Monday, January 31, 2011

Barefoot Performance Horses

A gorgeous FEI level mare with no shoes! Photo:
 I must say that I love hearing about performance barefoot horses. Most people I talk to think that barefoot is just for pasture ponies and they would never consider de-shoeing their prize "dressage/hunter/western pleasure/fill in the blank".

A barefoot eventer. Photo:

 The reality is that with a competent barefoot trimmer, your horses will be much happier without shoes and if they do get tender on rocks, then hoof boots are a much less expensive and less invasive option to shoeing.

I am a regular reader of the Barefoot Horse Blog (go check it out, she's a great trimmer who focuses on the whole package, not just the hoof, and I love seeing all of the horses that she fixes before and after) and today I ran across two other blogs for barefoot performance horses, which just made me really happy.

Rockley Farms - super educational, has detailed posts on shoeing vs barefoot and well illustrated posts on rehab horses.

Tekes Tally-Ho! - an Akal-Teke breeder who has beautiful barefoot, natural horsemanship trained, eventing Akhal-Teke's. I don't think that you could argue with them that their horses aren't comfortable being barefoot or would be better in shoes :)

Upon further searching, I uncovered a multitide of blogs and websites about barefeet. Below are a few of those, but there are even more! There is so much information out there about the benefits of going barefoot. I think the only issue is finding a good natural hoof trimmer...

Hoofcare Unlimited
Barefoot Hoofcare
Healthy Hooves
Hoof Sculpture
The Horse's Hoof - Barefoot Performance

All of my horses have been barefoot, originally just because I wasn't competing and Grady was pastured so in the winter the mud would have sucked his shoes right off, but over the years I've come to prefer barefoot. All four of my horses have great rockcrunchers with only Jetta ever getting a little tender, but we're improving!

A barefoot English Pleasure horse. Photo:

One more site that talks about performance barefoot is Eventing-A-Gogo, Andrea made the decision to go barefoot and Gogo has done so well at eventing as a barefoot girl :)
The amazing Gogo


  1. I know that this post is from awhile back, but still...
    I think it is super neat that you keep your horses barefoot! I mainly do parades, trails, and low level dressage and have had great success with keeping my Fjord mare barefoot. Her hooves are rock solid and the barefoot trimmer says they are the some of the best hooves out of all the horses she trims. I just stick a pair of EasyBoots on her front hooves if the terrain is abnormally rocky and we are set to go. She has never once gotten bruised soles or been lame. Are your horses strictly barefoot or do you ever stick hoof boots on them?

    1. Yeah, I do use boots on Jetta. All of my other horses have all had amazing feet and I tended to avoid super large rocky areas. With Jetta, if I'm riding on tough rock I'll boot her on front and then if I'm competing in endurance where it's rocky I'll boot all four just because I don't want her to be sore at the end. She has pretty flat feet, but tends to feel ok walking on gravel I just want to give her a little extra protection when trotting or cantering.