Horse boots and leg wraps
 
 

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Horse boots and leg wraps

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  • Horse leg wraps for trail riding

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    11-20-2013, 07:24 PM
  #1
Foal
Horse boots and leg wraps

I'm new to horse ownership (I've only owned my first horse since February and was pregnant for the majority of that) so I'm not sure what's what when it comes to the necessary gear for trail horses. My boy is barefoot and I would love to keep him that way but I have a few questions about it. His feet are fairly strong but the previous owner had him shoed 24/7. Does he need shoes for trails or will he be fine staying as is? Are horse boots like Cavallo or Easyboot worth looking into or is this just more of a fad? None of the trails he'll be going on are rough or really rocky, mostly just dirt and weeds.

The second half of my question(s): although it's cold right now and isn't a problem, once spring comes around the area where we live has been known to have rattlesnakes. There aren't a crazy amount of them around but they aren't uncommon either. Do I need to provide him with any kind of leg protection just in case or am I just worrying too much about it?

I know these are probably just dumb newbie questions but it's confusing and a bit overwhelming at times trying to figure them out when there are so many options out there...
     
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    11-20-2013, 08:05 PM
  #2
Foal
If he has good hooves there is really no reason to shoe him. If he starts chipping and cracking you might want to look into it. If his walls are too weak for shoes Cavallos or something will work. You will have to see how much wear and tear his feet have from the trails you want to go on and then decide :) Sorry I don't know about the second question their are no rattlesnakes where I live. :)
     
    11-20-2013, 08:05 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senneth    
I'm new to horse ownership (I've only owned my first horse since February and was pregnant for the majority of that) so I'm not sure what's what when it comes to the necessary gear for trail horses. My boy is barefoot and I would love to keep him that way but I have a few questions about it. His feet are fairly strong but the previous owner had him shoed 24/7. Does he need shoes for trails or will he be fine staying as is? Are horse boots like Cavallo or Easyboot worth looking into or is this just more of a fad? None of the trails he'll be going on are rough or really rocky, mostly just dirt and weeds.

The second half of my question(s): although it's cold right now and isn't a problem, once spring comes around the area where we live has been known to have rattlesnakes. There aren't a crazy amount of them around but they aren't uncommon either. Do I need to provide him with any kind of leg protection just in case or am I just worrying too much about it?

I know these are probably just dumb newbie questions but it's confusing and a bit overwhelming at times trying to figure them out when there are so many options out there...

I don't think your boy needs shoes for only trail riding unless your instructed by your farrier and/or vet. As for trail boots if your just going on a trail with dirt I don't think they are necessary, but I would put smb boots on all 4 legs for protection against any low hanging branches,sticks,snakes etc... If you have anymore questions just ask hope I helped (:
     
    11-20-2013, 08:26 PM
  #4
Weanling
Is he ouchy when you're out riding?

I'm looking at shoes or boots for my lease right now because he's incredibly sensitive, but I've also ridden other horses for whom it would be unnecessary.
     
    11-20-2013, 08:32 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senneth    
I'm new to horse ownership (I've only owned my first horse since February and was pregnant for the majority of that) so I'm not sure what's what when it comes to the necessary gear for trail horses. My boy is barefoot and I would love to keep him that way but I have a few questions about it. His feet are fairly strong but the previous owner had him shoed 24/7. Does he need shoes for trails or will he be fine staying as is? Are horse boots like Cavallo or Easyboot worth looking into or is this just more of a fad? None of the trails he'll be going on are rough or really rocky, mostly just dirt and weeds.

The second half of my question(s): although it's cold right now and isn't a problem, once spring comes around the area where we live has been known to have rattlesnakes. There aren't a crazy amount of them around but they aren't uncommon either. Do I need to provide him with any kind of leg protection just in case or am I just worrying too much about it?

I know these are probably just dumb newbie questions but it's confusing and a bit overwhelming at times trying to figure them out when there are so many options out there...

First, there are no dumb questions (I wish I could say the same was true for answers ) whether you're new to something or have years under your belt.

The short answer to whether you need to have your horse shod is no. Contrary to what some preach horses do not need to be shod. In point of fact being shod is not good for their feet. But that's a lengthy subject and you can likely find excessive amounts of information on it today along with medical tests and results that weren't available to my grandfather (who never had his horses shod 100 years ago)

HOWEVER........

A horse that has spent it's life shod is likely to have some foot issues when you switch it to being unshod (there's more blood flow, the foot expands naturally when they walk, etc.....these are all things that will not feel right and in some cases can be painful ). Given time and proper care their feet can return to normal, but it can take a year in many cases.

ALSO....

A horse that has been shod or spent it's life on soft, easy ground will not have feet conditioned to hard, unforgiving surfaces. It takes time to get the feet conditioned to hard ground so it's not always as simple as taking the shoes off and going (unless the trails are soft which might be your case). This is a bit over simplified, but think of it as you walking barefoot on the ground. If you have to walk on hard, uncomfortable surfaces after wearing shoes for years it won't feel good and you'll limit the amount you do. But if you continue your feet will start to toughen up (in our case the skin gets harder and becomes a bit thicker......it's not a perfect comparison).
Eventually you can have a horse with feet that will go pretty much anywhere. Certainly will handle pavement and stony trails. Once mine are conditioned the only thing I worry about is a stone being the size needed to bruise the sole (and being shod won't prevent that). My family hasn't had shod horses since long before I was born and I've ridden 100 miles over a few days without any problems.
(also you might hear that dark hooves are harder than light.....don't believe it. Color has nothing to do with it).

Part 2: Snakes.

I've never wrapped the legs of any of mine. None of the family ever did. I've never been on a horse that really worried much about snakes beyond appearing to be curious, but I'm sure that like people, different horses may react differently. My QH from the 70's would almost ride over a rattlesnake if I didn't stop her. I've found that snakes seem to prefer not being in the path of an oncoming horse (imagine being the size of a snake and only being able to slither along the ground....then have a 1,000+ lb animal with large, hard feet coming at you...if it were me I'd want to be far, far away)
We have quite a variety of snakes here and I ride my horses with the same gear no matter what time of year.
     
    11-20-2013, 11:52 PM
  #6
Foal
Thanks for the responses :) He's not sensitive after a ride, I'm more concerned about wear and damage to his feet.

Its lbs not miles: everything you said makes sense to me. I've been working with my farrier to get his feet conditioned to barefoot and he seems to be taking to it beautifully so far. But my farrier still leans more toward the "all horses should be shod" type regardless of the condition. My horse's previous job was rounding up buffalo on Antelope Island located on the Great Salt Lake and there are some fairly unforgiving areas out there. He probably feels pretty pampered compared to how he had it a year ago.

I tried talking to someone at the local tack shop but he was a lot more concerned about selling me a lot of expensive stuff without spending much time explaining why I needed any of it. Luckily, I'm not that na´ve.
     
    11-21-2013, 11:04 AM
  #7
Weanling
I agree with pretty much everything others have said. Putting shoes on a horse is a personal preference/necessity depending on horse and owner. My boy is very tender and never seemed to toughen up so I went with shoes in the front and boots in the back for when I ride.

Snakes, I have never had a horse get bitten. It does happen. However most snake bites are not lethal to horses unless they get bitten on the face and the swelling will cut off their breathing. I do have rattlesnakes in my pasture, one spring I found 2 baby rattle snakes running around my yard. The best protection for your horse against rattlesnakes is to make sure that your water trough is level and there isn't a place for the snake to get under. In the summer they seek out cooler places to lay like under the trough.
     
    11-21-2013, 11:34 AM
  #8
Trained
You live near or close to the Rockies, and I always shoe when I take my horses on trail rides in CO. I'd tt your farrier about this. If you are riding where there are rocks and shale you can rip up hooves pretty quickly and then you'll have to wait until they grow back, so an hiatus from riding. Where I live, in IL, which is REALLY a reclaimed swamp, the soil is soft and I keep mine barefoot all year.
Regarding snakes, they can feel the vibrations of >1,000 pounds coming their way and if you stick to the trails, you probably won't meet up with any in person. I don't use boots or wraps when trail riding. Those are best used for arena training.
     
    11-21-2013, 12:29 PM
  #9
Yearling
I agree with what you have been told so far.

A lot of us keep barefoot horses. One of mine needs no hoof protection at all but he is part mustang and has nice feet. My other one is transitioning off of shoes. I bought him a set of Easyboot Gloves Back Country (see my review in the tack review section) and we use them for trail riding. They make all the difference in the world. I would buy them again, they work really well.

As far as leg wraps go I never use them. We have snakes also and from what I can tell they can "hear" the horses from a distance and so they get out of the way. Also from my experience horses don't suffer badly from a snake bite on the legs. It is when they get bit on the head and neck that it is a problem.
     
    11-21-2013, 01:34 PM
  #10
Trained
I vote no shoes, no boots.

As everyone said, if he has tough feet, there is no reason to shoe him. I shoe my horses all the way around but I work them hard in preparation to show. If they were just trail horses, I would pull the shoes.

As for leg wraps or boots, I don't use them on trails. They get snagged on things, get burs, sticks, etc stuck in them, and I'm not really a fan. I've come across rattlers before and generally they will leave you alone.
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