Why do well maintained shod horses often develop problem feet?
A skilled farrier trims a hoof to its optimum size and shape, but once the shoe is applied, the hoof is still growing and can’t wear away. Research has shown that excessive growth, for a variety of reasons, contributes significantly to lameness. Shod horses thus suffer the same adaptive “ailments” as those horses with untrimmed neglected hooves. Moreover, new research shows that the mere presence of the shoe subjects the hoof to unnatural and harmful concussions, sensory deprivation (and hypersensitivity when the shoes are removed), suppression of circulation, and pathological contraction. What about riding barefoot horses? Following the removal of their shoes, horses need time for their feet to toughen up for the barefoot life ahead. This period of adaptation varies with each horse and is called “transition”. Commonly, transitioning horses are custom fitted with quality horse boots so they can be ridden at any time. Fully transitioned horses are something to behold! They move with fre