Why Not Shoes?
The damage caused by horseshoes is no secret and in my opinion doing damage to an animal to make it better
suit our needs is inherently wrong.- Pete Ramey
Scientist Luca Bein at the University of Zurich in 1983 did a study about shock absorption in the hoof,
comparing it in unshod and shod hooves. According to his study, a hoof shod with a normal metal shoe lacks
60-80% of it natural shock absorption. He found that, "A shod foot moving on asphalt at a walk receives three
times the impact force as an unshod foot moving on asphalt at a trot."
Shoes also negatively impact the amount of blood able to move through the hoof and up the leg. In a study by
Dr. Robert Bowker he compared the blood flow rate of horses standing, shod and unshod, on various surfaces
with Doppler Ultrasound. He found that in a shod foot the blood stops between the heartbeat and stays in the
large diameter blood vessels. In a bare foot the blood continues between heartbeats. In a laminitic foot the blood
stops at the hoof and 'backs up' between heartbeats. He also found that any horse standing in pea gravel or on
foam will have increased profusion/decreased resistance resulting in better blood flow. Better blood flow helps
the hooves heal, and one of the best things farriers are finding for horses is to put pea gravel in your pasture and
foam in your boots.