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Re: NATRC and rocks!

>Yes, they're held in rocky areas, but they are timed appropriately.  Most
>horses can safely pick their way through rocks if given the time; that is how
>NATRC rides are timed.  Where I am located (Santa Ynez, California) we have a
>lot of rocks and host 2 NATRC rides each year, including an IAHA Regional
>Championship ride) we accommodate for the rocks by adjusting the timing.  That
>is the difference between an AERC ride and an NATRC ride.  Given that most
>AERC riders adjust their own time and take it easy over the rocks, the top
>tenners might not.  Also, regarding pads, easy boots, etc.  My horse has
>finished the Tevis 5 times without anything other than shoes (I worried about
>traction over Cougar Rock and opted for no pads or easy boots).  In my
>experience, padding them up just adds to the complications of abscesses, foot
>tenderness, etc.  I think we can worry these issues to death, the natural
>approach is maybe better.  What do you all think?

The only reason I put shoes on my horses is to prevent excessive hoof wear
under high mileage or abrasive soil conditions -- for light trail riding
they are typically barefoot.  Several of them have done NATRC Novice rides
barefoot (just couldn't get a farrier out at the proper time) and we just
took it slow through the stoney stuff.  Never seen the need to pad (or use
easy boots), no matter how fast or how rocky  (but then that *is* an
advantage of a gaited horse -- no moment of suspension to cause us to pound
down onto stones <g>) -- and have never had to deal with an abscess, and
only one stone bruise in about 10 years of distance work.   The horses run
on a rocky 4 acres from when they are weanlings.

Lynn Kinsky (Santa Ynez, CA)

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