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Hi, I haven't posted on here for some time and was just looking for some advice. My horse has been bare foot for the past six years and for the whole time I've owned him, and if I could I would like to keep him that way.
How ever, I have recently started doing more hacking and he can be a bit of a wimp when it comes to walking on the road or stony ground. Either picking his way carefully or walking on the smallest bit of grass he can find. I have messaged my farrier about possibly putting on at leastfronts, but if I can I would quite like to avoid this. (Apart from being sentive on the hard/stoney ground, he has pretty decent feet) and I don't want to ruin them..

I did buy some cavallo horse boots, but I find them quite big and bulky and he doesn't seem to be too fond on them himself either..

He will let me put them on, when he hasn't had them on for a while and will be very keen for me to take them off once we've finished riding. But if I use them regularly he starts to refuse to pick his feet up and gets funny about me putting them on (he's normally very good with picking his feet up generally).. I would only be using them for hacking, as the arena has a soft surface which he is fine with. So any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
 

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I have a horse who is exactly like this. I used to shoe him, but found it just overall better for us both to keep him barefoot.

If there are only a few instances where you need to cross rocky terrain and you aren't walking on the road for long periods of time, I would say it will be fine to keep him barefoot.

Just make sure to check for stone bruising and lameness after a few trails to ensure that there are no lasting effects, as this would suggest further action does need to be taken.

My boy will walk tenderly over rocky terrain but the 'lameness' always disappears as soon as we are on better ground. I always make sure to walk him over these areas, never trotbor canter.
 

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I've heard good things about Scoot Boots. I think they're less bulk and more a snug fit. Might be worth looking into. If you can keep him barefoot, it's better for them over all.

My horse has generally been good barefoot, though she wears her toes in the gravelly outdoor ring in the summers, where I board, so she has to be shod for a few months out of the year. If I could keep her barefoot year round though, I would. I also take her for long walks up and down the deep gravel driveway to help stimulate her soles and frogs and keep them tough.
 

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Different boots fit differently.
His feet may be rounder instead of oblong or oval or any combination there of...
It also makes a difference in fit depending upon when in the farriers schedule you did your measuring.
My friend has a horse who needs 2 different sized boots...for a fresher trim and later in the trim cycle or her horse gets rubs and sore...

I think different boots might work better on the horse...or at least let you compare
Maybe a different model might work...
This is where I used my farriers vast knowledge...
He told me which boots to get based upon how much riding I was doing and how gimpy my horse was...and shape of the hoof.
Front shoes when he had them were not enough protection...he needed pads too to protect that sole...wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

I allow my horse to pick where he places his hooves when we ride.
He will go where I want him but will pick the path he travels and avoids roots and rocks.
I also avoid trails that I know the forestry service laid down large sharper edged road stone...I can't walk along that area without feeling like my ankle is going to twist so not going to force my horse to walk along that stuff either.

I have tried several styles of Easy Boots and have had good results.
I like the thicker base with good traction built in, the easy on/off with a wide opening and that the boot sits a bit higher covering the whole hoof than some others and with how it closes I don't get large amounts of abrasive sand to irritate the hoof especially at the hoof bulbs
I tried Original Trails, Gloves and Back Country compliments of my friends and their trail riding club members.
I think the Back Country and Trail were the better fit for my horse and easier for my hands now starting to have arthritic issues.
I don't do well with the boots with wires and snap down locks...not anymore it is to difficult.:cautious:
🐴...
 
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Hi, I haven't posted on here for some time and was just looking for some advice. My horse has been bare foot for the past six years and for the whole time I've owned him, and if I could I would like to keep him that way.
How ever, I have recently started doing more hacking and he can be a bit of a wimp when it comes to walking on the road or stony ground. Either picking his way carefully or walking on the smallest bit of grass he can find. I have messaged my farrier about possibly putting on at leastfronts, but if I can I would quite like to avoid this. (Apart from being sentive on the hard/stoney ground, he has pretty decent feet) and I don't want to ruin them..

I did buy some cavallo horse boots, but I find them quite big and bulky and he doesn't seem to be too fond on them himself either..

He will let me put them on, when he hasn't had them on for a while and will be very keen for me to take them off once we've finished riding. But if I use them regularly he starts to refuse to pick his feet up and gets funny about me putting them on (he's normally very good with picking his feet up generally).. I would only be using them for hacking, as the arena has a soft surface which he is fine with. So any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
Hi, first & foremost, love your signature line!

Horses are stoic beasts - he is not being a 'wimp', but is obviously uncomfortable on those surfaces & possibly doing damage if you make him walk on it without adequate protection/support. If he's doing it hard but has apparently strong, healthy, well trimmed hooves, good caudal hoof deveopment, then IME undiscovered thrush is a very likely reason.

I would not advise conventional rigid peripheral loading rims, even with padding, for hard ground. Unless there were a VERY good reason for using conventional shoes, and in that case, I'd seriously minimise his time on hard footing as much as possible. Flexible, 'wide web' shoes with good frog support - such as Easyshoes or Eponas - are a great option though, which the 'side effects' of conventional rims are greatly minimised, if not removed all together.

Hoof boots are indeed a great option for most horses in most situations. They don't suit all though, and like human shoes, not every style of shoe is suitable for every person or job. So I'm thinking the Cavellos are somehow uncomfortable to him for him to behave like that. Perhaps they're too loose & rub, or because they're 'high profile' they rub around his fetlock?
 

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I've heard that if your horse is kept on soft pasture you can toughen their hooves up by putting a large area of crushed rock around their waterer, the round pen/arena, and in the high traffic areas. I don't know if that would help enough with the riding you're doing but it's a thought.
 

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Perhaps a product like Hoof Armor (not Armour) for protecting the soles would be an option for you. I'm pretty sure it's sold worldwide. It gets rave reviews on some hoof groups. There are various other hoof hardeners like Dura Sole, which is also distributed worldwide. I haven't been patient enough to stick with a sole protectant/hardener, but my horse also does not object to boots. But something like that may be all your horse needs.
 

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I always rode Angelina barefoot on gravel roads; she’s never been shod . Her former owner gave me what I thought was good advice: pick out her hooves AFTER a ride instead of before, because if there’s mud in the hoof, it helps cushion it.
Just a thought.
 

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Which model of Cavallos did you get? I’ve found the ELBs seem to be a bit more streamlined than some of the other ones they made (the Treks are really clunky looking and I’m glad I only use them for about 2 weeks at a time)

My Haflinger gelding has Scoots on all four (except for the last 2 weeks of his trim cycle where he needs to wear the Cavallo Treks which I got used and saved some $$$ since I didn’t want to buy a brand new pair of boots that wouldn’t get used as often ) I tend to put them on for every ride because even if we start out in the arena, we’ll end up doing our barn trails and for some of those, they’re also access roads for the ranch owners to get to their house on the hill, so there’s a road base laid down and that can be pretty brutal on hooves. But I like how the Scoots fit and they’re easy to put on and take off. My farrier and I have discussed shoes, but I’m pretty adamant that he needs to have his hay pillow slow feeder for his peace of mind and that has a net that could get caught up on shoes so we keep him barefoot and booting him helps keep him from getting chips which he only gets on his toes.

My mare wears a mismatched pair of Cavallo ELBs on her fronts when I pony her to encourage her to step heel first as she was always a bit of a toe-first walker and needed shoes back when we actively trail rode (but she’s retired now and only needs the boots for ponying out)
 

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I always pick out hooves before - I've found some sharp objects/thorns/rocks in their feet that would be terrible if went on hard stuff. If you're 100% sure its mud then maybe but I'm too paranoid.

My 650kg mare 17hh went from a life of shoes to barefoot the last half year. We have a gravel/concrete bridleway so I walk her there everyday to get her feet strong. Walk/trot. I don't have a yard so bought rubber mats to have a dry spot during the worst weather. Bought boots for all 4 feet for when we will eventually do more trail riding/hacking- scoot boots actually so they can be used in turnout if ever needed. Will look at other brands in future. I'll never go back to shoes - unless something seriously bad happens and they are the only remedial answer. I think with any boots they have their likes and dislikes. Do they get too hot? Have enough vents? Light enough? Rub at all? Too tight?
 

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Cavallo are the lunkiest of the bunch! There is lots of Scootboot distributors (most are trimmers, some farriers) that will come out to your place & fit them for you. I personally know two in my area. This will be the first full year of not shoeing my horses. Last year, since we had no shows, I opted for just fronts on both horses, mostly because it was easier on me! I have a deal my farrier, He does one horse and I do the other, then he stays for dinner. The cost of learning to shoe. Then he got super crazy busy, and both horses pulled a shoe 2 weeks after. I got tired of waiting for him, and I almost headed down to the lower mainland to buy some farrier tools as I just have trimming tools but I do have an anvil. I just pulled both horses' remaining shoes. I redid my arena so even I could walk barefoot in it, used the Scootboots for the gravel road if its just been gradered, on the trails, they don't need boots. So far, so good, I will see how long I can do this. When shows and clinics are back in full swing, I don't think it will be a problem because most arenas have pretty good footing. The hoof boots are great for trails & whatnot, but I don't think I could actually school in them or show in them, I feel as if the horses don't quite move out as good as they would. Maybe they would if they wore them more. So far, I've booted them once.
 

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I've heard that if your horse is kept on soft pasture you can toughen their hooves up by putting a large area of crushed rock around their waterer, the round pen/arena, and in the high traffic areas. I don't know if that would help enough with the riding you're doing but it's a thought.
You would think so, but unfortunately not the case. Crushed rock will help wear down a horse's hooves, but not toughen them. My horse, who I mentioned above, lived in a paddock that was purely crushed rock before I bought him, and he is still soft footed. My other horse, who came from the same area, on the other hand, could walk over a bed of nails and not feel it 😅
 

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^ As with most things, it depends.

Ideally, I would, if I could put down river stones or such - rounded, not sharp gravel, unless it's very small - right around the track that my guys live on, and yes, it would help their hooves become 'conditioned' & stronger. Because they are almost constantly walking around the track, and also it would cut down on areas of mud, provide dry footing.

Putting down crushed rock or such around troughs isn't a bad idea, as it will cut down on mud, but depending how healthy their feet are, it might be too sharp, uncomfortable & risk bruising, so rounded stones tend to be better - 'pea gravel' or river pebbles or rocks are ideal.

They'd have to be doing a lot of walking/running every day, on granity crushed rock, coarse sand or such to actually wear them down much. Even with that kind of footing they don't get much wear just moseying in a paddock, or walking on it for the short periods they're at the water trough, or standing around in a hang out area. If they're getting that much exercise just at home, great! They likely have truly great feet & if they keep them well worn, that would mean little trimming, and they're on the most ideal 'trimming schedule'!

BUT as per the sharp rocks around the trough, if they have unhealthy feet, thin soles, weak or thrushy heels, beware that putting down stones on your tracks may cause LESS exercise, incorrect movement, risk further injury, if they're not comfortable doing so. That to me is NOT a reason not to put rock down, but that horses with such weak feet should be protected, either temporarily on soft footing, &/or in hoof boots, until their hooves are up to doing it bare.
 

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Hi, I haven't posted on here for some time and was just looking for some advice. My horse has been bare foot for the past six years and for the whole time I've owned him, and if I could I would like to keep him that way.
How ever, I have recently started doing more hacking and he can be a bit of a wimp when it comes to walking on the road or stony ground. Either picking his way carefully or walking on the smallest bit of grass he can find. I have messaged my farrier about possibly putting on at leastfronts, but if I can I would quite like to avoid this. (Apart from being sentive on the hard/stoney ground, he has pretty decent feet) and I don't want to ruin them..

I did buy some cavallo horse boots, but I find them quite big and bulky and he doesn't seem to be too fond on them himself either..

He will let me put them on, when he hasn't had them on for a while and will be very keen for me to take them off once we've finished riding. But if I use them regularly he starts to refuse to pick his feet up and gets funny about me putting them on (he's normally very good with picking his feet up generally).. I would only be using them for hacking, as the arena has a soft surface which he is fine with. So any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
loosie has already hit the major points with regards to the possibility of already existing issues with the feet that you should check, so I won't go over that again.

Biggest thing to remember is that humans mess up horses, because for some reason we feel that man made traditions trump 10 million years of design by nature. About 2,500 years ago a Greek cavalryman by the name of Xenophon wrote about taking care of horses (keep in mind that that part of the world has brutally hard and rocky terrain). With regards to the feet is wrote to basically pave an area the sons the size of a fist and keep the horse on that area as much as feasible (grooming, feeding, etc) so that when it walks and stomps the ground it will both harden the feet and keep them well shaped. A horse's hoof can be toughened up or made softer based on how we treat them. Whenever I go riding our on my horses they spend at least 50% of their time on the paved road. They are feed, groomed, saddled, and have their feet trimmed on a concrete surface. While their feet were not as hard when I first acquired them (they were each still too young for riding when I got them) by the time I started them under the saddle they had spent a significant time on pavement having their feet toughened. In nature a horse's feet stand up to whatever the environment requires. If you make sure they have healthy feet, then spend some time slowly toughening them up and they'll go a lifetime. Lacking doing that.....stick with the boots (anything beats having them shod if you want to have healthy feet and lower legs). While they could not have done it when I bought them (even if they were old enough to be ridden) since they came with a few thrush issues, today my mares can ride miles down abandoned railroad embankments and that's some rough ground with all the busted up granite.

I was given my first horse to train in 1971 and in 50 years we've never (me, nor any of my immediate family) have had a shod horse, but I'll ride 20-30 miles a day on the highway with no foot issues. Gordon Naysmith road unshod for 10,000 miles from South Africa the Central Europe. Just need to take the time to condition the feet and keep them healthy.
 
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I have 2 horses: a 25 yr. old Paso Fino mare, Gypsy, and a 3 yr. 10 mo. old Arabian gelding.
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Hi, I haven't posted on here for some time and was just looking for some advice. My horse has been bare foot for the past six years and for the whole time I've owned him, and if I could I would like to keep him that way.
How ever, I have recently started doing more hacking and he can be a bit of a wimp when it comes to walking on the road or stony ground. Either picking his way carefully or walking on the smallest bit of grass he can find. I have messaged my farrier about possibly putting on at leastfronts, but if I can I would quite like to avoid this. (Apart from being sentive on the hard/stoney ground, he has pretty decent feet) and I don't want to ruin them..

I did buy some cavallo horse boots, but I find them quite big and bulky and he doesn't seem to be too fond on them himself either..

He will let me put them on, when he hasn't had them on for a while and will be very keen for me to take them off once we've finished riding. But if I use them regularly he starts to refuse to pick his feet up and gets funny about me putting them on (he's normally very good with picking his feet up generally).. I would only be using them for hacking, as the arena has a soft surface which he is fine with. So any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
 

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I have 2 horses: a 25 yr. old Paso Fino mare, Gypsy, and a 3 yr. 10 mo. old Arabian gelding.
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I've been using Renegade Hoof Boots since about 2009 and can recommend they are pretty easy to put on and take off. These boots remain below the coronary band and debris falls out behind. I had tried Boa boots and the old style Easyboots with those awful metal grips (they no longer have), but the Renegades stay on better and neither horse had any issues with them, though you must clean out grass seeds from the velcro straps and of course always wash and dry after use, which is true with any hoof boot. There is much good advice here, and I would say the type of ground your horse is on, the space he has to roam, and his diet are all factors. I only use boots on front feet for gravel or sharp rocky ground when riding, but remove them to store in a specially designed cantle pack for softer ground out on the trail. My 4 yr. old Arabian isn't being ridden yet, but soon will be introduced to the boots. Good luck!
 
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