Veterinarian Reviews the Barefoot Concept

One veterinarian outlines several common questions about the barefoot concept and shares her thoughts on each.
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Horsemen around the world continue to debate whether horses should wear shoes or be barefoot. "This controversy has been going on for years and is not likely to be resolved any time in the near future," said Debra Taylor, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Nonetheless, she noted, more people seem to be jumping on the barefoot bandwagon. She discussed this trend during a presentation at the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Taylor reminded attendees that any management or treatment plan can be implemented correctly or incorrectly—thus, either doing good or causing harm. The barefoot concept is no different. She said that while some barefoot proponents aren’t overly well-informed, many are well-educated in the "art," which they believe can help enhance soundness and increase functionality.

During her presentation and in the associated notes, Taylor outlined several common questions about the barefoot concept and shared her thoughts on each

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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