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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

April 15, 2009


Three days and counting.
Horse is getting her hinds trimmed this evening.
Re-checking my list for what I may have forgot to pack...
Extremely excited!
Extremely focused!

I got home from work just a little while ago, and there were no grey horses in the paddock, they were all this muddy shade of brown. Sure hope I can get her a bath early Friday morning. Making a list of what still needs shoved in the truck and trailer, and it looks like I've still got a hefty little list of things to gather up. Getting ready to change out of my work clothes for something worthy of mud and horse hair! ~E.G.

UPDATE: The hoof trimming is done. Doug got a really nice roll on the back hooves, which is not an easy project with her. We also noticed a slight ridge about a quarter inch below the coronet on her fronts. I've never had this happen with her, and wondering if it is as a result of the feed change a few months ago...or from the concussion of riding on frozen ground over the winter months. Something happened on her hoof radar that has never happened before, but it has been at least a month or two back based on where the little ridge is. Regardless she's moving sound on all four. Now I just have to make up my mind about booting. Wish I'd have had the opportunity to ride that full fifteen mile loop so I would know how much gravel we'll face and if it is new gravel, or old beat into the mud gravel. The easy answer would be to just boot and be done with it...but someday I really want to dare to be bare!


  1. It's a hard choice. Maybe it would help if you think about it this way - would you care if you were pulled for soreness if she didn't wear boots? If you could not have any regrets about getting pulled when you "dare to be bare"....I say go for it.

  2. Mel,

    I'd care if my horse were pulled for ANY reason.

    If I know the terrain I feel like I can be fairly good judge of when to go bare, and when to boot. We've trained bare. The problem is I haven't been over the entire course. What I've ridden so far I wouldn't be all that hesitant to let her run bare, it is the trail I've not ridden that gives me doubts. Natural terrain is a non-issue. However, when the park services dump miles of large "riff raff" gravel over trail, then that would certainly sway my decision on hoof protection. I'd probably feel alright running bare at Cave Country (if they use the same route I've ridden a bare hooved horse) and certainly no concerns at all if we were to ride Salamonie as I've done that one with a barefoot horse. I just don't have enough experience with this trail to call it, which will probably answer my own question. But I'll kick my own butt if I boot and the terrain didn't warrant it, as boots present their own issues (ie, possibility of rubs etc).

  3. This is why, if you are going the boot route, training WITH boots on (even when not needed) is SO important. It gives you a chance to sort out the rubbing and/or coming off issues, but even more importantly, it gives your horse a chance to get conditioned to carrying the extra weight of the boot during the ride. The golden rule of endurance is don't try anything new at the ride. Adding additional weight to their feet (where it is most felt and has the greatest effect) during an acutal ride only isn't being very fair to your horse.

    I used to run boots over shoes as added protection from our very rocky (Nevada) rides. I would regularly condition my horse WITH the boots on as well, so he was conditioned and used to carrying that extra weight - even when I didn't always need the boots (since I was mainly using them as insurance).

    Could you possibly pack the boots on your saddle (I used to daisy chain them across my cantle if I didn't have a rear pack on)? That way you have them if you need to put them on? Would Phebe stand okay on the trail for you to do that?

  4. I did actually have Phebes ride 2 of the last 4 rides over 10 miles booted to assure they fit, and we had no obvious issues. If I boot, I'll do it from the start, she's too much of a handful to mess with that on trail unless I absolutely had too.

    My ultimate goal is a barefoot horse. So in order to build sole callous we've done a lot of training miles bare. In fact she has had hoof protection only three times and that was within the past month to get her used to the feel of the boot, and moving in the boot. Otherwise she has had a bare hoof for five years.

  5. That is a really tough call. I know the ld at spook run was won by a girl riding barefoot. But I do believe people said she was the only one riding barefoot. I've emailed her a few times. Her horse is in his teens, has always been barefoot and she conditions a lot on rocky ground. She had done a lot of ld's prior to this. Like 8 or so. But even she said, he really slowed down the last 8-10 miles because of the rocks. (Most of the ride wasn't that rocky but the last part of it was gravel road, with freshly added gravel.)And she asked us about our boots and said she was thinking about getting some, because she was wanting to start doing some 50's this year.

    I'm thinking about trying Jazz barefoot at a ride this summer. But if it's a Henryville ride I probably won't.

    Michelle Detmer

  6. Without knowing the trail system where you're riding, would it be possible to boot her for the "unknown" loops portions that you haven't been on, and then pull the boots at a vetcheck for the more familiar portions or trail? If you've only done ~10 miles at a time in boots, doing a full 25 now is just an invitation for rubs or some other such issue (but I'm a paranoid rider). =) At least be extra diligent about pulling down any gaiters and perhaps even removing the boots and checking REALLY WELL for rubs at the vet check(s) - even if this means taking longer than the hold and leaving late. I personally would be worried about more than doubling my previous one-time mileage in boots at a ride for the first time (having seen first hand some of the rubs and such that can occur).

    I did my very first 30-mile LD totally barefoot for the entire ride (being a clueless newbie) and although I finished just fine with no obvious issues, my horses hooves where certainly more worn than when we started. I've never run a ride totally bare since (although we do have ONE local ride where I might consider it). I just feel that we ask too much of our horses (weekly mileage + rides) to expect their bare hooves to keep up. I know that most of the high mileage "bare" riders in my area, who I've been fortunate enough to have some long conversations with, use boots for this same reason. Perhaps our footing is less forgiving though.

    Best of Luck at the ride this weekend! Can't wait for an update on how you guys did.

  7. use the boots and if you decide you don't need them, you can always take them off and finish without can't you? Either way, best of luck...