On challenging endurance rides the last thing you want to do is compromise on your horse’s comfort and hoof protection. The successful NSW endurance rider Darryl King shares in this article his advice on using Scoot Skins to comfortably protect his horse’s hooves in the upcoming Tom Quilty Endurance Gold Cup in Australia.
By Helle Maigaard Erhardsen
A whopping 160 kilometers in 24 hours across the volcanic remains of the Warrumbungle Mountains, national park roads, hills and cropping country is this year's challenge for horses and riders in the prestigious Tom Quilty Gold Cup endurance ride 2022 in New South Wales Australia.
It will be the fifth time to enter the Tom Quilty ride for Darryl King, who has been a passionate endurance rider for the past 25 years. To Darryl, endurance riding is not about being the first over the finish line. Indeed, it is about completing the ride with a happy and healthy horse:
“It’s all about how you manage your horse. Even if you come in last, you are still a winner because you have made it through, which is quite an achievement in itself,” Darryl said.
The thrill of endurance riding is multi-faceted according to Darryl, who said enjoying the different sceneries along the ride and catching up with friends around the campfire in the evenings makes it all a rather addictive experience.
You might be alone with your horse on the trail for many hours, but endurance riding as a sport is most certainly a team effort with help from friends and family, Darryl King said.
How to keep your Endurance Horse Barefoot
Darryl and his wife Steph run a pure and high percentage Crabbet Arabian Stud with about 30 horses at the moment, which are all barefoot. Their New South Wales farm offers a great environment to condition barefoot hooves as the ground is mostly dry, hard clay. As such, Darryl keeps his endurance horses completely barefoot on the 10 kilometer training rides he goes on three to four times a week in between competitions.
However, in more wet and soggy areas of the country, it is harder for endurance riders to keep their horses barefoot. Their horse’s hooves would be softer and more sensitive to changing surfaces as they are not naturally conditioned in their home environment to hard and rocky ground - conditions they are likely to face on an endurance ride.
Luckily, hoof boots are allowed in endurance competitions and are the perfect aid for endurance horses with sensitive hooves. Hoof boots such as Scoot Boots are lightweight with excellent drainage and ventilation, and have a flexible protective sole with superior traction on the varying surfaces you can come across on an endurance ride; Rock, gravel, mud, sand and slippery grass.
Many endurance riders like to add endurance gaiters to their Scoot Boots to provide extra comfort and protection from rubbing on their horse’s heels during challenging rides. However, on very long distances such as endurance rides over 80 kilometers, even the most comfortably fitting hoof boot could start causing discomfort at the pressure points.
In order to eliminate any potential rubbing, Darryl is one of the many endurance riders who swears to using glue-on Scoot Skins, that provides the ultimate hoof protection without any risk of straps causing discomfort to the horse’s skin along the ride.
With Glue-on Scoot Skins you eliminate any risk of rubbing on your horse’s sensitive skin whilst still protecting the entire hoof sole of your endurance horse as opposed to a metal shoe.
Scoot Skins are Ideal Hoof Protection for Long Distance Riding
Glue-on skins from Scoot Boots are made from the same durable, flexible and shock absorbing material as the regular hoof boots from Scoot Boots. However, Scoot Skins are designed without heel or pastern strap to secure them on the hoof and are made to be glued on the hoof wall directly instead.
The lack of straps and fittings altogether ensures that there is no risk of rubbing on your horse’s skin whilst still providing your endurance horse with full hoof protection and extra shock absorption from the ground.
“I like the security of knowing there are no straps that can break and no need to worry if something could get caught under the straps and hurt the horse. It’s just less worry and less hassle using the Scoot Skins Glue-ons for endurance,” Darryl said.
Although all Darryl’s horses are healthily barefooted, he always protects their hooves with Scoot Skins in endurance competitions. The glue-on Scoot Skins protect from bruising of the hooves on rough gravel tracks and give extra grip and traction on slippery slate surfaces on the mountain trails that Darryl frequently encounters on endurance competition rides.
The name is Bonn. James Bonn. When Darryl brought home 5yo James Bonn, he was a rather nervous horse who had survived two floods and was injured badly from swimming through the flood waters. Today he's a strong, confident 13yo, who has already competed successfully for nearly 8 years.
Practice makes perfect - How to apply Scoot Skins
Obviously glue-on boots take a little extra effort to apply and take off as compared to the super easy slip on- and off regular Scoot Boots. To make up for the extra effort, the Scoot Skins can safely be left on the horse for an entire trim cycle. Watch this video on how to glue on the Scoot Skins.
There is no need to worry if you end up with more glue in the boot than hoof - the Scoot Skins are not ruined and can be cleaned and reused over and over for as long as there is still a nice, deep tread on the soles. Should your first attempt with the glue gun end up in a sticky mess or lost boots, rest assured you’re not the only one:
“The first time I used glue-on boots for a competition many years ago, we started off with boots on all four hooves but finished the ride with only one boot left! Yes, there was a bit of mocking happening from our fellow contestants, but I really wasn’t too bothered as we were able to continue although the boots went flying. If my horse had been shod with metal shoes, we would have had to stop and sit on the side of the track waiting for a farrier to come and help,” Darryl said.
Darryl puts the poor gluing job down to very hot weather temperatures that could have caused the glue to set too quickly. Nonetheless, Darryl has since mastered the gluing process and the handsome Mr James Bonn is all set to enter the prestigious 160 kilometer Tom Quilty Gold Cup Endurance ride happening on the 8th-10th July 2022 in Tooraweenah, New South Wales.
Scoot Boots’ fitting and sizing team will also be present at the ride if you are looking for advice on the use of Scoot Skins. Or just want to join us in cheering for Darryl and James Bonn!
This year 2022, the board of the Arabian Horse Society of Australia decided to honour James Bonn's outstanding performance over a number years with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Endurance.
About the author
Helle Maigaard Erhardsen is an investigative journalist specialising in environmental issues. Her devotion to the outdoors includes a life long passion for horses of which she has two: Pannigan, an off-the-track Thoroughbred and Audrey, a Shetland pony, who are both bitless and barefoot. Helle is born in Denmark, where she graduated from the Danish School of Media and Journalism in 2015. Her work is characterised by comprehensive research and she was nominated for the special media award Bording Prisen for her investigative reporting with the newspaper Ing.dk. She later obtained a Master’s degree in Journalism, Media and Communication from UTAS, when she relocated to Tasmania.