Kerry & Contralto’s Journey to Barefoot
Aussie rider, Kerry Butler and her beautiful boy, Contralto struggled each time the farrier came around. Contralto’s hooves would crumble and break each time his metal shoes were removed, making him lame and very uncomfortable.
After a lot of consideration, Kerry decided to do away with Contralto’s metal shoes and opted for the barefoot method. Since then, not only have Contralto’s hooves improved, but he is a totally different horse!
Now, thanks to barefoot and booted, Kerry and Contralto are living the ultimate retirement life any horse can have! Read on to learn how they navigated down the barefoot path.
Can you Please Tell us a Little bit About Yourself and Your Horse, Contralto?
I have loved horses for as long as I can remember! I got my first pony, Bambi when I was 8 years old, and I have had horses ever since!
My horse, Contralto, is my 16 year old Thoroughbred X Warmblood that I bred We love to do dressage together. He has had intermittent lameness issues most of his working life unbeknown due to his metal shoes.
What Were Contralto’s Hooves Like Prior to Heading Down the Barefoot Road?
Contralto has mild high-low syndrome (HLS) in his front feet. One of his hooves was considerably smaller than the other and both had very thin walls.
His hooves were just terrible! They would break up every time his metal shoes were removed.
Contralto’s First Sizing Pictures, May 2019
What Treatments did you try Prior to Turning Barefoot?
I had his bloods taken to see where he may be lacking in his diet. So, I added pure biotin, the best quality I could find and I was fanatical about dressing his hooves. But nothing seemed to help!
What Advice Were you Given by Farriers and Veterinarians in Regards to Contralto’s Hooves?
Because of his lameness, I consulted my veterinarian. He came to the conclusion that he was lame bilateral. So we nerve blocked him and discovered that his lameness was definitely coming from his feet.
The next step was x-rays, which came up inconclusive. Although he thought there were slight changes in the pedal bone (coffin bone), he recommended cortisone injections, which we did, with no improvement.
After discussing his hooves with my farrier and him saying that the nails were pinching due to his hooves being so thin-walled and after weighing up all other options, we decided to try him barefoot!
Why did you end up Choosing to Transition to Barefoot?
We decided to go barefoot as a last resort before retiring him. I had nothing else to try except barefoot, and I am so glad I did!
How has Contralto’s Life Changed Since Choosing Barefoot and Booted?
Since being barefoot and booted, his smaller hoof is now barely noticeable.
And you know what!? Not only do I now have a sound horse, but he is no longer grumpy or spooky. He is a much calmer and happier horse!
Did you Have any Fears or Concerns About Transitioning to Barefoot?
I was concerned that his feet would not be able to handle going barefoot and would crack and break up. But with proper management, I was very surprised how well they held up!
You Chose to use Scoot Boots! Why did you Choose to use Hoof Boots Rather Than Keeping Him Completely Barefoot?
I chose to use hoof boots when I was riding because I wanted to protect his feet from wearing as riding in sand can be quite abrasive. I wanted to protect his hooves from breaking up.
He seems a lot more comfortable and does work much better in his Scoot Boots than without!
How do Scoot Boots Allow you and Contralto to Continue Doing What you Love Doing Together?
Well, if I hadn’t decided to go down the path of barefoot and booted, I doubt I would have had a horse to ride.
I ride 4 to 5 times a week and Scoot Boots are absolutely perfect for us! They are so easy to put on and take off, and they don’t fill with sand or move around.
Do you Have any Advice for Those Thinking About Turning Down the Barefoot Route?
Yes, I found starting my horse’s barefoot transition in the winter months when the ground is nice and soft was helpful. It is also important to have regular barefoot trims.
Make sure you get advice from a good barefoot trimmer, using one is invaluable!
Building a Supportive Barefoot Community
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About the Author
Blog writer, Macy Wallis has been a member of the Scoot Boot team for 5 years. She has always had a passion for animal welfare and is currently studying to become a Veterinarian at James Cook University based in Northern Queensland. Through her time at Scoot Boot, Macy has gained extensive knowledge about the benefits of being barefoot and loves to share this with other horse owners. Her family owns four horses; Booza, Star, Chevy and Kudos, all of which are barefoot and love using Scoots!