Sign in to follow this  
Smilie

Hoof Boots And Shoes, A Time For Each

Recommended Posts

While I try to keep my horses barefoot, using hoofboots as needed, there are times when I do resort to having a horse shod

I have taken horses On rides in the mountains, using hoof boots, but I find that if you are really climbing some wet slippy slopes, hoofboots don't provide the traction. They are good if you have them studded.

Once it gets cold, no way do I wish to fiddle with hoofboots in the early morning, with cold fingers! Also, I do find myself glancing down often, using boots, to make sure they have not turned or even come off,esp after going through a boggy jumble of tree roots or a river crossing

Hubby did ride with hoof boots in this picture, but those boots were custom fitted with some modifications. Charlie is shod

Hubby got an elk draw, so will be having Carmen and Rubix sharp shod. Charlie is barefoot again, and I ride her that way, except if going down our gravel road, and then I use hoof boots

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that while I know barefoot is best, I do have horse shod short term , and am not a hard core barefoot only person

Barefoot also does not mean no hoof protection when needed!

The rocks in these river crossings are obvious. Since the flood of last year, the lower trail almost constantly follows the river bed, as the opposite shore has the trail wiped out.

We did take the upper trail on the way back.Once you are on boulders, shoes do not keep a horse from becoming stone bruised, unless they are shod with pads

cHARLIEANDRUBIXRIVER_zpscebd6c96.jpg

Just a pic of when you do get off of the rocks

cHARLIEDOWNTRAIL_zps1ae5b8ee.jpg

Riding with hoof boots

hubbyandson_zpsec9cfe58.jpg

Cubamountains1_zps98cc7b47.jpg

mountain lake-can get there only with a horse-about a 6 hour ride one way

Einsteintrail_zps72ddf8b5.jpg

Smilie actually has hoofboots over shoes in front here. K country is very rocky, and I wanted to protect her soles. Off label application, but worked great!

Smilielittleelbowthree_zpse660e25c.jpg

Nothing like daWn in the mountains, or hearing elk bugle at night and wolves howl!

Dawn_zpsa4aea97a.jpg

Many places, in the valleys, there are old pack trails, or trails that are used by horse and wagon now

Chrisslicker_zps35ecf6de.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am also a barefoot fan but would not dream of going barefoot in the winter. I stud him up on all 4 feet with the first snowfall and take them off when the mud begins in spring. I will/do ride on ice with no worries

Drill tec on heels and borium on toes.

A shod horse in most cases has better traction then barefoot or boots. Just look at the ground , look at the tracks and the depth of penetration of a shod horse over barefoot. Over grass/lawns a barefoot horse hardly leaves a print while a shod horse kicks up divits. To do that you need to dig into the turf.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love having my horses barefoot myself, and use boots when needed (on my 20 y/o mare, before she was retired from riding permanently this past summer, she required boots to be sound, as she is very tender-footed... but in the pasture she needs nothing). My 8 y/o gelding has been barefoot his entire life, but I am using hoof boots for a few weeks on him since my farrier trimmed his bars super short this past trim)...

BTW, I love seeing pics of where you ride! It's so beautiful! Makes me jealous...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the winter, I ride with studded hoof boots when going down the road, which is both snow packed and icy, and barefoot when hauling to indoor arena, or across snowy fields.

Yes, shoes that are studded or have cleats give more traction then barefoot, but barefoot gives better traction than ordinary shoes, esp on pavement

There are places in late fall that I would not ride without shoes with borium smears. You need a horse sharp shod in climbing trails that are frozen and often icy

One early spring,long ago, i had our first stud shod with slide plates. In those days we had just one horse each that was of riding age, so studdly had to go on a mountain ride, as hubby had no one else to go with him... We were fine, as long as we were riding in snow, but then we had to go on a trail that connected two valleys, and where water had run and the froze. We skated down several spots on that trail.

At the same time, hoof boots are an evolving technology, getting better all the time, and with a great fit, and studs, give better traction then shoes. I had studded Epics on Smilie, and we crossed one fast flowing river that had moss covered boulders. Smilie had no problem, while hubby's shod horse slipped and fell, near the shore, baptizing my camera! I had given hubby my camera, to take a picture part way across, with Smilie and I standing on a gravel bar. I was going to take my camera back and put it in my pommel bags, but then though hubby might as well carry it to the opposite shore

Luckily the water was not deep near shore, so hubby got my camera, took the batteries out, immediately, then dried my camera per recommendations on this site

Here is the picture, just before my poor camera went down with hubby's horse

Glue on hoof boots with studs are what my barefoot specialist uses when going on extended pack trips into wilderness,and his wife endurance rides with them

Endurance riders have found that their horses get better recovery rates that way, then shod

Again, barefoot does not mean no hoof protection, when the horse is asked to work on ground he is not adapted to work on, just that when the ride is over, the horse can be barefoot, and that makes it the best of both Worlds. I;m still looking for that 'perfect' hoof boot, and have come close with the Epics and Renegades.

Smiliegravelbar.jpg

Here is the site for the Renegade hoof boots, with a pic of a horse on that famous tevis cougar rock

http://www.renegadehoofboots.com/

Edited by Smilie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine are barefoot since I dont use mine a whole lot, unless they have a specific need (one has a coronet band injury that permanently leaves a weak spot in hoof wall that will crack and split) he needs shoes to hold it together, boots help but a shoe is more solid to hold the bad part together) and we've had a couple laminitis horses arrive that shoes correctively helped and now they only need boots when ridden since they're not used much. I have a friend who is 60 ! doing a fund raising ride from Alaska to Mexico this summer and he used to use shoes as an extreme ride like that is more hoof wear than a hoof can regrow, now he mostly uses easyboot trail boots and recently posted a pic of them going over a steel grid bridge that a bare foot or steel shoe would not have been able to do but the boots gave traction and they rode across fine. Check out canadianponyexpress .com Most light riding backyard horses are probably better off barefoot but when we use a hoof more than the horse would normally use or wear it then we need to give it protection or sometimes help with an injury to hoof so shoes or boots are necessary in the right circumstances

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smilie - have you tried the glue-on shoes? It looked like a lot of the Tevis riders were in them this year, without issues. They do have a trained team helping to apply them.

I would not put a nailed on shoe on one of my horses, but I live in TN, where ice isn't a huge issue. I have found my barefoot horses fine on icy packed snow, but that's the TN version. I would try the glue-ons if I needed more protection, but Jet has textbook, perfect hooves. Rocky is still a work in progress, but since he needed overall conditioning, it has worked fine. I have booted him 3-4 times - maybe 15-20 miles total. He doesn't love the Easyboot trails, but I think maybe they are a tad loose now, since he doesn't have any flare at this point. I know you can stud some boots and the glue-on shoes, but it's nothing I have done or would need to do here.

I love your pictures. It is cool to see where everyone rides.

Edited by KatyB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kathy

Yes, I tried the easyshoe performance glue ons. They work great, only problem is that some hoof prep is needed, so that the glue stays on. I loved the built in frog supports.

They only downside, I'm not really set up to apply them myself, thus had to haul Smilie to my barefoot specialist, who has a heated shop, and all the tools required. He has a devise, I guess I could buy, that checks the moisture level of the hoof before applying the glue and shoes. Moisture has to be around 5 %. Easy enough to also buy a heat gun.

I have also looked at the ground control plastic shoes.

Just to be clear, I do trail ride Charlie barefoot a great deal, and only used hoof boots when footing gets very rocky. In winter all of my horses hare barefoot and also ridden that way, unless I go down the road which can get very icy and frozen into hard lumps. When temps get to minus 25 F and greater, that frozen ground can be as unforgiving as rocks. I will then use hoof boots with studs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That makes sense. It looks like you get to try out virtually every ground condition. We have most of it here, but not so much snow and ice. It never lasts here, so we hardly get to ride in the snow at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That makes sense. It looks like you get to try out virtually every ground condition. We have most of it here, but not so much snow and ice. It never lasts here, so we hardly get to ride in the snow at all.

Lucky you, concerning that snow!

We have snow predicted for tomorrow afternoon,as a major cooling trend is coming in. Supposedly we will yet have some Indian summer after that!

Last year we had a very hard winter, with snow coming end of October and then never leaving, just more and more, to the point that the snow was too deep to forage, and deer became easy prey for the wolves and even coyotes, who could run on top of the frozen snow while the deer sunk to their necks

If you ride in the mountains here, unless to stick to some of the trails that go through the trees and have lots of miles of just dirt, you need shoes or hoof boots . They don't call them the Rocky Mountains for nothing!

The following pictures are from an area known as the Williams, that has been logged in places, and is in the foothills. You can ride a horse that is barefoot sound here without any hoof protection

The pics are from about a week or so ago, when I and a friend finally got time for a ride together. Besides a herd of wild horses, we came across a herd of elk, with one big bull

Findingthetrail_zps101d0a84.jpg

Niceview_zps56e0d017.jpg

Don't need a store in order to have a great lunch!

LunchFriend_zps3767472b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes the trails are wet in places

cHARLIEMUDHOLE_zps7f12efb8.jpg

Here is where I ride barefoot in winter-in un packed snow in the pasture. Riding/training a three year old in this pic , that I sold to Ontario, and that now lives in Florida, as she was sold to the wife of a US ambassator. And no, her mouth is not open, before anyone asks. She has a white chin, blending in with the snow, and it is the extra length of a curb strap hanging down that I did not cut off

ColoradoCutie_zps6ccbea81.jpg

Edited by Smilie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not tried any boots or glue on shoes yet but am looking into both as an option to shoeing. We have a lot of barefooters that never need shoes no matter where we are going, all mules. We have a couple of horses that are mostly OK bare but need shoes when we are riding in certain areas for more than an afternoon. We also have a couple of mules that need shoes periodically and some horses and one mule that are shod any time we are riding them. We have one mare that is only shod in front for normal riding.

I would like to find some decent boots that will stay put and not rub but I have not been brave enough to spend the money to experiment yet. Boots are so expensive and it is hard to spend that money when I am not convinced that they will work for me! Our farrier work is all done by my husband so boots are an expense that cannot be balanced out by not having to pay a farrier.

On a general note, I think that the best way is what is best for the animal at that time. Bare, shod, boots, whatever is needed to keep that animal productive and comfortable. I like bare only because it is easier and less expensive. I have nothing against shoes having ridden several horses into ripe old age with no difficulties even though they were shod all of their lives.

I don't think that everybody needs to know how to shoe but every equine keeper should have at least an idea of what a healthy, well trimmed or well shod hoof looks like so that they can identify issues with their own animal. How can you decide what is best for your animal if you can't tell if something is not right or you have no idea what your options are?

As always, I love your pictures Smilie. I just got back from a trip to the wilderness but have not had time to do anything with the pictures that I took.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Tevis trail isn't very far from my house.

I live in the Sierra Mountains and we have lots of granite and sharp serpentine rock on the trails.

Most of the time, my horses have been kept barefoot since I generally ride in the foothills.

There are a few trails around here that require shoes or boots for traction or to protect the hoof from damage or chips. I like the screw-on/threaded square caulks on wet/muddy trails since they can be added/removed from the shoe as needed.

Most of people I ride with have gaitors for their boots or use glue ons.

One person has a TW gelding, that oversteps and catches it's heels all the time. So she slides over-sized rubber bell boots over her easy boots to protect & keep them on. Looking at it on the trail, you would swear that horse had massive draft hooves!

Except for a few horses with hoof problems, most of the horses around here, go barefoot in the winter. Frost normally melts each day and when we do get an occasional snow, it's the "California Concrete" (high water content) and only lasts about 1-2 days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Far as boot recommendations, I would not get boots that extend above the coronary band (well, except for pastern gaitors )

I like hoof boots for horses esp that are fine barefoot most places but need some protection on rough trails and extended trips into the mountains, esp if those trips are far apart

My husband only gets serious about riding in hunting season, thus if I have his horse shod in summer, he might take that horse on one trip into the mountains, for two days, max, and then that horse runs around the pasture shod, until he needs a re-set. I have to pay a farrier, as I only trim my horses, thus for me it is cheaper to invest in a good set of hoof boots that last a year at least, or more (only used when needed, and not on full time like shoes), as it is way cheaper in the long run for me, plus healthier for the horse

Barefoot, I can put those hoof boots on when needed, then take them off and since I trim myself, keep that horse form ever having over grown hoof walls. It is really the best of both Worlds, as the research of people like Robert Bowker have left no doubt, that if barefoot, if possible, that is the best for the horse, regardless whether some horses are able to remain functionally sound, shod all their life

At the same time , at this moment intime, anyway, there are times that shoes out perform hoof boots, so I am not opposed to shoing a horse with healthy feet, short term, and will do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this