Thursday, 5 November 2009

"Barefoot horses can't do roadwork!"

This was prompted by an email from a client; she was talking to her friend - whose horses "can't" go barefoot ;-) - and the friend said that my client's barefoot horse couldn't do roadwork. The friend was, obviously, speaking from her extensive experience...(!)

Its still a persistent myth, whereas the truth is that horses hooves benefit from roadwork, as long as they are healthy, as it provides great stimulus to the frog and digital cushion and actually promotes hoof growth.

The big worry for owners is usually "Will my horses' feet wear away?!?!!" Often they will be told that roadwork is the reason shoes were invented - and that without shoes their horses won't cope.

However, during Ride Bare, our long distance trek from North Wales to Exmoor, our horses were covering 18-23 miles per day and the vast majority of that was on stony tracks or roads. Normally, we do less roadwork than this, although several miles per day is commonplace for the horses here.

The reality is that a healthy horse's hoof will grow more than fast enough to cope with this level of wear. Its probably true that if your horse was regularly covering MORE than 25 miles PER DAY on roads then his hooves might not be able to cope - but then again, probably the rest of his body wouldn't either ;-)


cptrayes said...

I don't think MY body would cope, never mind the horse's !!


Anonymous said...

My mare could do with a good trim now and she's only 4 weeks from the last!! That's with regular riding on roads too! Hacking her to new home at weekend, about 12 miles so that's going to be our first major test since going bare in May!


Nic Barker said...

Go for it Penny - and I bet after 12 miles she will still need a trim ;-)


Perils said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kellywelly said...

Well Dexter put him self up into canter when i was trotting up a fairly neven road today and thats the 3rd road ride this week!