Back in November, I snapped a few pictures of my super-awesome farrier, Chad Tuttle, at work shaping Lila’s shoes. By such “hot shoeing,” the farrier gets a better fit than he would otherwise.
I vastly prefer to allow a horse to go barefoot if possible. The horse’s hoof still needs to be trimmed by the farrier every eight weeks, but that’s a much faster and much cheaper process than shoeing. Plus, if the unshod horse kicks man or beast, that might hurt, but it’s not likely to do any serious damage. When the shod horse kicks man or beast, that’s likely to require medical attention.
However, sometimes the horses do require shoes to protect their feet, despite those downsides. Last summer, Lila’s soles were sore. The moment that we put on shoes, she became a vastly better horse — far more forward and free in her movements than she’d ever been. I put shoes on Elsie then too because she’d worn her feet down and gotten quite sore. We just pulled Elsie’s shoes off last week: her feet had grown out, the ground is reasonably soft now, and I’m not riding her much. Still, if she wears her feet down too much, she’ll be back in shoes when the farrier returns at the end of May!
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