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[RC] Traction in the Mud (was: A little experimentation...) - k s swigart

Angie said:

The?final straw for me was on the last 10 mile loop of the
?2nd day it poured rain for about an hour, the trail turned
?muddy and slick, my other horse that had steel shoes
?on (my husband was riding him with me), was not sliping
?and sliding nearly as much as I was, my mare was sliding
?so much that she was actually difficult to get to move forward
?as she knew she was going to slide.

In my experience with all of the hoof protection options that I have tried 
(steel shoes, Ground Control shoes, foamed on Easy Boots, Easy Boot Epics, Old 
Mac Boots) that nothing provides better traction in mud than steel shoes. I 
have not tried EasyBoot Grips in mud, so I don't know about how they perform, 
traction-wise, in the mud.

I have also found that, of all the above options, steel shoes are the easiest 
for the horse to LIFT out of the mud if the mud is deep.

Since reducing concussion between the hoof and the ground is an absolute 
non-issue when the ground is muddy, if any of my horses needs hoof protection 
in the winter time (when it is muddy around these parts), they get steel.

And they all wear steel on the back, all the time.? The only time that I have 
found that steel doesn't provide better traction (which I consider especially 
important on the hind end) is on pavement..and I really don't do all that much 
riding on pavement (although i was happy to have a barefoot horse this past 
weekend for riding a dancing horse in a 4th of July parade).? 

If I think that I am going to be doing a lot of work on pavement (like when 
driving a horse on the road), I will put regular EasyBoots on over the steel.? 
I also do that if I know there is going to be a lot of rock...and no mud.

In all of my experimenting with different forms of hoof protection over the 
last almost 20 years (I did my first barefoot endurance ride in 1991) I have 
found only two draw backs to steel shoes.? 1) they don't provide very good 
traction on pavement and 2) they require expertise and expensive equipement 
that not very many people have to apply.

Well, actually three draw backs: 3)?by applying steel shoes to your horse, you 
have armed it with, in essence,?brass knuckles.

I have come to the conclusion that any other drawbacks associated with steel 
shoes can actually be traced to #2, lack of expertise of the person applying 

Orange County, Calif.

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