My horse was barefoot initially but ended up being very footsore in front (using boots on most rides). She is an OTTB with the typical thoroughbred feet. Vet recommended shoes which she has been in ever since. Farrier notices big increase in hoof wall since she has been shod for the past 15 months. The metal shoes seem to work fine for her but this summer we will be going to the Sierras and may be doing some very rocky (as in portions of trail consisting of large rocks/small boulders). I am wondering if the epona shoe would be better in this case as it would offer more traction? Given the cost, I would probably just have her in the eponas for the shoeing cycle that coincides with the trip. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
They offer more protection to the bottom of the foot than a rim shoe. They are thick, and while some people will shoe just the fronts with them, I'd do all four.
Get the ones with the carbide tips if you are thinking about SERIOUSLY rocky terrain.
I'd also glue and nail if you are doing alot of steep hills etc as the combo makes for maximum stickability
This is something that I have been considering also. My horses can go down any trail barefoot for a day,But they just can't do multiple day rides over the really rocky terrain.
I have boots and use them occassionally, I don't see them as the solution to riding a lot in rough country. Hardware on the boots break, gaiters get torn, boots get lost so they actually cost me more to use than just shoeing the horse.
Last fall I put shoes back on for 4 weeks to get thru the fall hunting season. What a difference it made to the way my horses moved thru the rocky terrain. So I know they are more comfortable with shoes.
This summer I plan to use shoes for the months when I will do the longest trail rides. I am looking at the various plastic shoe. One of my considerations is the improved traction of the plastic shoe over steel shoes on certain rock types, Granite in particular where te steel shoes just slides.
I've had good reports of folks getting a second reset out of their Ground Control plastic shoes. The folks that I have talked to that use them report, that they use them on the front hooves for one set, then put them on the hind hooves when they reset them. Getting about 12 weeks of wear out of the same shoe. This makes them almost as cost effective as steel shoes.
Thanks for the info. The main rock in the Sierras is granite and on sections of the trail they are literally walking on large granite rocks and boulders. I'll be talking to my farrier to get his opinion. My problem with hoof boots is that my mare over reaches when she gallops and she has torn off several gaiters (no we don't gallop over the granite boulders). The easy boot gloves which lack a gaiter don't fit her right.
My "how does that work" comment was with regard to avoiding overreach with the renegade hoof boots.
The ground control plastic shoes vs eponas. Ground control shoes are cheaper. Eponas are more expensive. From what I have read the ground control shoes appear to be more durable than the eponas. The eponas look more "high tech" perhaps offer more cushion? Would love to hear from users of either and especially someone who has had experience with both.
I don't think the renegades would work for my horse. She steps on her heel (always in bell boots). This only happens at a gallop but she is an OTTB and that is part of our trail ride routine when we find a nice stretch on which to gallop. I tried the easy boot epics but she ripped off too many gaiters. I even tried putting bell boots over the epics but that didn't seem to help As I said, the glove does not fit her.
try the eponas. i competed my mare in distance riding in boots and barefoot with difficulty. she tore off the boots (especially RF) regularly). and the gaiters rubbed her pasterns. we tried numerous boots and all were an issue which was frustrating and caused me to eventually turn back to shoes.
i never had a chance to try the eponas while competing (i discovered them while she was rehabbing from a suspensory injury which put an end to all competition), however, i've used them for over two years now and have had friends who use them for serious trail riding. if i were to ever compete again and i'd use the eponas. they offer great protection and great traction.
my mare has not had any trouble overreaching in them even when going crazy in the pasture and so far has torn one off only once (she'd pull a boot off at least once EVERY time we rode, short ride, long ride, didn't matter). however, properly applied, the shoe will stick out behind the heels so depending on what type of overreaching your horse does, you might want to slap on a pair of bell boots.
also, if you choose to try them, i generally use the plain shoe, no mesh, no carbide tips, however, this winter i applied the shoes with carbide tips to her hinds to provide her with some additional traction (she's had bilateral hind suspensory injury so i don't want her tweaking anything). i really liked the carbide tips. they're small, strategically placed, and offer just a bit of extra grip. we did a lot of road riding on pavement this fall/winter/spring and they performed great on there, too.
my mare trots in these shoes willingly on hard pavement, something she never did comfortabally in boots with pads or rim shoes with pour in pads. i have a theory that it has something to do with shock absorption provided by the material, but that's just my theory. all that matters in the end is that the horse is comfortable.
oh, and i glue and nail my shoes on, however, you could just nail them. in fact, i had to do that last week b/c of technical difficulties with my glue (left it out in a hot car and i think i ruined it ).
I've seen great results with Epona and Ground Control shoes. I like the Epona design better so far, but I haven't seen them ridden in for too many miles...after seeing that cool chart you linked, Mukluk, I ordered a set of Epona shoes for my currently barefoot trail horse and want to test them out a bit in our super rocky terrain, maybe do my own comparison test.
IME GC shoes do pretty well out on the trail and are really durable. The first time I put them on I didn't believe it because I shaped them with a really dull rasp very easily, but that client rode for an hour or so in the mountains most days and we got 2 resets out of them. I was pretty impressed. edit: not that riding for an hour or so a day is particularly hard work, but it was on rocky trails and we got about 20 weeks of wear out of the shoes, so I thought it was pretty good.
Both designs give better traction than metal shoes on slick rock and pavement IME, and will actually protect the hoof better because they cover more or all of it.
I've been using Eponas off and on for a year and a half. The mare I'm using them on is sound barefoot, ridden dressage, but just benefits from the height boost in front of the Eponas plus Vibram pads. Night and day difference for her. She goes from feeling like a dumpy QH to feeling like a nice WB. Metal shoes don't have the same effect.
I've been using the same set for the whole time I've been using them. I finally just used fiberglass resin to glue the pad to the shoe because they just don't seem to wear. Granted most of my riding has been on grass or sand, but to get about a year from one set of shoes...
I'm getting ready to order some for my arab. I've moved to a house on miles of dirt road, but there is some nasty gravel, and about a mile of pavement to get to the dirt roads. He's come up a bit hoofsore from stepping on gravel. My boots don't fit, and I just don't like the idea of doing much real riding in boots because they rub and are a pain to put on.
Only thing with Eponas is that they do sit off the back of the hoof a bit, so will either need to be trimmed up a bunch to keep from being ripped off, or you'll have to rely on bells. Getting them on perfectly seems to help some, as does getting the trim underneath very even. Make sure the horse is landing evenly side to side before shoeing, and they will shift a lot less and stay on much better. I wish they had clips
My shoer did not want to use the Eponas before our last summer trip so I just went with steel and it worked OK because the terrain was not too rocky. But this year, we are going back to a place with LOTS of Granite, sections of trail where it is nought but granite!!!. I am going to talk to my shoer again but if he does not want to put her in Eponas, I may just have someone else put them on her. I really don't want her slipping an sliding on the granite. I hope it will work for the girl.
Why doesn't he want to use them? They nail on like steel.
I've since tried the ground controls, which I took full advantage of the money back guarantee for. Those things wouldn't stay on for anything. I was having issues with the eponas staying on my Arab because he over reaches and they just couldn't be shortened further. The poly steel shoes work fabulously for him. After trying them I think I prefer them to epona. They come in more size options and you can place the nail holes wherever you want. Just make sure to drill them first. I much prefer the plastic to metal. Better grip on pavement, better wear, better protection from gravel, easier to fit.
Or you could just use a good steel shoe (like a St Croix Eventer or Natural Balance) and use 4 borium tipped nails per shoe. The borium gives good traction for a couple of weeks before it wears off. And the shoes listed above give better traction than plain flat steel shoes.
I am Epona Institute trained to apply the Eponas...I went out and took the three day course in CA to learn to use them correctly. It was one of the best courses any trimmer can take. Love these shoes...I don't think they are a cure for all that ails a horse's hoof but they are a fantastic tool and the shoes are designed to mimic a bare hoof IF you apply them the right way.
You really HAVE to pack in the bottom of the hoof before applying them. You need to keep the debris out as well as stop the shoes from peripherally loading the walls and to support the entire hoof capsule and keep it functioning as close to a bare hoof as possible. The packing is extra protection and support also. We use the dental impression material and antibacterial granules to reduce the chances of thrush.
I generally nail them on now...3-4 nails per side. I use the very expensive epoxy ONLY when I can't get enough nails in. They stay on fine. They also can/will stick out a bit more in the heel than steel shoes and generally do not get stepped off so don't let that scare you...and there are always exceptions of course. Also, they need to be set back a bit more than standard shoes as they are thicker and will increase breakover if you do not changing the horses way of going. They are very unlikely to cause sole pressure problems in most horses because they are plastic and have the gel pad but I have seen it happen in a thin soled TB type once.
I put them on my horses for a weekend long ride at Mt. Rogers in VA a year or two ago and I loved how they protected the horses hooves. It was like having good hiking boots on the horse and their traction even on wet rocks was excellent. The steel shod horses in our group were still ouchy on the worst rocks and our horses walked out happily on the worst footing. The difference was quite amazing.
As for wear...I could have reset those shoes from that trip but the rocks did wear them down more than "normal" use here. In our sandy soil here in SE VA, I can reset a pair three times at least. If you do use the epoxy, you will have to have a grinder to clean off the bottoms of the shoes and it's a PITA..but is doable.
I just realized by looking back how old this thread is. I do hope you can get your shoer to try using them. I would suggest that he call the Epona folks and get a bit of information on how to apply them before he just nails them on...or try and find a farrier/trimmer who's been to their course.
I've never used the Ground Controls but have wanted to try them. Interesting to see the reviews on them. They have a big advantage in that you can put your nail holes anywhere in the rim of the shoe and drill out a hole where you need it. The Eponas will either fit well or they won't. I've not had much trouble fitting he Eponas to most horses. The only one that I had issues with was a WB with triangular shaped hooves...very odd. That horses needed a custom shoe made for her.