Readers Say No Shoes This Winter

Readers Say No Shoes This Winter

Of the 1,190 voters, 662 (56%) said their horses goes barefoot year-round, while 200 individuals (17%) said they pull their horses' shoes in the winter.


In last week’s poll, we asked our readers if their horses are shod during the winter months. Nearly 1,200 readers responded and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 1,190 voters, 662 (56%) said their horses go barefoot year-round, while 200 individuals (17%) said they pull their horses' shoes in the winter. Another 198 readers (17%) indicated that their horses stay shod as usual, and the remaining 130 readers (11%) said their farrier applies extra traction to shoes for snowy or icy conditions.

Additionally, 109 readers described their winter shoeing practices.

Many readers said their horses go barefoot all year long:

Poll Results

  • “Our three horses never wear shoes.”
  • “All seven of our horses are barefoot all year.”
  • “Since I rarely ride my equines anymore and they live on good pasture, they go barefoot.”
  • “Barefoot is best. It is natural for horses.”
  • “Barefoot is healthier.”
  • “My horse does fine going barefoot year round. We live in Florida so no sludgy snow problems.”
  • “Barefoot all the way.....24/7.”
  • “All three have great hooves, so (they're) barefoot and happy.”
  • “Good feet, good nutrition, good area = no shoes.”
  • “Unless there is a specific medical reason for shoes, mine go barefoot.”

Others commented that they remove their horses' shoes during the winter:

  • “We western trail ride in the snow without shoes and just keep them trimmed until Spring.”
  • “We pull the shoes in the winter months due to the ice balls frozen to their shoes.”
  • “Three horses at home (and) all three are shoeless in winter.
  • “Don't ride hard enough in the winter to need shoes.”
  • “In Michigan snow balls are hard on the stability.”

Some commented on the extra traction they use during the winter:

  • “Borrium! Gotta love it!"
  • “Bubble pads are wonderful on front hooves good for snow training."
  • “Most of my ridden work is on roads and my horse wears studs ... to stop him slipping.”
  • “Snow pads on the fronts.”

A few readers said they used boots during the winter for extra traction:

  • “With the cost of shoeing and the fact that our horses aren't used much, we've gone to boots for each.”
  • “I use Old Mac's Boots with studs when we ride outside.”
  • “I ride with EZ Boot Gloves during the months that my horse in not shod.”
  • “I use EZBoots with borium studs in the winter.”

Several readers said their horses were shod for special reasons:

  • “This year my horse requires winter shoes due to hoof issues.”
  • “I use shoes only to correct situations that cannot be managed with good trimming.”
  • “Front shoes only because of earlier founder.”
  • “My horse has special front hoof problems, so he needs his orthopedic shoes year round.”
  • “Front shoes remain on for navicular syndrome.”
  • “One of our horses has navicular. He remains shod all year around (only on the front) with snow pads.”
  • “My laminitic horse will keep his shoes but the others will remain barefoot.”

Others responded that their horses stay shod year round:

  • “Arizona-ride year round, also hooves break up badly without protection (from) shoes”
  • “Too many rocks here, so shoes on front hooves all year.”
  • “Where I live in Australia it never snows, so my horses have shoes year-round.”
  • “In California we ride year round so shoes stay on all year.”

You can find more information on winter traction devices for horses and barefoot trimming at

In this week’s poll, we want to know – what kind of gifts is your horse receiving this holiday season? Vote now

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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