Not all horses need a set of shoes, but there are times we might take the horses shoes off or if a horse is working on a surface a lot you might keep the front shoes on and the back shoes off.
A paddock trim is what your farrier might do if you have a brood mare or some horses have hard enough horn in the walls of their feet that they can go without shoes. When you are thinking of doing this, it is a good idea to chat with your farrier as not all horses are good in this situation.
There used to be a part shoe called a grass tip which used to be used when you turn a horse away. Now, we tend to turn a horse out with front shoes on, as the grass tips could cause a problem with cracking where you might have two toe clips.
Some horses are great without shoes and it suits them really well. Above you can see a horse with very strong hooves. Some get abscesses a lot and it is better for them to have their shoes on. When it comes down to it, all horses are individuals and you might want to go down the natural root, but depending on your horse you need to do what helps your horse.
As we explained in the post about hot shoeing a farrier is trained for over five years and he or she has to take into consideration the structure of the horse or pony and their bio-mechanics. There are also Barefoot trimmers who have been on a course and have worked with trained individuals but, might not have worked as long as a farrier has.
I would take off a horse’s shoe if it was in a problem, but I would never in 35 plus years of working in around horse every think I could trim a horse’s hoof. In writing this blog I have looked at both a farrier and their paddock trims and barefoot trimmers. I know that some barefoot trimmers have done some good work, but I have to trust the farriers I have worked with and I have also know people that have wanted to go down the natural root with their horses and ended up back with the traditional farrier.
It is a personal choice, but at the end of the day it is what is best for your horse. Most farriers will come out to your horse every four to six weeks and a barefoot trimmer tends to come out every four weeks. Some ponies have been known to go eight weeks, this again depends on the horse or pony, but six weeks due to hoof growth tends to be the norm.
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