is to subscribe as you will always have a printed copy reserved for you…ohterwise it’s take your chances or of course alternatively read the mags online – they look awesome on the net too!

Oh…and in Issue 20 we will be giving away a pair of Scoots and a pair of Cavallo’s to two lucky readers – so watch this space for pre-order info coming very soon!

Happy Jumping!

Lindsay, Editor

p.s. here are the links to the issues we have mentioned in this post:

Click here for Issue 14

Click here for Issue 15

Click here for Issue 18

Farriers having to stock hoof boots due to customer demand

Putting on a hoof boot

This article was published back in 2012 and even back then it was being suggested that if farriers were going to keep up with the demand of clients wanting to go barefoot, then the most discerning of them would have to start becoming more familiar with hoof boots and offer them as a real alternative to shoes.

Now 6 years later and the demand for hoof boots has never been higher. Manufacturers are becoming smarter at making boots which are even easier to get on and off, fit better, are more flexible, have better cushioning and protection, look cool, last longer and don’t cost the earth.

The fact that these manufacturers are all doing well just goes to prove that barefoot is not quite the niche ‘specialist’ market it used to be.

Find out all you need to know about hoof boots in every issue of the mag. Just look for Hoof Boot News by online hoof boot store @HoofBootique.

And don’t forget that in EVERY issue we give away a FREE PAIR of hoof boots to one or more lucky readers.

Barefoot horses are on the rise…which can only mean one thing…metal shoes are on the decline 👏👏

Here’s the link to the original article.

Happy Booting!

Lindsay, Editor