Hi everyone !
Advice please: my horse was barefoot in England for about 18 months and was doing really well but since moving to Spain where weather is much drier and ground very dry and stoney we are struggling to the point where he doesn´t enjoy going out much. I want to buy some boots for his front feet to make him comfortable has anyone any experience of which is best or just general tips or advice please? I just want my happy horse back who enjoys going out for a stroll with me once again.
Any other advice or comments regarding barefoot riding would be appreciated.
Many thanks Carol
I always listen to the horse, not a dogma. If the ground is hurting your horses' feet then I'd definitely put shoes on. I have shoes on the front on my young horse as her hind feet are always lovely. Have you considered that?
Many thanks for this and I do appreciate what you mean about "dogma". We had our boy´s shoes taken off as he was turned away for about a year whilst I had treatment and then it was our farrier who felt that as his feet were so good it would be safer to leave shoes off as we would have better traction up and down the very steep asphalt hills in Yorkshire England. We would hate to go back to shoes (he didn´t do too well in them before) but would obviously do that if it comes to it. I have sent for some Easy Boots so will have a go at them before resort to shoeing poor lad again (he really didn´t like having them done as he is my first horse that seemed uncomfortable when having them done - sensitive I suppose.Will report outcome.
Boots on the front can work but it depends on the horse, his way of going, what you want to do and how far you ride. The best way is to buy a pair (best you can afford as they fit better) and try them out. If they twist or rub, you will have to look at shoes on the front. If you need shoes on the hind feet, it's not the ground that is the problem, it could be the horse.
Thank you Cathie - have ordered some boots for the front and will try building him up gradually. He is a sensitive type (ex National Hunt Racer) but if I take it steady with him he will usually have a go at things just to please me - he really is lovely.
His hind feet are fantastic so no problem there thank goodness!
My friend had a lusitano type horse with quite boxy feet and up and down action. Did great in boots. However,cavallo boots on my 16.3 THB (NH type also) twist like crazy if you go beyond walk. They never rubbed but I felt they would if I rode faster or further. Another friend with a big ex racer tried boots as they waited for the hooves to grow out from bad racetrack shoeing (in north America). Her's did not twist too badly unless you cantered. You will just have to try them and see. Remember to give us an update.
I certainly will Cathie - fingers crossed.
Cavallo boots by Cavallo (of which Monty Roberts supports) and EasyBoots by Easy Care are really helpful. They are not meant to be worn 24/7 but only when you ride on terrain you are speaking of or ones with rocks etc. I too am considering purchasing boots for my riding horses. On their sites they give you instruction on how to measure, pricing and a list of the different styles to choose from. Personally I chose the trail riding ones, they seem easy to put on and stay on. Prices are competative. As far as boots damaging your horse I think there is no problem, they are safe or they wouldn't be so popular.
Again, don't leave them on continuously and if you are going for a 4 hr or more ride be sure to take them off and replace them when you take your breaks. Personally I like not spending a ton of money on shoes, farriers here insist on not reusing shoes when they are still in good condition. I find I can spend as much on a pair of boots as I do on 2 shoeings.
Wow Cindy what a relief! These are just what I have ordered but didn´t know that Mony Roberts supported them - that really does make me feel a bit better. I´m thinking of building up from walking for 20 mins, 30 mins upwards. We never do more than two hours maximum as I have cancer which imposes it´s own limitations on how far we can go. Rocky trails around here mean that we do hardly any fast work either so really it´s just plodding around with a few little trots nowadays! I really hope they work as he has been so much happier not having shoes put on and it is just those five or six hours a week when we want to go out for a hack. Anyway, if he is happier without the shoeings I would much rather spend the money on lovely comfy boots and top class feed etc.
Many thanks for your encouragement - really appreciate all the helpful advice from you and everyone else.
Carol (and Harry)
Just to let you all know that we tried the new Easyboots on Harry today for the first time. I was really worried because Harry is quite a big horse and can be quite stubborn if he gets in a state about anything. I needen´t have worried as when we put the shoes on and off whilst we got used to the best way of putting them on Harry chomped on a bale of hay and seemed oblivious to everything going on around him. Once on correctly Harry seemed completely happy so we decided to have a "triel run" up the track with him at the walk. He was absolutely FINE. I then took him for a little walk that turned into a trail ride of about 40 minutes at the walk!
We went over ground that usually would have created a refusal but today he gave it a go and once down the rocky track he was fine. It was as though he had to gain confidence in the boots so I think as long as we take it really slowly we will be fine. Even if we can´t do much more than a few little trots or a little canter later on it doesn´t matter as long as he is comfortable.
This has been such a great day for me as I can´t believe how easily a thoroughbred ex race horse can take to these boots - not a miracle but nearly!
Thanks for all your help and advice.
Carol and Harry
Glad to hear all went well. You know I have heard that some folks do long distance riding in boots. Don't know if it's true and have not done any research but if I get time, I might look on the web.
Yes, I think I have heard or read something about that too - maybe in the magazine Horse and Rider I think - will have a look in my back copies. One thing I am surprised at is the amount of wear already on the boots and we have only had two short rides out. It looks as if Harry is going to be quite heavy duty on the boots - they look as if he has been using them for ages.
It would be interesting to hear how far most other folks travel when they take their horses out trail riding in boots.
i find my barefoot apaloosa is more tender during the dryest part of the summer. we don't trot on the trails then because there is no "give" to the ground. i can see how your horse would be uncomfortable on the dry spanish ground.
boots are hard to put on if you have any issues with your hands. i have looked at them and tried to put them on other horses. hopefully you do not have that problem and can use boots as they are certainly a wonderful invention