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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Regarding barefoot

If you have a few extra moments today, check out this post here.

It's a very candid post about going barefoot, making the best decision for the horse, and analyzing where things may have gone wrong. I throughly enjoyed it.


  1. You're right, very well-written, and it's an interesting post and very applicable to endurance horses in one way that she didn't mean it to be applicable:

    At the end of the post, when she was talking about a (hypothetical) horse who had been supplemented, injected, padded, specially shod...etc...the one thing that wasn't done to the (hypothetical) horse was GIVE IT TIME OFF.

    I agree that barefoot can be a good option for a lot of horses. We have research and equipment (like hoof boots) available to us now that makes a lot of options possible that were not viable even a few years ago.

    However, I have become an even bigger fan of Time Off and even Retirement when it comes to maintaining a sound horse.

    It's hard to stop competing. I know that. But sometimes the alternative is a horse who is foot-sore, muscle-sore, and brain-sore. I've seen that kind of soreness become permanent. I just wonder how much of it could have been prevented by staying home for a year. It's not a solution that competitors like to consider, but we really should consider it a lot sooner than many of us have in the past.

    I've got my horse barefoot now, and am working on fitting boots to her properly. We will probably return to steel shoes in the spring, because I know it's a good solution for her. The other mare in my pasture may stay barefoot for the rest of her life, because that's a good solution for her. We retired that other mare from competition because she was starting to lose soundness, and we wanted her to to retain soundness for trail work, if not competition. The decisions at our place have to be made case-by-case. I think that's better, actually.

    Keep thinking, Mel. You're doing a good job with it!

  2. Mel!!! THANK YOU for linking that. I've never seen Gogo before, and I really really enjoyed visiting there. That post was very well thought out, and even had my ever cynical husband nodding along in agreement!

    Thank you again Mel!

    And Happy New Year! May there be many many trail miles for you with nekkid hooves!

  3. In a couple of days I have a post coming up on Farley's latest melt down, which occured at our last lesson. In the meantime she's had 2 weeks off. She was ridden once in that time on the trail, the day after the melt down.

    voila! I had a SUPER horse today. Responsive, soft, interested. 2 weeks was exactly what she needed.

    I rarely give extended time off (more than just a day here and there) because envitably a time comes in my life where I have to ignore my horse for 2-3 weeks to deal with other issues. These time periods come along regularly enough that she ends up with a good amount of "vacation" time. However, I have to keep in mind if life is good, she still needs her vacation!

  4. Thank you Mrs. Mom :) You would not believe how many blogs I read every day (66+) so when I see something exceptional, I try to share.

  5. Hey Mel, is Farley one of those horses who "thinks about stuff" during her vacation time, and then comes back having conquered (or improved) whatever stumbling blocks were in place before?

    From your comments, I'm starting to think that she might be--lucky you!

  6. Thanks for sending us over to Gogo's blog - it was very well written and I enjoyed it a lot. I'm pretty sure her follower count rose significantly today thanks to you!

  7. AareneX - I'm not sure. Maybe. It seems like it huh? Since she's only my second horse I only have Minx to compare her to. After signficant time off, Minx went back to square one so I'm always a little shocked how good Farley is.

    I'm doing some posts on her latest melt down and the subsequent time off. I end up concludig that every 9-12 weeks she needs ~2 weeks off. I think that will strike the balance between needing regular work and also needing vacation. I might give her time off even mroe often if she starts to get crabby again....

  8. Thanks for the kind comments Mel - and for shooting down that crazy Jennifer person! And yea, my followers totally just rose - like 10 more people! I'm up to 133 now, holy CRAP!


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