Thursday, November 26, 2009

Without shoes??

I recently visited a stable where the horses live outside in a loose housing system and wear no shoes. The horses all seemed extremely happy and calm. Still my own horse is boxed at night and wears shoes....

I feel ill at ease every time that I see horses that are stabled most of the day and kept in small paddocks. I do not believe that the exercise they get is enough, and am pretty sure that it is one reason why so many horses have such extensive health problems.

I am still somewhat of a middle man: I think that my own horse Masi has got it quite good walking around in a big pasture all day with his shoes on, and enjoying the rest in his big box at night. He can see the stars from his box by the way.....

There are many different views on shoelessness and horses. I have seen examples that both work and don't work well. I am still not sure what to think myself. I need to talk to more ferriers' and people that trim horses hooves, but I would especially need to meet more horses and see how it really works in the long run. What do you think about keeping horses without shoes? (In the picture my daughter Ella and a lovely shoeless horse).


  1. well, people don't normally walk without shoes outside either, do they? I would consider it as good protection. At least it makes sense to me.

  2. Hi! Thank you for your comment. This is definitely one way to think about it. Horses have been shod for a long time since we use them for many things extensively and it seems like the most natural thing to keep shoes on them (just like it seems natural for us to wear shoes).

    Shoelessness is however practiced more and more and seems to work for many horses. I would really long to get some more information about this. Let's see if I can get someone to write something about it on my blog....


  3. Well, perhaps you're right on that. Some thoughts on that that I found on the Internet.

    You know, before the horseshoe, there was the horse,and the horse not only survived, but thrived, multiplying and filling much of the earth, with no iron on his feet. In many places where the horse lived, the ground was harder, rockier, and drier than most domestic horses will ever see. Mares, stallions, and foals roamed further in a day than most of our beloved equine companions travel in a week - and they did it barefoot. If the hoof is an evolutionary weak point, the Spanish horses that escaped or were turned loose in North America centuries ago would have struggled for survival; instead, these mustangs numbered in the millions.

    So when and why did we start nailing iron to our horses′ hooves? We can debate the horseshoe′s origin all we want, but it matters only because many of today′s horse owners truly believe that their horses simply cannot go without shoes.
    But maybe they can.

    Nature created a marvelous structure in the hoof, and there is a growing awareness that this hoof is capable of impressive accomplishments. It can cut, rein, jump, rope, trail ride, and drive. It performs exquisite, subtle dressage movements and races anything from barrels to endurance rides. All without added iron.

    In addition, some conventionally shod horses who are chronically lame are finding renewed usefulness and comfort without shoes. Their hooves gradually heal as the hoof regains its natural form through quality trimming and natural horse keeping practices.

    In the end, there will still be the horse. Without shoes.

  4. Hi! I really like these thoughts that you found. Especially "In the end, there will still be the horse. Without shoes." I will still try to get someone to write more about shoelessness on the blog, but until then it is very nice to hear of your thoughts!


  5. Well Our little fellow has now been shoeless for three days. We seems to get a new horse. Lets see when the time goes.