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

April 3, 2011

A post about the psychological rider effect of booting your horse.

No, I'm not kidding.  This was playing on my mind as we trotted along down the trail today.  If you run your horse bare, get proper regular trimming, and offer your horse an active lifestyle and plenty of movement you might feel like you've really got the bare hoof thing in your grasp.  Indeed the highest percentage of my training miles are done with an unprotected hoof.  We trot down the trail, picking our way through rocky areas, and walk the jagged stone on the park system's service roads.  Our time on a given trail doesn't vary much, but we are moving pretty slow on the average because of the rock and graveled areas cutting into our time.  Though I may be trotting merrily along, at the first sight of jagged gravel the pace is going to drastically slow down.

Now mirror this with today's ride.  Phebes was booted with her easyboot gloves on the fronts only.  I found that I was much more willing mentally to let her move out.  We cantered more, we power trotted the gravel service roads, and we gained thirty minutes on our best time over the eighteen miles because I felt confident that her hooves were well protected in her Easyboot Gloves.  She also seemed more willing today even though it was the warmest day we've had so far this spring, but the real factor I believe was the psychological "comfort zone" if you will, that I was protecting my most valued resource in endurance (Limited Distance in my case), my horse's hoof.


  1. REALLY?! That's so crazy, that's the total opposite of how I feel about boots. From the time I started really legging Dixie up, I've let her pick her speed if the terrain's iffy, and I just totally trust her to slow down if the rocks are too big or numerous for her bare feet. And I get much more anxious when she's booted - what if it changes her gait, what if she won't gait, what if she gets tangled up in them and falls over at the canter, what if she slips on these rocks because she's not in her suction-cup bare feet...

    How funny!

  2. I felt like you until I got them actually fitting. I do what you do when we are running bare, letting Phebes pick her pace through rock, but I insist she walk on jagged gravel, just not worth it too me. Now that the boots are fitting I feel like we can FLY! We did more galloping and cantering yesterday than we've ever done before, which is saying a lot because I ride solo all the time so I'm generally kind of risk adverse. I wouldn't have said that about our boots LAST YEAR at this time. I guess I should have titled it "HOW GOOD FITTING BOOTS EFFECT RIDER CONFIDENCE". I will admit, I do still lean over now and then to make sure they are still there, and so far they always are!

  3. EG, It sounds like the Easy boots really helped Phebes, and eased your mind as well. Great post also on the psychology of them- insightful!

  4. I feel the same way. I don't worry as much when Doc is booted then when he is not. Especially when I am on unfamiliar trails.