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Discuss Horses w/ No Shoes Riding on Paved Roads... at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

I have talked to my farrier about this when I asked about getting shoes on ...
  1. #1
    Senior Member AppyArt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Southwest Missouri

    Horses w/ No Shoes Riding on Paved Roads...

    I have talked to my farrier about this when I asked about getting shoes on my horse or not. he mentioned that unless I would be doing alot of riding on gravel, she'd be fine. I told him, that around my house it is all mainly roads that I can ride on and he said she would be fine.

    So yesterday I rode her to my old boarding barn(to say hello and for a trail ride) which is about a 25min ride at a trot(most of the time) We get to the barn and her hooves are a little chipped. Not bad, but a chip here and there. The farrier at that barn said it was nothing to worry about and he fixed her up after.

    The next day(I left her at the barn overnight. Didn't like the idea of riding back at night...) she seemed to be favoring her hind left. I rubbed my hand down it, squeezing just a little with no reaction. She just stood there quietly and ate. I did the same thing again, but watched her ears and face this time. Once again no reaction. There was also no abnormal heat in the leg(and yes I checked the other three to be sure lol)

    I rode her around a bit and she seemed to loosen up and "favored" the leg less and less. After she was trotting fine I proceeded to ride her back to my house. This time at a walk the whole way and she didnt "favor" it again the whole way back.

    So my question for you guys is this. What is your opinions on riding un-shod horses on paved roads? After that one ride I'm kind of put off by the idea now... but everyone around me keeps telling me she should be fine. Also the whole favoring her leg.. can a horse just get stiff muscles like that and appear to favor it?

    Thank you guys for reading. And just because it seems everyone on HGS loves their pictures, here is one of Jane, my mare in this paragraph.

  2. #2
    Full Member Fasterhorses's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    That is a fine looking horse and a very nice pen.

    I have done a lot of miles with my horse barefoot and trotting on pavement for any length of time is very hard on his legs because he has the suspension of a truck. If I breakup the pace he does much better but I avoid pavement whenever possible.

    I have a 13 mile loop on hard gravel roads with a mile of asphalt in one area. My horse trots that whole thing in 80-90 minutes once a week alternating barefoot one week then boots the next. I use Epics and Gloves and I can feel him stride out more with the boots on but his fastest times are barefoot. Go figure.

    I have not used Renegades yet but I know they are made of much harder plastic and might not provide as much cushion on pavement as the softer EasyBoots.

    You might consider boots for your horse to reduce the concussion when riding on pavement along with possibly better traction especially in summer. Hot pavement can be pretty slick.
    Don Huston
    "If you want a barefoot horse you are just gonna have to ride that critter barefoot".

  3. #3
    Senior Member NorCal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    sounds like her issue is most likely due to trotting on a hard surface for so long not from being barefoot
    in my experience a barefoot horse can go anywhere a shod horse can. i avoid paved surfaces with my shod horses at all costs but dont hesitate with my barefoot horses. the most important thing with barefoot horses is conditioning the hooves/soles/frogs to riding on all different kinds of surfaces a little at a time
    i've had the most success with horses that have hard, dry/ish, black feet. usually those horses are kept on unirrigated, hilly, rocky pasture. white hooves are usually a bit more difficult because they are either too moist and wear away quickly or too dry and crack

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Champaign, Illinois
    If your horse can handle it barefoot, then your horse can handle it. Since she apparently warmed out up and didn't favor the leg after a bit, I'd just chalk it up to one of those things and not worry about it. That said, I'd keep an eye opn it and if it happens again, I'd want to figure out why and take appropriate action.

    On another subject, why do you have her in a pen/pasture that is fenced with three strands of barbed wire? IMNTBCHO, right now that's a much bigger problem and poses a greater threat to her than does riding her barefoot.

  5. #5
    Senior Member+

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    In general I recommend riding at a WALK on paved roads with barefoot horses as a means to nicely condition hooves.Some of the best bare hooves I have seen go on pavement a distance of 1/4 to 1 mile every day. Small chipping around the very lower edge of the hoof wall is a natural way a hoof 'self-trims'. I do not worry about it.
    However if the horse does not have the genetic quality of hoof to do that comfortably, then boot or shoe.
    Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS,CE
    Retired Certified lameness specialist with the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization, former staff farrier for University of California Davis Veterinary teaching Hospital, Retired farrier science instructor.

  6. #6
    Senior Member+
    Asfaloth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Pittsburgh PA
    Shoes on pavement is like riding a horse on ice skates. Barefoot is fine and as was mentioned is actually rather good for conditioning hooves. If you are concerned about wear look for a good set of hoof boots.

    I think that I would break up the pace and not trot the whole way though. Trotting on a very hard surface for a long time could certainly contribute to some stiffness the next day. Shoes would not alleviate that problem.
    Happiness is
    Owning and

  7. #7
    Senior Member+ Aricia's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Unless you have special shoes roughed up for specific pavement use, a barefoot horse has MUCH better traction on pavement than does a regularly shod horse. All my guys are barefoot and are fine on pavement.

    I too suspect that trotting for 25 minutes on a hard surface has far more to to with her being kind of ouchy than anything else. Thats a long time.

    Walking is the safest thing to do and if you must trot, keep it to a minimum.

    I echo RickB.... that barbed wire scares me and would give me FAR more stress than pavement!!!!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Champaign, Illinois
    Quote Originally Posted by Asfaloth View Post
    Shoes on pavement is like riding a horse on ice skates.
    You say that as if it were an absolute when "It Depends" rules the day.

  9. #9
    Senior Member+ Farnorth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Far to the North of course !! Upper Michigan
    As a teen ( a long time ago ) me and my friend rode on asphalt a lot. We stayed on the shoulder for the most part but we also were on the asphalt a lot. If we went to town we ended up on pavement too. All the horses we rode were kept barefoot. We never had any problems. No one came up lame or had hoof issues that I recall.

    It will most likely depend on your individual horse and his feet.

  10. #10
    Senior Member+
    touchofdandy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    I only have one horse that has to have shoes on...my mare does just fine on the roads w/o shoes.
    it also gives a whole new meaning to "riding in on a broomstick!!"~dpcinderella
    SO this is the new "Rule of thumb" ~Feliche
    Well, there's no harm in looking at the menu.....no one said you had to order! ~randomequine

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