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[RC] Boots will change a horse's gaits. - Spottedracer

OK, I'm pretty blunt.. I have no problems keeping the shoes on my endurance horses, and I've primarily just kept barrier boots around in case of a thrown shoe on a trail...  This said..... I've been toying around with the idea of saving money by pulling the shoes of them in the off-season (which is 8 months outt've the year for me).. The only reason I haven't done that - is that my training area consists of a lot of gravel/paved roads, and rocky hill trails.  I've previously worn wild-caught mustang's hooves down to nubbs within a six-week training course on these trails/roads - and figured that I didn't want to chance 'road foundering' my two endurance mounts. Since they do a significantly higher mileage per ride than I ever did to a mustang.

I've been seeing all these new-fangled boots they've come out with. Have found information about Telvis cup completers using them. So obviously, these boots can hold up to some serious terrain!  But, After seeing the price tags on some of them, I decided I'd better see how my
GAITED horses would handle boots first.  Since I haven't found any testimonials from gaited horse owners using these boots, and everyone that's familiar with gaited breeds realizes that even the slightest change in hoof angles can cause a MAJOR change in gait.

So I pulled out my barrier boots (
one still has the price tags on - from 1999!)  And caught my newest addition to my 'endurance string'.  I've just put her back in conditioning, and since she's been barefoot for 8 months, I felt she was the perfect 'victim' to test this boot idea on...

Well, she accepted the boots just fine. They were even the perfect size!  So we headed down the pavement at a decent clip. I realized something VERY QUICKLY!  She was now bringing her knees up and out more like a padded/chained TWH/RH,  Stayed primarily in her rack (
she normally stays in a Flat Walk/Show Walk) and her gait going slightly downhill was now very rough (she's normally very smooth). We only went for 4 miles - then I took the boots off for the galloping portion of the workout. (didn't want to push things to fast - might pull a tendon..)

So I decided to try getting my primary endurance mount used to this idea as well.  She's had very bad experiences with her prior owners - and is the type of horse that must be tranquilized for resettings due to her overriding fear of farriers. She doesn't like changes very well, but I hoped that if it kept the dreaded farrier's hammer away - that she'd warm up to it. (
Trimming doesn't bother her - it's the rest of it..).. So I put some old bell boots on her (she still has plates on - so couldn't try the actual boots).. WOW!!! Who needs chains when you've got bell boots??  My 'Western Pleasure' SSH suddenly began lifting her knees 4" higher and her poll actually raised above the withers!!!  Now SHE was SMOOTH with this bigger/higher action...

I'm going to keep getting these two used to the boot idea. I think it'll help the concussion from the roads, and save money at the same time!
  But man, it's amazing how boots/bell boots will really change a gaited horse's gaits!!! They don't tell you this in their advertising!

- Laura Peck