I am fairly new to driving - normally I event. I have lots of help so don't worry about that sort of thing. My little pony (about 11 hh) is trundling around the farm and farm tracks really well. Trouble is the tracks can be a bit stony. We would also like to go out on the roads (which are very quiet, and he is very traffic proof), BUT what do people do about shoeing little hooves? I have an excellent farrier who will happily make shoes or whatever, but he has concerns about finding small enough nails to use. He has talked about using resin, both on its own or attaching shoes on. Has anyone used tiny little barefoot boots for driving in? I am helping at a combined driving competition in a couple of weeks so I will have a look at what the little ponies have, but most do tend to go without shoes. Barefoot is happening okay at the moment, but stony tracks do not go well with barefoot, especially coming up to the winter. His feet are wearing out!!
What have other people done?
I dont have them yet, but will be ordering some once i save up enough money. I've been told the only real heavy duty boots for this small of feet are Hoofwings.com They have rave reviews. (There are some other types that go small, but are not made to really hold up for more than turn-out situations, not road work... and you might measure feet, some easyboots come pretty small, just not small enough for mine.)
Just a side note, if you start out slow on gravel/road, your bare feet will get nice and tough! My mini is barefoot and we do about an hour a day on the road. He does not have anything on his feet and does hit some gravel now and then. I do not have any issues with him except his feet wear faster (all that self trimming on pavement). I keep a rasp and do a quick go round once a week to keep proper shape, i have no need for a farrier for him with this work load. His feet stay great. However, i do see him starting to wear too fast and thus i want the boots to use a few days a week so we are not wearing down too much hoof wall.
Some do use glue on shoes. There is also a liquid stuff called Sole Pack or something like that. I've never used it either. You fill the foot with it, it dries hard in a minute or so, and protects the whole bottom of the hoof. I do not know how long it takes to wear out, and it is rather pricy, probably doable for a small pony as it wouldnt take as much.
Not sure if your Farrier might carry race nails, they are thinner than regular shoe nails. Might work for you. I kept a pony the size of yours shod for a man years ago. It was his only means of transportation and he LOVED to drive that pony. Man had lots of friends to visit, used the pony to get there, so drove at least 20 miles a day, often more than that. Pony was reshod about every 5 weeks, because the shoes were worn thin. It was almost like peeling off foil from gum wrappers, when I took off the old shoes! I used race nails on him, regular keg pony shoes. Pony had good thick walls, tough hooves and sole, with the terrific circulation benefits of exercise! Pony never lost a shoe, just wore them out. Thin nails made all the difference in keeping hooves sound, no splits or problems. He was one FIT Shetland Pony, American type, good mover!!
Husband says some of the epoxy mixes sold to Farriers will work for short term shoes. He has used the mix for horses with worn down toes, and the minis getting lots of mileage for CDE. They were too small to hold a nailed shoe. An application lasts about 3 weeks, then is worn out or comes off. Just lay a bead of mix along the hoof wall, let it dry. Probably similar to what Drive NJ linked you to. Sorry, forgot to ask which name mix he preferred. Can do that if you are interested.
This reminds me of the "good old days" (way too many years ago!) when we'd get a farrier to shoe the heels of our cowboy boots. The heels would NEVER wear down and you'd get the heels transferred to new boots. Of course, you did leave interesting footprints, and you couldn't walk on a wet floor or on anything remotely slick.
Race nails do sound like the way to go, though --- there are so many tiny ponies that are shod, and 11 hands isn't that tiny, that there has to be a normal, logical solution.
Thanks for all the advice and ideas. Farrier was out the other day and looked at Titch. He reckons he could nail shoes on - using race nails. He thought that using resin as a shoe on its own would be cost prohibitive - especially when I don't really need it all the time. After much back and forward we decided to try boots and I have found a pair of very small boots to try on him. Farrier thought this was even better than shoes, because it would protect his soles form the gravel on the roads. I'm trying with just front boots at first and then if needed and they work I'll get back boots. I also found glue on boots which I thought would be great for a CDE or similar.
Next weekend there is a CDE near here that I will go and watch. I'll have a look at what people use on their ponies there. Most people seem to go unshod, but then lots of people here have plenty of non roads to work on.
This is soooo much fun. Pony is getting fitter and fitter. Friend commented that other day that he looks like a TB, not a fat little kids pony.
Oh and now I've measured him properly and he's 104 cm, so about 10:1 hh.
Last edited by phoebetrainer; Apr. 2, 2010 at 12:49 AM.
I have a 12.2 HH Hackney pony with tiny, tiny feet that I drove for five or six years. He is now retired and wondering why I don't drive him any more, but that's another story--he'll be 29 next month and just can't do it any more, although he sure would like to try.
Anyway, his feet are around the same size as a mini horse's. My farrier was custom making his shoes for a while, but it was really hard to pick out those tiny feet with shoes on, plus shoes don't work so well in Colorado for an outdoor only horse because we can get snow so much of the year. So I bought him some boots for the front only, and that did the trick.
At the time that I bought them, Boa was the only one of the major boots that was small enough for him, so that's what I bought. I liked being able to put boots on him when we went out and then turn him back out into the pasture barefoot. He did very well in them.
I am now driving our bigger pony, and bought Cavallo boots for him. He's in the smallest size. I just started using them and he seems to go well in them, although he doesn't stand well in them. I think it's because it's new and different, not because they are hurting him, as I'm finding no rub marks and he moves out so well in them.
We have just bought a set of Easyboots from http://www.minitack.com/hoofcare.htm for my friend's Shetland Pony stallion. He needed the "Mini" sized ones. His "normal" shoes are size 000 with the heels cut off - and farrier managed to get a supply of size 2 & 1/2 nails.
He is 9.1 & 1/2hh and is usually shod all round during the show season, but one of our biggest (and earliest) shows is in late August (at end of our winter) and as the weather is usually too wet to drive in the paddocks, they have to go down the forest road and back. This road/track is very rough and stony. We have struggled with fitness issues at times but hopefully with the Easyboots we will have a much fitter pony to play with. http://s37.photobucket.com/albums/e8...veinboots1.jpg http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e8...elaide2005.jpg
Just got to hope that they don't rip too much feather out.