Q: It’s spring and the time I usually have my farrier put shoes back on for our summer rides. I have been reading more about horses staying barefoot and using boots when needed on the trails, but I’m just on the fence. What can you tell me about the process of switching to barefoot for good? I don’t want my horse to be sore when we ride out on the roads—and I don’t want to worry about boots coming off.
Cavallo President Carole Herder shares her advice….
A: It’s great that you’re thinking about keeping your horse barefoot! Your horse’s body is designed to function at its best when barefoot hooves can flex and help blood pump and flow throughout his body. With shoes on, your horse’s hooves are limited and can’t spread in the way they were designed. With each step a horse takes, the hoof spreads a bit and draws the sole flat to provide space for his weight to be absorbed. Your horse is already barefoot now from having his shoes off in the winter, so you’re halfway there on your journey to keep him barefoot and the most comfortable!
You can keep your horse barefoot at home and put on his Cavallos any time you ride. Our friend, Heidi Melocco, just made the decision with her Quarter Horse, Charlie, barefoot. She now has a set of four Cavallo Trek boots for him and uses them whenever he isn’t on his sandy home turf. Reading about her transition process with him will help you in your decision-making, too.
“My new horse Charlie has great hooves,” Melocco says. “They are strong and don’t easily chip. In the past, Charlie showed in reined cow horse and reining competitions, so he has been used to wearing shoes. My goals with him involve riding and maybe even some liberty showing. We also take walks down the dirt roads around our property and I’d like to do more trail riding. I sure don’t want his feet to be sore at any time, but most of the time, he is at home on great footing in his paddock and for turnout time in the sandy arena. He doesn’t need shoes most of the time, so we are seeing how he does as a fully barefoot horse.
“I had Charlie’s shoes pulled in the fall so that I didn’t have to worry about him slipping on the snow and ice here in Colorado. I don’t have an indoor, so our winter workouts are limited. Just this week, I had the farrier out for spring trims. I also asked him for help to make sure that Charlie’s new boots fit him well. I wanted to make sure that I had ordered the right size and there would be no slipping at the heel.
“Charlie’s hooves were in great shape after the winter and the boots fit perfectly. I was glad because I had measured multiple times to make sure I ordered the right thing, but wanted an expert’s opinion. My farrier helped me to put them on for the first time—more to make sure that Charlie was OK with them. He is sometimes concerned about new things. Charlie was great while he put them on and was very accepting. He did have a few funny steps at first, but then walked normally. My farrier did like the idea of adding Cavallo’s Comfort Sleeves or Pastern Wraps to make sure that nothing rubs his legs when he has them on for longer work sessions.
“I am glad to have the boots to keep his soles healthy any time we move over Colorado’s rocky terrain. These new Treks are so much lighter than the boots I have used in the past. They are his sneakers that we’ll put on when we head down the road. And at home, I feel good knowing that he has good footing and really doesn’t need to have anything on.
“It felt good to have expert help along the way—and to be able to reach out to the folks at Cavallo, too. They were super helpful as I worked to measure and their sizing tips were right on! There are lots of good resources on the Cavallo site to help in the transition to barefoot process. It feels good to know I’m doing something that’s great for his overall health.”
Watch this video to find out more about the transition to barefoot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O93hG__9ytE&t=2s and be sure to sign up for the free newsletter: https://www.cavallo-inc.com/email-signup-AHP.
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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 training sessions 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 https://www.cavallo-inc.com to learn about the full line of Cavallo Hoof Boots. Call (877) 818-0037 from the USA or Canada or call direct, (604) 740-0037.
Cavallo Horse & Rider