I use hoof boots instead of shoes. Easyboot Bares have worked great so far on hilly pavement, slick grass, and wet earth. EasyCare also makes Easyboot Grips, another type of boot with additional traction. I believe they can be worn with or without horseshoes.
Probably the most commonly used shoe amongst endurance riders (and very popular with eventers and foxhunters) is the St. Croix Eventers. Excellent at grabbing ahold of the ground yet improves the break over for the horse. See a pic at http://www.valleyfarrier.com/cart/sh...y.asp?catid=49. I was amazed at the difference when I rode the same horse on slippery mountain trails in first a standard flat steel shoe and then the Eventers. Like night and day.
Eventers are nice shoes. Our horses wore them for years. I still had slipping on wet grassy hills though but I think all shoes/boots will slip. I use EAsyboot Bares and Epics now and the traction is pretty good but again wet grassy slopes will get you. I have to get over into some tall weedy stuff to have good traction. You can put studs on them too.
The best thing to do is really teach a horse to use their hindquarters. Once you do that the rest is gravy, I've ridden my good gelding to heck & back with sliders on the rear & when the going gets steep & slick he just sinks down & digs in.
Great suggestions & comments my friends!!
I would add to make sure your shoes have full swedges ie" grooves that collect dirt & pack around the nails. The first becomes a mild traction device. I'm of the opinion that any steep hill requires some thoughtful negotiation. I too, have had problems with traction devices. I prefer not to use them. Too many injuries & lost shoes tearing up hind feet. I foxhunt also and kinda feel that if the footing is so bad that you absolutely NEED traction devices? = then you don't need to go out at all or ride conservative. Steep hills are ridden switchback style for me!!
My mare currently has just smooth shoes - no wonder we are sliding down the hills. My farrier makes those from scratch - he is in today and will change her shoes - I’ll ask him to make something with grooves as you suggested. Also will ask him what he thinks off course
I also heard of some added melted metal on shoes? Did anybody tried that?
DA yes, your shoer can put melted on tungsten carbide (IIRC) lumps that act like studs. My horse had 4 on each shoe when he pulled a carriage at Knott's Berry Farm.
You can also get "ice nails" that have a raised carbide tip - it will wear off eventually but would give enough grip for slippery situations for a while.
However, as you know I just got back from a week fo trail riding in the Desolation Wilderness in Tahoe and we rode over many granite slabs and up and down granite "staircases" - I thought our guys would slip for sure, but no - they were very surefooted.
One's barefoot, the other is in Natural Balance shoes.
No matter what, going down a steep hill should be done switchback style, or slowly. Our greenie will slide down a hill on his butt if we let him walk too fast (he lets gravity do the work!)
We kept the horses at Camp Richardson Corral at night, and rode out from there to Fallen Leaf Lake and through the Angora fire burn area. We also trailered out to Big Meadow and rode to Dardanelles Lake.
The part we went into actual Desolation Wilderness was of course the one trail whose name I can't remember.... it was N of Emerald Bay and Rubicon Trail.... there were a string of lakes near each other about 6 miles in. That was some fairly rocky trail - our barefoot horse wore Boa boots in front for that, and the 10 total miles we GPSed was enough for our guys who are not used to the altitude and steep rocky trails (we'd do about 20 miles/day on trails closer to home.)
After years of having regular steel shoes, my horses are barefoot for the past year, with either Epics or Renegades. I actually find though, that when I am up on the mountains, in rocks and boulders and granite, their traction was far better in steel shoes. My endurance horse actually fell a few weeks ago on a big granite face (luckily I was leading him down and no one was hurt, he just got scraped up a bit and we both got really scared.) I think if I ever go back to doing a lot of riding in the mountains, I would go back to shoes.
Couple thoughts. Folks have mentioned "switch-back" down hills. I'd reserve this for mild slopes. When the going gets real steep I think the best way is to go straight down. Seen too many bad things happen when horses get sideways in the steep. Sometimes sliding on their butt isn't a bad thing.
We can slide just fine! She tucks her but in and off we go sliding for about 2-5 feet in a row, then she steps and then we slide again. We are both used to that and we just both stay very, very still when we slide - but that was on the dirt and grass. I NEVER went on the rock and don't think I'll be so brave as Xan to go there by the way Xan, I asked about cantering on the beach and was told that I should be happy just to be able to stay on my horse when she will see an ocean with waves for the first time
Now, it seems that I ironed out most of the detail for my upcoming 3 day trail riding trip... the only one biggie remain: how to mount back up on my almost 17 hands mare from the flat ground check out where my stirrups are on her: http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/member.php?u=96104 when I'm standing next to her, my stirrups are waist-line high!
I got the stirrups extenders and tried them up on the trail ride. I got on the extender, but then my horse's back was too high for me to put my leg over. I tried to climb first in the stirrup extender then in the regular stirrup, but my legs got tangled up and mare decided to jump during that ... when she is confused - she thinks that the best thing is to jump up in the air like a bunny hopping :roll: so that didn't work that good.
If I lower my stirrup, I can reach it with a jump from the ground and then if I jump from stirrup - I almost can clear the top of the saddle with my legs - but it's not pretty!!!
oh DA, forget all those ways of getting on - the best way is the endospink way!
Re: the pic you linked to, funnily enough I was thinking of Cougar Rock (I think that's what that pic is of) at several stages during that trip, while scrambling up some granite. *shudder* My tried and true method of dealing with those situations is to grab a chunk of mane and close my eyes while making a high-pitched whining sound. Works every time!
We put jackets in our bigger, rear saddlebags, or round our waists. Layer, layer, layer!