When I brought Annie home she had a lot of stuff going on with her feet… Namely that she had front racing shoes on her hind feet… We ended up pulling her hind shoes to give her some breathing room and we kept front shoes on to help support a better shape. When I moved to Nashville I was able to pull her shoes through the winter until this past cycle. Unfortunately with more work and our trail riding adventures farrier thought shoes would help with the wear and tear she was having.
Houston is an entirely different story. When I bought Houston he had never had shoes on. He remained barefoot for awhile after I brought him home and then eventually ended up with shoes all around. For the past year and a half I am not sure exactly what program he was on but he came home with shoes on up front and was still growing out a abscess hole. I pulled his shoes and decided to let him be for a little bit. His feet have honestly been holding up alright and I would love for him to stay barefoot given the work that is being asked of him. He is rarely ridden more than 3-4 days a week and he is not asked to do that much compared to what he used to do.
I debated having the farrier keep his front shoes on but after discussion I really feel that his feet will grow out and recover better without shoes. He is inside during the heat of the day and shouldn’t be stomping or pawing in a way that causes more damage to his hoof (originally I was planning to keep him on pasture). I am hoping to get his feet stronger over the next few months and that we can reevaluate closer to August. How do you all decide on shoes? Don’t like them? Only put shoes on for specific work levels? I imagine that at some point Annie may need shoes all around but for now I know that my wallet is rejoicing in the fact that I only have 2 shoes on the 8 possible hooves that I am responsible for!