Barefoot on the Trail in Washington? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-09-2009, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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Barefoot on the Trail in Washington?

I just moved to Washington, near Seattle and I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on going barefoot out here. Back home in Ohio I got away with it but the trails here are a whole different thing. We found a natural hoof farrier and that seems to be working well so far. If we have to we'll go the easyboot route.
Thanks for your insight!

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post #2 of 18 Old 02-09-2009, 11:48 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Rhode Island
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I guess it depends on the horse. My friends in RI, what I believe to be the rockiest place on the planet haha, have trail horses. One is shod cause his feet are terrible and chip and crack away but the QH goes barefoot on the trails without a problem. We got over lots of rocky ground, through creeks and nice fields.
I also have used the "Old Mac Boots" here in Australia with my boys, we mainly have clay/hard ground trails, sand and some pebbly areas on the trails I frequent. I find the Old Macs are great for the pebbly areas in keeping stones out of their frogs plus my ponies seem to be rather tender footed on rocky areas but will power through with their booties on!
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-10-2009, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Washington State
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Why hello there! I'm a fellow Seattle area resident. When we got our pony, she was originally barefoot, but after a while it appeared that she was getting a little "ouchy" on the gravel and rocks. We decided to have her shod, and she's been shod regularly since. Granted, we haven't had any barefoot farriers, but that was our experience. I have been told that because good old western WA is as wet and muddy as it is, it tends to soften hooves and make them more tender. I could be wrong, but that's what I've heard. If you are a firm believer in barefooting it, boots may be necessary a bit more often. I'd also keep a fairly regular regime with picking out hooves, since they often get packed with wet mud which doesn't really do them much good and can set them up for thrush issues.

How are you liking Seattle so far? Wet? Well... a little bit snowy lately. Summers are pretty darn fantastic though. July and August are the best, and the somewhat dreary winters pay off for some brilliantly stunning green days. The trails are gorgeous, too. ;)

Last edited by Eolith; 02-10-2009 at 08:24 AM.
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-10-2009, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
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Have you used the easy boots yet? Our girls are all barefoot, but I have just recently "borrowed" my husbands horses' epics. I love them. We rode last weekend through nasty sticky sucking mud up over the top of the boots and they stayed put. I'm very impressed with them. I think I'd just use the boots rather than go to a shoe.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-10-2009, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 366
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We haven't made the plunge yet on boots. Still weighing the different options available. Easyboots, marquis, Cavallo, etc. they all want your money and lots of it. So far their hoofs don't seem to be too much worse for the damp weather. They got trimmed this past weekend and they seemed ok.

I do want to keep them barefoot if I can. That being said if not shoeing mmeans not riding, well then they get new nail holes every 6 weeks. We have them to ride not look at after all.

So far so good for Seattle! Snowing here today - I still remember our realtor saying that it never snows here. I think we bought the cold with us from Ohio!

Really looking forward to summer and hitting the trails with the horses, we've been doing a lot of hiking (alert - website plug: here are some of the places we've hiked recently).
We rode with a Mounted Search and Rescue Unit in Ohio and would like to join one out here. Need to get better used to Washington first though!

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post #6 of 18 Old 02-11-2009, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
Posts: 10,620
• Horses: 5
You can sometimes find the boots used. For a much cheaper price. I have one used one and one new one.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-11-2009, 10:40 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 1,298
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It all depends on what kind of trails you ride, how long you ride when you are out for a ride, and how often you ride. I ride some of the roughest trails on earth. I can ride any of my horses barefoot for a one day ride anywhere. But I can't ride 2-3-4 days in a row on these kind of trails. If I ride then give them a couple of days off they are fine.

I'd seriously look at the new Easyboot Gloves. The eval boots my barefoot farrier had looked really neat and were a snap to put on and take off.

From the mountain trails

To the deserts of Southern Utah

A quick trim before we head down the trail.

My friends and I all ride barefoot.
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-13-2009, 09:06 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
Posts: 10,620
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Those photos are a true testament to a good barefoot trim.
The first photo is similar to some areas in the Ozark region of Ark.and Ok.
The area we bought the boots for. We are going to our state horse expo today, I'm very interested in getting a look at the new gloves.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-13-2009, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Missouri
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Hello from the Ozark region of Arkansas!!! We have some nasty terrain as Vida pointed out and never did I have an issue with our 2 QH's having ouchie feet.

I'm a barefoot believer and never shod the horses while we had them. Boots are an investment (GAH they're SO expensive)....BUT, if you compare the cost of the boots to shoeing and then add in the peace of mind of healthy feet...They're worth it.

I don't have a brand to recommend as we didn't need to use them. Sorry 'bout that.

I'd look around for used ones as was already stated or just take the plunge cough up the $$$.

Good Luck and I hope Seattle treats you well!!!

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

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post #10 of 18 Old 02-13-2009, 10:30 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Enumclaw WA
Posts: 245
• Horses: 4
I live in WA and know how rough the trails can be.The rocks breed like rabbits.I wish our horses could go barefoot but hubbies QH hoofs crack and break and my horse has such tender footsies so we shoe.Its what works for us. Welcome.

The grass may be greener on the other side,
but it still has to be mowed.
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