You Said It: Shoes, boots, bare­foot…what your horse prefers.

Shoes? Boots? Bare­foot? You tell us what keeps your horse most com­fort­able.

Horse & Rider - - Table Of Contents -

Igrew up in the South where our horses went bare­foot over the soft ground. Now I live in Colorado with a flat­footed mare, and the harsh, rocky ground de­mands that she wear shoes.

Anna Dominy, Colorado

My two 20-plus mares have been bare­foot since they came to me, and the young ones I bred have never been shod. Nat­u­ral bare­foot trims keep them com­fort­able and healthy in the pas­ture, in the ring, or on the trail. Carmel Ann Sperti,

New York

At age 14, my Quar­ter Horse/warm­blood cross, Bubba, was de­ter­mined to need front shoes be­cause of a lame­ness is­sue. He’s been sound since and I love the sound he makes com­ing down the con­crete isle. “Fancy show horse com­ing through” has been called out a few times! Amanda Ro­man,


My 22-year-old mus­tang mare, Classy, has never worn shoes. If I go on rocky dirt roads, we use hoof boots. When I bought my geld­ing Sun­down in ru­ral Penn­syl­va­nia in 1960, there weren’t any far­ri­ers. I rode many miles on grass in the moun­tains and was for­tu­nate he had good hooves. Some horses, though, do re­quire shoes. I’ve had to shoe some of mine in the past for sup­port.

Fran Drawdy Waite, Rhode Is­land

The whole bare­foot thing seems like a lot of has­sle to me. It’s just eas­ier keep­ing my boys (both Quar­ter Horses) in shoes. Taylor Shenk, Ok­la­homa

Tried bare­foot, but it didn’t work with my tall, large-bod­ied, small-footed Paint mare. Well-main­tained shoes keep her sound and happy. Daryn Bryant, Texas

My gam­ing horse wears shoes on his front feet from spring to fall. In win­ter he goes bare­foot. (And when I ride him, I al­ways out­fit him in his pro­tec­tive leg­wear, plus bell boots.)

Sum­mer Vagts, Min­nesota

I’ve learned a bare­foot trim suit­able for rid­ing isn’t the same thing as a pas­ture trim, and now I have four horses with healthy, bare feet. I wish I’d dis­cov­ered all this sooner. Betsy Anne Jansen,


My geld­ing, a race­bred Quar­ter Horse, wore shoes. Then he de­vel­oped ouchy symp­toms that hinted at nav­ic­u­lar is­sues. I found a hoof- care prac­ti­tioner who came highly rec­om­mended, and she’s kept Bronzer sound for sev­eral years now—bare­foot.

Linda Bren­nen, Cal­i­for­nia

Ihave three horses, two trained and one in the process. All of them wear shoes all around and seem to do well that way.

Chris David­son, Ore­gon

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