Cavallo Hoof Boots Q&A: Transitioning to Barefoot

Q: I always have my horse’s metal shoes taken off for the winter. Now, it’s spring and I would usually schedule the farrier and put shoes back on. This year, though, I’m considering keeping my gelding barefoot. What can I expect when getting him in shape—while staying barefoot?

Cavallo President Carole Herder shares her advice….

 A: I’m thrilled to hear that you want to keep your horse barefoot. The horse’s entire body system is designed to function well when his hooves function properly. Here’s how: The coffin bone drops like a trampoline to absorb the impact of 1000 pounds of weight descending. The hoof spreads apart and draws the sole flat so that the weight has somewhere to go.

When the horse has metal shoes, that flexibility function cannot happen. The hoof is clamped in place. Additionally the impact of metal on a hard surface (rocks, roads etc.) refers vibration back up the legs.

I like to talk about the nutrients in blood and how circulation happens. We say your horse has five “hearts”. He has a heart in his chest as well as one in each of his hooves’ frogs. All these five “hearts” contributes to the circulatory system to distribute blood and oxygen throughout the system.  Your horse needs healthy blood flow to prevent illness, lameness and keep his immune system strong.

Since you pulled your horse’s shoes for winter, you are ahead of the game and can now start riding with your Cavallos anywhere you like. Maybe when you first pulled off the metal shoes, your horse was tender and maybe when you ride he’ll appear a bit lame. This is because circulation and sensation has returned to his hoofs once again. He’ll get over this the more he moves because the blood will help heal any conditions going on in there.

We always recommend that you move your horse—accelerate the blood circulation. Of course, you must have your horse comfortable to move him. That’s where Cavallo Boots come in. Keep in mind that some horses have no sign of tenderness at all and can go easily right away. For others, the transition may require a little more support. Find a trimmer that you can consult and work with to get your horse trimmed well for barefoot riding.

I appreciate that people aspire to ride their horses barefoot but riding without boots is discouraging. I see barefoot horses veering for the soft shoulder or softer ground. They seek comfort. I wonder, “why not make use of the protection and comfort that Cavallo Boots provide?”

If you find that your horse is lame when you first pull his shoes, make sure you have Cavallo Boots on hand. You may also pop some Cavallo pad inserts in there for additional cushion and then make sure to you’re your horse. Your horse will experience comfort, protection and traction with boots on. You can turn out or ride your horse in the Cavallo Boots—and you can even add studs to help you ride all year long. This is the way to keep your horse moving and feeling great.

For more guidance as you transition to barefoot, watch this video and be sure to sign up for the free newsletter:


“I’m 55 years old and had not had a horse in 30 years. Thirty years ago everyone had metal shoes on their horses and I having grown up with this mind set I thought that was the norm. When my beloved 19-year-old Cowboy came along he had metal shoes on his whole life. But I started doing some research simply because it had been so many years since I had a horse. I found this new way of thinking, of treating the hoof and horse. I was so afraid to have those shoes pulled and I had a wonderful farrier who I was afraid would desert us if we went barefoot. To my surprise, after I told him my plan and the Cavallo Boots I was going to get, my farrier was in complete favor and even measured his hooves to make sure I got a good fit. Cowboy has been barefoot for several months and is doing awesome. I use the Cavallo Boots to ride, and Cowboy seems so comfortable. He is even more sure footed on rocky terrain than he was in metal shoes. I cannot thank you enough for your ground-breaking courage and commitment to the betterment of horses lucky enough to wear these boots.”

—Horse owner Shawney Geisinger

The Houston Mounted Police Patrol Unit is making international headlines these days and being recognized as a front-runner in the natural horse movement.  The Unit’s horses have all transitioned to barefoot. Read more here:

Cavallo President Carole Herder is the author of the #1 International Bestseller, There Are No Horseshoes in Heaven, and the newly released Hoofprints on The Journey. She has been involved in horse health since 1993. Her company, Cavallo Horse & Rider Inc., develops, manufactures and distributes horse products in 26 countries. Herder designed and developed Cavallo Hoof Boots and Total Comfort System Saddle Pads. She presents trainings around the world to teach the benefits of keeping horses in a natural state. Herder is an honored recipient of the Royal Bank of Canada Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She is a member of the Women’s Presidents Organization, supporting female entrepreneurs in every industry.

 Visit to learn about the full line of Cavallo Hoof Boots. Want more info? Sign up here for our free newsletter: Call (877) 818-0037 from the USA or Canada or call direct, (604) 740-0037. 

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