Barefoot! Dressage! Researched!

Read more:

“Researchers Challenge Common Belief Shoeing Dressage Horses

A British study found that the performance of a dressage horse is unlikely to be affected by being either shod or unshod.

The finding is in contrast to the widely held belief that shoeing improves gait quality.”


You can read the whole article by using the link above.

My thoughts on the article…

The study used 20 Irish Sport horses and the Kinovea gait analysis software with a video camera on good footing. They studied 5 different criteria in the stride quality and 5 different criteria in stride length.

There was some differences in joint flexion (the shod horses had some greater joint flexion).  In the “key dressage performance-related indicators” there was no significant differences shod or unshod.

Stride length was significantly reduced with the shod sample.


In this test, the shod horses had worn shoes for at least 12 months.  The study postulated the horses in this study had habituated to the weight of the shoes.  Previous tests had compared unshod horses and newly shod horses.

“Having worn shoes for at least 12 months, shod horses did not display a significant difference in four of the five kinematic variables that correlate best with dressage marks and were therefore viewed as not having a competitive advantage when compared to their unshod counterparts,” they told delegates.

The link to the full article is at the top of the blog….it adds more detail!


Whoo hoo!!!  Thanks to Shannon Peters!!!  We have been barefoot for over a year.  Young horses to Grand Prix.

This study details some of the feelings we have had with our barefoot experience.

There are a lot of benefits of barefoot but some drawbacks.  A good farrier is key…thank you Dan Sullivan!!!.  Dan Sullivan is my farrier.  He is a farrier, not a barefoot trimmer.  He is magic making shoes and shoeing all types of horses.  He has been my farrier for 30 years, shoe after shoe.  But he can trim a foot!!!  He’s trimmed my babies to sound adulthood and all the bits in between.  And thankfully he has helped me with this “barefoot” experiment.  It’s a high stakes experiment to pull the shoes and take an international Grand Prix horse barefoot in show season and Dan is on board for us!!  Thanks Dan!! We are very grateful to have you at Flying Colours!!

Dan Sullivan and Lance

Dan Sullivan and Lance

So there’s my barefoot rant.  I’m not sure it will work for everyone but it sure works for us.

Happy, sound horses…my daily goal.




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