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[RC] barefoot horses - Ridecamp Guest

Please Reply to: joyce anderson farmountainjoyce@xxxxxxxxx or 
ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Reply to Olin Balch - I have been using & have competed barefoot horses for 20 
years.  ALL my horses train barefoot in states across the west in all types of 
terrain.  I DO NOT pound down gravel roads and try to focus on non compacted 
native soils of every type.  My horses average 40-60 miles a week and have 
fabulous feet - have never had a lame horse in competition and only lamenesses 
@ home from injury not related to riding.  Mostly Arabs - you do have to use 
some care about pace & footing.  I have done more 100's than 50's tho and tough 
rides like Bighorn & Race of Champions.  Because you cannot 'pick' your footing 
in a competition I use FLEX STEP rubber composit horseshoes for the actual 
rides.  Then pull them immediately after to keep my horses feet tough.  A key 
to successful barefoot use is careful trimming as needed (not just every 6 
weeks).  When I get a new horse that has been shod it does take a few months 
for them to form the natural thick 'pad' on the bottom of the hoof and to 
adjust to the 'feel' of the ground.  This is why I ONLY use the Flex Step shoes 
- if you use steel and the horse gets used to not feeling the ground - when you 
take the steel off - the horse will act 'barefoot.'  They can still feel the 
ground thru the Flex Steps but with a large amount of protection that allows 
them to cover whatever rocks they encounter at speeds necessary to stay 
competitive.  I also feel barefoot encourages and teaches the horse to place 
their feet more carefully which contributes to their long term soundness - 
steel shod horses all too often just slam over whatever ground they encounter 
which generates a lot of lateral torque which their legs & feet are not 
designed to accomidate.  My retired endurance horse did his last two Bighorn 
100's at age 17 & 18 placing 5th & 6th.  He is still sound & happy at 20 - 11 1 
day 100's & 1700 career miles - all training barefoot. If I can provide any 
additional information I would be very happy to work with you to help encourage 
vets, trainers, and riders consider the vast benefits of riding the barefoot 
horse.  farmoutain@xxxxxxxxx

===========================================================When you ask a 
Quarter horse for something he says - Sure -  and when you
ask an Arab for something he says  - Why? -
~  Heidi Smith

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