I’ve heard that some breeds, such as Thoroughbreds, can’t go without shoes. 

Every horse was born barefoot and has the genetic capability to be sound while barefoot.  It is a common misconception that certain breeds need horseshoes.  Horseshoes prevent the hoof from functioning normally, introduce pathogens through the nail holes, obstruct circulation through the hoof, unbalance the horse as the hooves attempt to grow, and cut off the horse’s ability to feel the very ground he is standing upon.

My horse is crippled without shoes.  I’m not sure he can go barefoot.

The tracks at Copperstone have conformable surfaces, such as deep pea shingle, which allows the horses to move comfortably, even with weak sensitive hooves.  The track surfaces stimulate new hoof growth, leading to a healthier, stronger hoof and a sounder horse.  Most rehab horses have had chronic hoof problems in the past and have remained unsound for years while following traditional vet and farrier advice.  Quite a few have even been on the verge of being euthanized before making a full recovery at Copperstone.

I’ve been told my horse will get worse if I take his shoes off.

Our rehabilitation program is excellent at transitioning horses to the barefoot lifestyle.  Once the shoes are off, the hooves can begin the healing process.  The conformable surfaces on the tracks provide horses with weak hooves the right amount of support to help with the transition.  Horses are more than capable of growing a strong healthy hoof if given the right conditions.  Healthy hooves have good medio-lateral balance and alleviate strain on tendons and ligaments, supporting the entire leg.

Can I still use my current farrier after rehabilitation?

We recommend using a hoof care practitioner who is knowledgeable about barefoot hoof trims and has experience with the natural barefoot trim, as opposed to the pasture trim.  We advise against orthopedic shoes, pads, surgery or invasive trimming methods, as these are unnecessary and often cause more harm to the laminitic horse.  We are more than willing to help you choose a hoof care practitioner in your area or discuss the natural barefoot trim with the trimmer of your choosing.

When my horse returns home, will I need conformable surfaces or tracks to keep him sound?

No.  As long as the horse receives sufficient exercise, there is no need for specialized surfaces or tracks when the horse returns home.

Will my horse return to normal work when he returns home?

Nearly all horses return home at a moderate level of work, although there are no guarantees where horses are concerned.  Whether a horse returns to work at the same level depends on many factors, including prior injuries.  Rehabilitation helps to build the horse’s strength and soundness.  Our goal is to be able to ride each horse for approximately 4 hours per week before they return home.

What sorts of hoof problems is lameness rehabilitation able to help?

Our rehabilitation program specializes in hoof-related lameness.  Horses arriving at Copperstone often show navicular changes on x-ray and damage to the deep digital flexor tendon, collateral or impar ligaments on MRIs.  Horses with chronic laminitis, external hoof imbalances, thin soles, run-under heels, long toes and rotated coffin bones have shown significant improvement and full recovery.