Now that my horse Skippy has been barefoot for eight months, I finally feel like I can look back and reflect on my decision, the transition process, and the outcome. Overall, I feel this is one of the best decisions I have ever made for my horse but it most definitely was not as easy as I expected. We encountered many different bumps along the way but I am happy to say that he is barefoot and sound today.
It only took me eight years to figure out that shoes were not working for my horse; during those eight years we struggled with abscesses, contracted heels, and various unexplained soundness issues. Upon the recommendation of my veterinarian, I did some research on barefoot trimming and decided that it was probably the best thing for the long-term soundness of my horse. Despite all of my research, nothing could have prepared me for my upcoming journey with the barefoot transition.
False sole, just one of the few “bumps” along the road.
The most shocking thing about the entire transition process was the initial amount of pain my horse experienced immediately after pulling his shoes. I knew that he would be sore after pulling his shoes, however, I was not at all prepared for him to be in so much pain that he did not even want to leave his stall and could barely walk. I was shocked to say the least and it was at that point I reluctantly began shopping for hoof boots. Why reluctantly? To be honest, I did not think that boots were going to help my near-crippled horse. Boy was I wrong! The hoof boots made a world of difference, my horse could actually walk again. To alleviate pain, Skippy wore boots 24/7 for the first three months of his transition. After the first three months I only booted when I rode and now, eight months barefoot, Skippy is arena sound without boots and I only need them on the trail to prevent hoof breakage.
In summary, it has been a long road transitioning to barefoot but I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I feel confident that I have selected the best option for my horse’s soundness. If you are considering transitioning your horse, my advice would be to do your research, hang in there, and be patient- it is worth it in the end.
As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I am a strong believer in the benefits of barefoot and am currently transitioning my own horse.