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    Re: [RC] shoeing/barefoot/traction question - Heidi Smith

    Howard, you are right that the problem of rocky terrain is made more difficult as distance increases.  As RM's and head vets get their heads together over allowing exceptions to shoeing rules, you can bet that distance figures in.  However, there are still trails with sufficient rock that one would be a fool to go without some sort of hoof protection even on an LD.  Your second paragraph below makes my earlier point--conditions are indeed different from ride to ride and area to area.  In November in the NW, you might also consider hauling away from a ridesite on the Oregon desert and going to the fairgrounds in town after the ride, so that your horse can have shelter and you can rent a motel room with heat.  The issue isn't about difficulty of trails, either, since deep sand or muddy footing can present quite a degree of difficulty without presenting a lot of risk to unshod feet.  Likewise, you can have a ride with quite a bit of mountainous terrain where the footing is primarily humus and duff on timber trails.  The issue here is purely and simply footing--here in the NW we tend to get either volcanic footing or granite/shale sorts of footing (and sometimes both on different sections of the same ride), both of which can rip a horse's feet to shreds within a few miles.  This would do to your barefoot horse's feet what coming straight out of a NW early spring to a Florida ride in high heat and humidity might do to one of our horses metabolically.
    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Sunday, September 22, 2002 9:40 AM
    Subject: Re: [RC] shoeing/barefoot/traction question

    Anyway, the writer of the post who posed the question was planning on doing a 25 miler, and my answer to her was in response to that distance.   
    My daughter and I have completed a few 50 milers with my horses barefoot, mostly in Florida.  That might not be good enough for Sylvia over there in California, I suppose things are much more difficult out there.  I'm sure if I went to some of the rides you attend I would consider shoes.  If you went to some of the rides I attend, you'd consider renting a room in a motel close to ridecamp so you could have air conditioning. 

    Re: [RC] shoeing/barefoot/traction question, Howard Bramhall