What is Transitioning ?

Transitioning is the time it takes for a shod horse to adapt to going barefoot.

Although I cannot say that horse shoes make horses feet unhealthy I rarely find perfect shod feet that will go shoeless without a period of time for the foot to re-adjust.  In most cases it is not the hoof wall or sole that takes time to transition but the soft tissue structures such as the digital cushion.

Sole and hoof wall respond to stimulus, and I will discuss with you what that might look like in the form of exercise depending on what I see.


To some people’s surprise I recommend riding on roads ( where safe to do so) to transition horses. Roads are often ideal for transitioning. They are mostly very even, without large rocks or stones that can be challenging for the newly barefoot horse. Roads provide even and constant stimulus. This stimulus encourages the hoof wall to grow quicker and the sole to compact becoming harder and thicker. 

 How long does it take to transition ?

It is hard to give a realistic answer to this question. All horses are different and it depends on the overall health of your horse.

In most cases somewhere between 6-18 months, when asked I normally say you need to allow a year. However this would need qualifying at first visit.


The amount of change that needs to happen can often not be visible as some of the biggest changes happen to the soft tissues in the foot.