I've been a barefoot dressage rider for the past 8 years, and am just starting to event as of last year. My 11 yo ASB mare can do a BN course with ease and has hooves of steel!! (I love the ATV reference!!) She has been barefoot all her life.
I'm now transitioning my 7 y/o OTTB with "flat feet" to barefoot. It does take time. I've had him since March, and *knock wood*, he seems to be handling it quite well. I still have to put boots on if we go down the road, but in grass or in the sand arena, he's doing very well. He feels very "stable" when taking off to a jump.
I have no aspirations of even getting to anything above Novice/Training. I'm old and have turned chicken! LOL!! But it does my heart happy to hear of folks making it barefoot!
I have to admit I cringe when I hear people say they will put shoes on for traction or to move up a level. Try using some boots on your horse. When fitted properly they will give you the same traction shoes and studs do, WITHOUT damaging the beautiful hoof your horse has grown. EasyCare has a wide range of boots with different treads, even ones designed for mud (Easyboot Grip)! Check it out: www.easycareinc.com
Have you tried them jaffems ? What level are you jumping at ? I have all four of my lot barefoot - but it hardly counts because we are at the lowest level. I do seem to have a grip advantage against shod horses in very wet conditions - but for moving up ... I"m not so sure. That's an awful lot of torque to out on a boot which is literally just strapped to the foot. I lost a renegade the other day, just at a walk, on a particularly washed out stretch (of trail, not competition) and have regularly shredded easyboot epics at high speed out foxhunting. I am a complete barefooting nutcase, and would only want to consider a solid shoe if my horse really really needed to hold a hoof together at all costs to get over some trauma ... but I am yet to be convinced about boots in competition.
(I'd like to be convinced though !)
There's a lady over in England who the Renegade people put forward as their best example of a competitive ride in renegade boots - and her answer was that if the conditions are such that your grip barefoot is insufficient for the jumps you are doing that day - perhaps you should do those jumps another day.
Not an eventer, but my horse has gone XC, hunted, trail ridden, shown with some level of consistency, all barefoot. Like Dr. Doolittle, he's been barefoot since birth. He gets biotin and trimmed when he needs it.
He always figured we'd put shoes on him as soon as he needed them. So far he hasn't, so we're saving the money.
Count me in! My younger gelding is now doing BN barefoot and the only time he had traction issues was in the rain at fairhill, but then even those with studs in were slipping and sliding all over. He has been barefoot and sound since he was born and I plan to keep him that way if at all possible. My older gelding, 28 years young , has been barefoot his whole life and never had a problem. He has done everything from pony club through C3, to eventing, endurance, and horse camping in the sierras. I love not having to worry about shoes getting thrown!
Love this post, I have an older FEI horse that I have barefoot. He moves better now than he did when he had shoes on! He is 24 and can passage like a king... I keep him trimmed every 6 weeks, as he has quite a big pasture to move around in. Good hay, senior feed and his supplements are in his daily program.
Great thread. I've only dabbled in BN, but we do Hunter Paces, H/J shows, trails/camping...you name it.
I think some of the breeds with excellent hoof genetics have it easier than TBs and QHs. Morgans, Arabs, ASBs and of course Mustangs will tend to have those great "easy barefoot" hooves because of mother nature.
My old OTTBs couldn't go barefoot because of thier "crappy TB feet" Some TBs have decent hooves but you have to FIND those ones!
And yes - more traction w/ barefoot versus shoes. Way more.
I want to join too!! My mustang has never had shoes and never will if I have my way. She has feet like iron and I ride her on some pretty narly ground, through basalt rock, up and down mountains, and never takes an unsound step. I also event her and although we've had a couple of minor slips, no problems 99.9% of the time. I pick up her feet sometimes just to admire their shape, the big wide bulbs and the cups at the quarter line.
Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert
We are currently competing at Training Level barefoot and loving it!
OH wow - I totally got sucked right into reading that blog. What a wonderful endeavor! It is so rare to see "good/natural horsemanship sporthorse training" That is my thing, too, and I'm lucky to have a local trainer/friend of the same philosophy.
Have you ever cliniced with Trudy Exton? I think she is the ultimate example for "Good Horsemanship + H/J" and Terry Church for Natural Dressage.
You don't see it in the eventing world too much though. Kudos to you and the Sweet Water gang