Besides your horse’s health, the 3 fundamental pillars to having a horse successfully barefoot are: Food – Environment – Stimulation
That’s an element that most people forget about when transitioning their horse barefoot.
HAVE YOU TRIED WALKING BAREFOOT?
Here again, I call to your imagination. You most likely wear shoes in your daily life. Now, imagine burning or throwing away your shoes and living barefoot exclusively. A close friend or relative then decides to enlist you in a marathon next weekend (yes, you already could run marathons with shoes of course – but if you prefer, think of a 3 mile or 5km charity run or something). Imagine running on the tarmac BAREFOOT on this distance! Scratch the distance, imagine what it would feel like to just run 10 steps on tarmac!
HOW CAN SOME PEOPLE RUN ENTIRE MARATHON BAREFOOT?
Because they LIVE barefoot, they TRAIN barefoot and they did not start with running a marathon. They started walking and going about their daily lives, then slowly incorporating slight training in their routine.
You must have the same approach with your horse. It doesn’t matter if it’s always been barefoot or just taken out of shoes. You must “read” her / him. If your pony is usually rock crunching in the Rocky Mountains or the Alps, but has not been there in ages and lived in a nice soft pasture since, expect your pony to not be ready for sharp, strong rocks.
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR HORSE?
Always remember to listen to your horse and to challenge his / her feet regularly. If the horse lives on soft pasture or deep bedding 24/7 and only works in a deep sanded arena, then regularly go for a walk on tarmac, pea gravel and progressively longer, and even try rocks.
But you can’t have the cake and eat it…
If you don’t need your horse’s feet to be rock-crunching, then don’t waste your time building them up. But also don’t complain she / he is sensitive or sore on different terrains.