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[RC] Shoeing/Barefoot/Competing in boots - mark@xxxxxxxxxx

In response to the poster who asked who shoes their own horses - I am one.  I was a professional farrier for 15+years, and now do a few for special friends with whom I trade for horse care while I am away (shoeing is a GREAT barter chip!!).  I have never lost a shoe during a ride in 7000 miles (knocking on wood) and do not even think about it while riding.  It is a wonderful feeling to depend only on myself for hoof care - I have been known to get to a ride and change my shoes to fit the conditions.

As far as competing in boots - even though my horses are always shod, I have completed several 100s in easy boots.  My mare Equal Terms, is a hard heal hitter - pounds right down the trail, hitting heal first, and has suffered some bruising there on rocky rides.  My solution to this is to pull a pair or all four, old style number 1 easy boots right over the whole works.  The only prepping I do for the foot or the boot is to trim down the top so it does not rub her hairline, and to press down the metal grippy things.  I have never lost one, and have completed the Big Horn 100, Wolverine 100 and Sand Hills 100 in them as well as several 50s.  I am pretty sure she has the perfect shape and size for that boot.  As a result, I have scoured ebay for the last two years and bought up alot of the old style in her size and in #2 to fit my other mares.  I have not even tried the other new types of boots, because these have worked so well for me.  I do make sure not to use them in muddy rides, as I believe they have a big slip factor, and would be harder to keep on.

At Peace Point in WV last year, the end of one loop had 4 miles of pavement with no berms, so on the second day, after pitty patting that pavement twice the day before, with my heart in my throat, I tied up my horse at the start of that section, put on all four boots I carried and trotted 12 mph down the middle of the road! 

There is more than one way to skin a cat....

Laura Hayes