Why barefoot

Tosca the thoroughbred before we knew about the marquis supergrip hoofboots in canter on the sand arena
Here is Tosca, a thoroughbred, on the sand arena. That was in December 2014, before we knew about the marquis hoofboots. He had some trouble with his hooves on sand and shoeing didn’t provide satisfactory conditions for him. Now with the marquis supergrips, he even maintains a nice spring on harder ground. He is 16.1h and wears Size 2 in the front and in the back.

The marquis®supergrip hoofboot supports the barefoot horse. The barefoot horse may need hoofboots when ridden on sand (sand is very abrasive and wears down the hoof quickly) or over rough terrain. Also on hard ground, the marquis hoofboot protects the legs and hooves through shock absorption. There are also many therapeutic purposes the marquis hoofboot can be used for as is or modified for, but that is a topic for another post.

But why keep the horse barefoot? Andrew Bowe, master farrier, provides a summary of some of the issues. He says that horses’ feet are shod to protect the soft inner structures of the hoof, but by doing this, all of the other functions of the equine foot are compromised. In brief, by keeping the horse barefoot, we want to protect the following functions of the hoof:

  • Its capacity to absorb concussion
  • Free blood and lymph circulation
  • The stay apparatus (to allow for a healthy standing position e.g. while sleeping) (foot wear and condition can impact the muscles which in turn balance each other to support the limbs to minimise effort needed to stand up)
  • The natural self-protective capabilities of the hoof (when shod, the hoof becomes increasingly dependent on shoeing)

Find more information on see http://barehoofcare.com/. Andrew offers regularly workshops for carers of horses to learn about hooves and barefoot care. He is also one of the driving forces behind the Australian College of Equine Podiotherapy in Victoria. They offer the only Nationally Accredited Hoof Care Diploma Course in Australia spreading the growing knowledge about hooves and hoof care.

Last updated 22.3.1017