Trainers in the UK do not have to have shoe their horses in order to race them, indeed there are many instances where horses cut themelves (usually behind) when wearing shoes or racing plates, so they race barefoot- again, usually hind feet only. In fact not that many years ago one trainer ran everything entirely barefoot. I prefer to train them barefoot for as long as I possibly can, before shoeing them just in time to start racing. Leaving feet "au natural" has massive benefits to a horses feet and legs because the "frog" is allowed to do what nature intended it to do, thereby encouraging the horses bone structure, tendons and ligaments to do their job properly. In the last six years we have had less lameness generally and better quality feet across the board, but for most trainers this is simply not possible because of the amount of time their horses have to spend pounding the roads to access training grounds and gallops. England and Ireland were however alone in allowing horses to run without shoes on but as from April 2nd this is set to change and while some horses will be exempt from this ruling (subject to vets advice and form filling) all horses will have to have shoes or racing plates all round for racing on the flat (except in National hunt flat races). Not all trainers will be happy at this new ruling bought about by the PJA at the suggestion of the jockeys. Personally as long as horses who "need" to run without hind shoes can do so, then I have no concerns and the farriers wlll all be thrilled to bits!
Tomororow looks set for another busy morning with about fifty members of ICM racing coming to see their four hroses at 10am. They are a growing and successful syndicate and my guess is Christine will be busy baking her delicious cakes again tonight! Anyone insterested in coming along to join us and ICM at the yard at 10am for a peek into very afforable horse racing are very welcome.