Does anyone know if there are any rules about competing barefoot horses in Dressage, including the FEI levels? I have looked but can't find mention of it.

Any reasons for or against? Any experiences?

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I don't think there are any rules against it, but you might want to post this question in the Eurodressage group. Someone there will know for sure.
The concerns would include whether your horse's feet would chip, whether your horse needs extra support or special shoeing, the quality of your horse's hooves, pre-existing leg issues, the type of footing your horse would be turned out on and worked on, etc. Do you have a really good farrier you could ask who could look at your horse's feet and help you make a decision? Is your horse going well with or without shoes currently?
Thanks for your comment, Laura!
He is currently going well without shoes, has been since Easter this year. We have had a barefoot trimmer doing his feet since then.
The reason for going barefoot was that he had a slight lameness, and the vet determined it was caused by inflammation in the coffin joint, probably due to poor foot balance - the toes had become turned in, and the feet had become smaller over time. (So he had a 5 week break, a course of injections to replenish his joint nutrition, and is getting chondroitin sulphate and MSM supplementation in his feed.)
So far his feet have been strong and healthy. He is usually worked on an arena with a sand/rubber surface, and the turnout at home is on soft pumice soil so that is not a worry. Going to competition venues could be an issue though, as you never know what the footing will be like!
As for farriers, I am just about tearing my hair out! Around here they seem to criticize all shoeing except their own! I am looking for a better farrier, in case shoes do become a neccessity, but that is a quest in itself!
I'll put the question on rules forward to the Eurodressage group and see what comes up.
This is a good question. My horse has never worn shoes a day in her life and we are hoping to start showing next season too. !00%sound, never a foot wrong or off, very very healthy feet all around and I really see no point in putting shoes on her - waaaay too expensive and I think a healthy foot should be allowed to work as nature intended.
I would be intrested to find out the rules on this as well...
Oh! Wow! That's very interesting - I'll look it up. Thanks.
Thankyou, that is encouraging. I am hoping my horse will be able to remain barefoot, as his feet are getting much better.
A few years ago, my farrier at the time told me he could never go barefoot, because his feet were not good enough!!! Well that may have been true at the time with the shoeing he had been getting...
What was your reason for going barefoot with your horses? Have you had any problems taking them places? do you take them hacking, on roads etc? I would be most interested to know.
Considering that dressage is supposed to be about the natural horse and natural movements, one would think barefoot would be a plus. As long as the feet remained in good shape, that is.

My horse has never worn shoes in his life either.
Prior to relocating to BC a year and a half ago, I transitioned several dressage horses to barefoot at a barn in the Dallas, Texas area. The customer, a dressage instructor and competition judge, called me to pull the shoes from one horse to start, then added additional horses at each trim cycle until I was trimming 8 barefoot horses at the barn. To ease the transition for these hard working mounts, I fitted them in Epic boots with comfort pads. The boots were worn daily for about a month, then every second day until the transition was completed. However, some of the older horses with pronounced hoof contraction could not perform well without using padded boots for each lesson. The customer commented on how naturally the horses moved barefoot, and at how the the problems with thrush disappeared after transitioning.
Hi, I just put shoes on my 6 year old & he had never had shoes on. Mainly because my sand arena was taking his hind hooves toes off. He had ripped his tendon off either side of his hock when rising three so dragged abit , but how with strength/balance is going much better (he has just been backed) Even with shoes on he still wears that toe down, do you have any problems like this?I have also noticed that his frogs now are crap!& he did have great hooves.
I haven't had that problem on my sand arena. One of the horses (since sold) used to drag his hind toes but the amount of wear was not a problem, he just squared them off a bit. Be aware that with shoes on, his toes will grow longer between farrier visits, changing the breakover point of his hind feet, so it could possibly make his hocks work a bit harder to get clearance (I'm no foot expert, that's just a laypersons observation!)

My horse used to have shrunken little frogs but 12 months into barefoot life, they started to widen right out. I wish I had taken some photos for comparison, the change is huge!
there is no rule determining the use of horse shoes in Dressage.
as far as I know there are no restrictions to that. In Germany certainly no regulations would stop you from showing a barefoot horse and I haven't heard of any in international performances either.
I can't think od any reason why it should be prohibited, either.
There are no rules against it. At a really big event like Jumping Amsterdam or something there was the princess of Denmakr I believe and her horse was barefoot. In an interview she said that her horse lost his shoe but he was sound and he has good feet so he had no problem doing the Grand Prix barefoot and she didnt get disqualified for it.


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