Transitioning to Barefoot

This topic contains 61 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  jan_kast 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    I wonder what the Dorrance brothers would have to say about “ALL horses CAN go barefoot.” Only Buck Brannaman is still alive–anybody know what he thinks? Generalizing about horses is risky. My point: horses WOULD be better off if they could all go barefoot, but not all of them can. As Pheets observed earlier, humans keep tinkering with them, whether it’s to feed them so they mature early, or to breed them for coat color, or speed, or the ability to jump, or for animation, or pretty heads. As long as horses have been domesticated, they have also worn some kind of hoof protector, whether it was rawhide (in China, I believe), or metal. They have also had bits in their mouth. Have you also thought about the fact that humans riding horses in the first place is not “natural”? Neither is keeping a horse confined, whether it’s in a stall or a pasture. Where do you draw the line?

    ottbrider Original Poster ottbrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 33

    Horses are incredibly accepting. While we were never meant to actually ride them, they’ve accepted that we do- as they accept everything we do to them- even if it hurts or injures their body. Horses are prey animals so thy live to avoid pressure in any way possible. I do what I can to keep my horses as natural as possible while I still enjoy them. A big, open pasture with other horses, good grass hay that’s low in sugar and has no alfalfa (alfalfa is very bad for horses), bare feet, and bitless. Horses can live naturally in captivity. If we do out part to create a life that’s as close to ideal as possible (no stalls; no shoes; no bits or mechanics; not shaving or pullin manes, whiskers, or ears; not blanketing them, etc) they can live as natural horses domesticated while we still enjoy riding them! 🙂 I’m a firm believer in natural horsemanship and that there’s no exception or excuse why any horse can’t be natural. The guy I learn from is not a clinician or an exhibitionist and he’s not a public figure. He ha a website and a YouTube and he shares his knowledge and insight for those who are interested in learning:) he doesn’t have products and he doesn’t charge people to view his website. His name is Rick Gore and he’s quite an amazing horseman! He’s funny too! Natural horsemanship is amazing when done right and it creates a happy, healthy horse! My mare had tons of medical problems and after I switched to natural horsemanship, it all disappeared! She’s healthy again and is very willing!:)

    No horse is incapable of learning- riders are just incapable of teaching

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Thanks for taking my questions seriously, ottbrider. I have a passion for lifelong learning, particularly about horses. So I will look up this guy. I agree with you on a number of issues–no shaving manes, whiskers, or especially ears, and no blanketing unless it’s medically warranted–but not all of them. Thanks for giving us Rick Gore’s name.

    ottbrider Original Poster ottbrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 33

    No problem!:) I love sharing my thoughts and hearing others thoughts! Rick can come off as rude or “sexist” but he’s just pokin fun at the sensitive people who complain to him lol just remember I keep an open mind when and be able to laugh at yourself while watching his videos:) his YouTube channel name is “Think Like A Horse”

    No horse is incapable of learning- riders are just incapable of teaching

    naturalpasture
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 61

    In addition to Rick Gore, another great trainer that does things naturally (including bitless) is Missy Wryn. I really like her approach to training. It is very gentle method and she really aims for the horse to enjoy the training.

    ottbrider Original Poster ottbrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 33

    Ooh I’ll have to check her out! Thanks!

    No horse is incapable of learning- riders are just incapable of teaching

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    ottbrider, what makes you say that alfalfa is “very bad” for horses? It’s high in protein because it’s not a grass hay–it’s a legume, like clover. Does clover grow in your pasture? Many of us who keep a horse in order to trail ride don’t feed alfalfa because it’s high-energy. I have always fed my trail horses a small amount of alfalfa with a large amount of grass hay. Timothy used to be my first choice. Now that good-quality timothy is hard to find, I feed orchard grass. Since alfalfa tastes good to horses (better than grass hay), I also keep some cubes on hand in case I have to medicate a horse. When you add water, the the cubes make a great mash that you can add the medication to, and the horse will usually eat it. Add some apple sauce and the horse will definitely eat it.

    ottbrider Original Poster ottbrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 33

    There’s a lot of reasons but the main one for me is the area I live. Arizona weather makes it too risky to feed alfalfa. It’s too hot and alfalfa doesn’t settle in the belly so it doesn’t drag sand out with it when it passed through the gut. Grass settles in the belly and drags the sand out with it. Rick Gore explains better why alfalfa is bad but the main reason for me is the area where I live 🙂

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by ottbrider ottbrider.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by ottbrider ottbrider.

    No horse is incapable of learning- riders are just incapable of teaching

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Part of the reason Carmagirl was such a handful when I bought her was the alfalfa in her diet. It’s jet fuel, not necessarily great for a trail horse, unless it is for endurance or otherwise heavy work. Once I eliminated the alfalfa, put her on timothy hay, she became so much more sensible, so much easier to work with, I often wonder if her previous owners had tried this simple adjustment if they could have ever parted with her. I know I can’t. Diet makes a big difference. OTOH, racehorses and performances horses need alfalfa for the amount of energy they burn. I didn’t know that about sand colic and alfalfa, but there are supplements which can help with that if someone needs to have alfalfa hay. Our NC coastal region is very sandy, horses raised there don’t have a problem with sand colic, but it takes careful vigilance to import a horse to that area. We have wild banker horses on the outer banks, talk about eating sand!

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Thanks, you two. In my experience, Feeding alfalfa to trail horses depends a lot on how often and how hard you ride, the horse’s own metabolism, and price. My first nice horse was a registered QH/TB. I rode him whenever I could, all over the place, usually bareback. He ate straight alfalfa hay, which was a good thing for my budget because alfalfa is grown throughout much of rural Southern California–it’s cheap and high quality. Then I got married (mistake) and all three of us moved to NH. There he had grass hay. Since he wasn’t in my backyard, I don’t know what kind. I do know that there was no noticeable difference in his behavior. He was always attentive, always kind, always forgave me for stupid mistakes. My first ASB gelding was the same–he ate straight alfalfa. He was flightier than my TB cross gelding, but that was his nature. Those times I had to board him, he usually got grass hay and was still flighty. When I went to San Diego to ride Scout, HE was on straight alfalfa, and his owner was able to take him from his pen to the main stable, without longing him, and go for a trail ride. Once he was home, I bought a couple of bales to wean him off it in favor of timothy or orchard grass. Again–no difference in behavior. The only horse that got high on alfalfa (even if I fed her mainly grass hay) was Prim, my old ASB mare that I had to put down last summer. Maybe it’s a girl thing?

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Joan,
    Could be a mare thing – could be a paso thing as they are already hot blooded with easy-keeper metabolisms. That combo doesn’t lend itself to alfalfa. The prices are reversed in the Southeast as alfalfa can cost upwards of $12/bale and is not locally grown. Timothy is $8/bale. I feed fescue/orchard grass at $5/bale. However if I went back into endurance riding, I’d put some alfalfa cubes back into her diet and take my lumps.

    Saw a pretty sight on my trail ride this morning. We were on a new trail and the dirt road went by a farm with a chestnut ASB mare in the field. Mischief did his “Just look at my muscles” prance for her. She was nonplussed by us, but she was a beauty so I told him “Nice try!” LOL.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Mapale, what a nice thing to say! Thank you!

    Are you serious about those PRICES?!?!?! I will answer the rest of your post on Our Horses, Their Stories. We are seriously off topic. ottrider, I’m sorry for highjacking your thread! Good luck with your mare and her barefoot journey!

    Sadie Sadie
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 13

    Boots area god way to adjust your horses feet to going without shoes. it allows the hoof to strenghten especcially if you give supplements. if you are worried about jumping her at higher levels without shoes i would recommend getting some caveletti jumping boots.

    “There is something about jumping a horse over a fence, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it's the risk, the gamble. In any event it's a thing I need.”William Faulkner

    OTTBEndurance
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    As an endurance rider that rides barefoot OTTBs, it’s endearing to see more and more OTTB owners realizing that their horses can indeed be barefoot. Just because our horses were subjected to shoes at a young age, their hooves can and do heal. Some horses take longer than others.

    If you’re not already feeding a good hoof supplement, please consider one. I have tried quite a few and keep coming back to Farrier’s Formula.

    sue_paca
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I found that even with my most hard-hooved Arabian mare who went barefoot most of her life, jumping in sand arenas squared off her toes too much. I would personally never jump in any type of hoof protection boots as horses step on them and go down, especially when jumping or riding a good mover in dressage. What worked for me with lighter jumping was painting the toes and soles with a hoof hardening product the shoer carried and recommended – worked well if I did it once a week.

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