All horses’ hooves are healthier without shoes, and barefoot horses are
healthier than shod horses. They live longer, happier, less painful lives.
Barefoot is a requirement for health and should be accepted as a condition
for keeping a horse. Humane management is not just preferable, it is
nonnegotiable. The foot evolved to function unshod. Nature has developed
the perfect design for grip and slide in all conditions and provided for
unsurpassable shock absorption. The foot cannot expand and contract with
each step when clamped. Blood supply to the foot is impoverished and horn
production becomes deficient. When the foot is prevented from functioning
correctly, the pastern, fetlock, cannon, and knee are also placed at risk. This
leads to bone, joint, and soft tissue injuries.
Dr. Robert Cook, FRCVS, PhD, professor of surgery emeritus at