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Training Level without hind shoes??

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  • Training Level without hind shoes??

    Yes? No?

    My gelding has good feet. He was in front shoes only for a long time, but I noticed his hind feet started chipping last year when we were out on the rocky trail nearly every day. Now we're mostly in a super cushy arena, and the trails we have easy access to aren't nearly as rocky, so I'm debating on pulling his hind shoes now as a test run.

    Our first HT is in May, and if things go according to plan we will be running Training for the first time. Obviously we will school XC several times before that, and have a few schooling shows lined up, so if I decide to change him back to fully shod I will have time.

    Thoughts? The ground in my area is really hard over the summer, so that is something to consider. But if it's possible to keep him barefoot behind I would prefer it. He goes out with a buddy, and they tend to play fairly rough.
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  • #2
    I am sure it can done and has been done, especially out in CA where you don't have the issues with dewy grass or mud that we have here. That being said, I tend to think, at training level, you either need all four so you can stud (I always stud behind, but not always up front), or go hardcore and go barefoot and let their natural traction do its job. I, personally, would leave them on, especially if the footing tends toward hard.


    • #3
      i agree, having done barefoot and all 4 shoes (but only at novice, but here in GA with the red clay mud). i would do either/or mainly for stud purposes.
      Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

      Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


      • #4
        I've done it completely barefoot.
        It seems general opinion is moving toward studs at lower levels though.

        If he is going well in shoes, not sure I'd pull them approaching the season. It can take a couple months to get used to barefoot again, and it might impact your prep if he is tender.


        • #5
          Mine is currently running training level with no shoes behind down in Florida where it is sandy. I may end up putting shoes on for training once he is back in PA although he ran novice last year up here with no issues at all, so I haven't made a definite decisionl.
          OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


          • #6
            I ran the Hou Man Training with no back shoes. He was super sturdy on his feet. Also, the HTs I did with him had a lot of sand and/or thick fluffy grass.

            On the flip side, I had to stud Boomer as early as novice because he was a dork and always slipped out behind.

            I like the studs more for the dressage and SJ (if on grass) where you are in a smaller space and tend to have tighter turns.
            Especially when there are lengthens in the dressage and I'm on grass. I always put in some traction. Makes ME tend to ride more bold and get better movement out of my mount.

            I've also been on some horses who jump very bold when they are studded, and are a little too careful when they don't have the studs.

            I think it's more horse to horse case than it is for the rider.
            Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


            • #7
              I agree, nurp. For me it is a lot more to do with the dressage and sj at this level than the xc. But, again, sandy footing, I probably wouldn't worry about it. Around here, you often have 3 choices of footing: muddy, dewy, or hard and dry (Which is slick as snot!). I like a little stud for any of those, especially in dressage and sj on a horse who may or may not still be finding their feet.


              • #8
                It totally depends on the horse and the footing. Some horses and footing, no problem, others need it.


                • #9
                  I usually put hind shoes on at training level. The footing here is clay and it gets hard and slippery. Can be slippery when wet too, it just depends what you are jumping on. It is more of a problem for show jumping if it is in grass than for XC.


                  • #10
                    I am also in area VI and my old Appy went fine at training level with shoes just in front.

                    He didn’t get shoes all around until we did training level at Wild Horse ( which is long gone ) – as they had dressage and show jumping on dewy grass, and slipping was a concern. So he got shoes so he could have studs all around.

                    Are there any venues that run on grass in CA any more? Most are sand arenas, or dirt / sand mixes. XC tends to be dirt that has been harrowed into soft footing. Summers are dry, so mud is not a concern (but some places can be hard if they do not harrow the xc course).
                    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                    • #11
                      My guy currently runs Training w/ no hind shoes (and, therefore, sans studs) and he does great. Definitely varies from horse to horse though.


                      • #12
                        If your ground stays hard you might be fine.
                        I thought my DD would be fine at Training barefoot, she went to her first schooling event barefoot last fall and slid right into her first stadium fence (grass arena, rained the night before). I was scared to death for her on XC and reiterated the "you can pull up anytime on XC and I won't be mad at you" rule but it turned out fine. Second schooling event went fine, but he's getting shoes next week and DD is getting a stud kit for her birthday. Mommy isn't messing around.


                        • #13
                          I'm not a fan of studs at lower levels. Run barefoot until you need help. That will also tell you a lot about your horse (and perhaps your riding).


                          • #14
                            I wouldn't. I'd either shoe all four or leave them barefoot all around. Barefoot is probably fine in California where most of the tracks are tilled, or you are on flat irrigated ground. For hilly and grassy, would absolutely have shoes so you can stud... learned that lesson the hard way when I had a horse tear a DDFT at novice slipping on a mild downhill in dewy grass.


                            • #15
                              I've never studded for training or below. Mine have always either been barefoot or barefoot behind at those levels.
                              Yes, I ride a pony. No, he would not be ideal for your child. No, he is not a re-sale project...


                              • #16
                                Totally depends on the horse. I have one that I shod behind starting at novice because he needed studs at that level (and was and still is known to yahoo with enthusiasm no matter the footing, so needs some grip). Another went through prelim barefoot behind and never a stud. He's incredibly balanced naturally with a great hoof wall for gripping. His last training was at FETA in Tryon, basically on the side of a mountain, and he never put a foot wrong. Unshod behind gives more traction than shod without studs, so it really comes down to whether he needs shoes as dictated by hoof quality and studding requirements depending on the individual horse.
                                Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                                • #17
                                  One of my students had a lovely Arab she was eventing at Training barefoot, slipped on a turn approaching the water at a venue with fabulous sandy footing, just a slick spot. Fell right in front of the jump in. He was leery of water jumps for MONTHS.

                                  When it comes to jumping, my motto is "don't let sh*t happen to scare the horse when it is learning it's job". YMMV.

                                  Third Charm Event Team


                                  • #18
                                    So can they learn to be better on grass? My guy had some slipping when SJ on grass at BN. I wonder if it because we always do that kind of jumping in a ring? I also am very hesitant to put hind shoes on, because he and his buddy boy play very hard!


                                    • #19
                                      I don't think, in this area, you could run training and not have all four on.

                                      My little drafty girl is very used to having studs on grass and she is more tentative without them. As she is quite competent at SavingMyAss, I would prefer she not hesitate, ever.
                                      Big Idea Eventing


                                      • #20
                                        One of my students had a lovely Arab she was eventing at Training barefoot, slipped on a turn approaching the water at a venue with fabulous sandy footing, just a slick spot. Fell right in front of the jump in. He was leery of water jumps for MONTHS.

                                        When it comes to jumping, my motto is "don't let sh*t happen to scare the horse when it is learning it's job". YMMV.

                                        I have 4 on, rarely run studs.
                                        Been drilled into me by my trainers [J Wofford/D Emerson], you can never be over prepared.