Why Do You Keep Your Horse Barefoot? - by Jim Apple

I have a question for you, why do you keep your horse or horses barefoot?

The answers are often very different, but follow very predictable responses. It usually starts with "I was on the Internet...." or "I read this article in a magazine....". "My friends told me it...."

The answers can also go off in a different directions. Owners telling me all the details how it changed their horses lives for the better.... or how it didn't. The sad truth is it just doesn't work for some owners. (Even though it does work for their horses.) I'm not knocking those people, quite the opposite. I value the opinions of those few it didn't work for as much as all the hundreds of other people it does work for, it helps me be a better Farrier...

"A leader can create a business but a community creates a movement !"

Sometimes we do things in a bubble (like me switching to just trimming horses after 14 years shoeing and having just gone to to horseshoeing school just four years before) but I had this crazy notion, a idea really, in my head. One that I just couldn't dismiss, I really believed that most horses need shoes, that's what I was taught, that's what everyone said. The idea was simple in 1994 and it's simple today. Always do what is right for the horses.... and I simply believe that I could better serve my clients and their horses future soundness by simply not offering the option to shoe their horses.... and I lost most of my business. Probably 75%, maybe more, but I gained way more than I lost. But what did I gain? I gained a core group of knowledge and educated  people who believed in my idea enough to give it a try. Those forward thinking souls, who were were strong enough and willing to let a 28 year Jim Apple (with a unheard of idea) trim their horses based on a something he only dreamed of as he went from farm to farm.

I made some mistakes along the way, but I I learned to identify my mistakes and adjust what I was doing wrong into something I could do right. So my idea went from a simple theory to real world experience, I didn't learn it from books and it didn't happen overnight. I learned it by doing it over and over again till I didn't do it wrong anymore. I still make mistakes, but now my biggest one that I repeat over and over is taking on owners who don't share the basic foundation of my philosophy, I guess my need to try and help horses impairs my judgement to the point that I forget that some people just don't share my passion and knowledge. And that's okay....

Now I'm lucky enough to have in my arsenal not just 38 years of knowledge and experience, but superior hoof protection like Scoot Boots that meet my rigid requirements for hoof protection and fill the long outdated "need to shoe a horse". I can trim and fit boots and achieve things that I never thought possible in 1994!

That 25% or so of people who believed in my idea and trusted me in the beginning enough to let me pull the shoes that I had so proudly been putting on. Well, they told a friend, who told their friends and the Idea soon spread. Horse owners wanted more! Common sense came into play as owners took a more proactive approach to Farrier selection and hoof care. And just like all those years ago, horse owners still tell my story to their friends and in the end, we all collectively help horses and humans to "live the Barefoot Lifestyle"

I said before and I'll say it again....

"A leader can create a business but a community creates a movement !"



Building a Supportive Barefoot Community

The team at Scoot Boot believe passionately in the barefoot horse and strive to build a supportive community of barefoot horse lovers.

Find more information about using Scoot Boots here.


Jim Apple is a 4th generation farrier and blacksmith. He started shoeing horses with his father and grandfather in 1980 at the age of 14. In 1990 Jim graduated from the Kentucky Horseshoeing School at the age of 24. At the age of 28, Jim took his anvil and forge out of his truck and walked blindly into the world of barefoot horses. He said it was lonely being the only barefoot farrier around in 1994 but that he has never looked back!

Jim lives in Florida, US