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'Completely wrong': Earle hits out at BHA over controversial shoeing stance

Simon Earle: a firm believer in the benefits of running horses without shoes
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Trainer Simon Earle is standing firm against the proposal to force horses to wear hind shoes in jump races and claims the BHA is 'completely wrong'.

Earle has run his horses without front or hind shoes since 2005 as he feels it is better for them, citing back-up from credible studies, and he admits he does not know what he will do should the controversial rule change come into force from February 1, as planned.

"The BHA have come on leaps and bounds in doing a great deal for horse welfare, which they have to do, but they have got this one completely wrong," Earle said on Tuesday.

"Let's do what's best for horses' welfare. I don't say that people who put shoes on are wrong, but it's huge to me. It's night and day how much sounder horses are who don't wear them."

Earle pointed to the fact none of his horses had suffered a tendon injury and to a US study that concluded the frog of the horse's foot should be weight bearing and in contact with the ground to dissipate impact energy within the structures of the foot, which is not possible when shod.

Earle recalled: "I had one horse who would have been destroyed, who struck into herself. She partially severed her tendon without shoes on – there's no doubt that if that horse was shod she would have left the racecourse dead; instead she's enjoying life as a broodmare."

Earle does not believe running horses unshod over jumps causes a safety concern as he ran nearly 90 horses unshod and none slipped.

He said: "Flat racing is completely different to jump racing, you cannot compare unshod horses on the Flat to jumping, it's a completely different discipline on completely different ground."

Asked what he would do should the BHA proposal come into effect, Earle said: "I really don't know what I would do, I haven't got that far yet."

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I don't say that people who put shoes on are wrong but it's huge to me. It's night and day how much sounder these horses are

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Simon Earle
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