These days it's the norm for me to go out riding with barefoot horses. It was never like that years ago when I rode. Every horse was shod, including my own. The sound of iron clip clopping on roads and paths was ever so loud and unfortunately the norm at that time. This was all I had ever known years ago but not so now. All my horses are barefoot. My little welsh cob girl's feet are so hard from her terrain and diet that she very rarely needs Scoots. Notwithstanding this she has a stable full of Scoots with all the different colours in the Scoot collection.
Not long ago I went out riding with my friend Jenny who had just acquired a very cheeky welsh cob x thoroughbred boy called Mickey.
He had been shod and still had his shoes on when he arrived at his new home with Jenny. His toes were long. Heels a little under run but not too bad for a shod horse. After all, he was only young. Probably had been shod over the last year.
We went on an easy ride over flat ground, partly grass and the rest sandy tracks. Mickey was tripping. Not just once but often. It was only a short ride. Not difficult. But this boy was having difficulties moving forward and was tripping and stumbling every five minutes.
Soon after our ride Mickey has his shoes taken off and started his barefoot journey. It would be easy for Mickey because after all he was only 4 years old and not long shod. I was there when the shoes came off.
Michelle, Mickeys barefoot trimmer, removed the iron and rasped back those long toes and bevelled the edges. Mickeys feet looked amazing just after one trim.
Next time Jenny and I went out riding the difference in Mickey’s movement was overwhelming. He strode out and not once did he stumble. He wore Scoots on all four hooves and moved freely and easily.
Unlike other barefoot transitioning journeys, Mickey's transition was easy.
He didn’t need to wear Scoots in his paddock after his shoes were removed and only wears them out on rides. I wish it was this easy for all horses starting out on their barefoot journey.
Mickey has had several trims now since the first day out on that ride. The nail holes had grown out and his feet look healthy and hard.
Mickey is now ready to start his journey into the dressage world where he will hopefully rise to the level of Prix St George.
Anyone starting this journey should do as much reading as they can. Head to our blog page where you'll find lots of blogs on transitioning and hoof health. Find a farrier or barefoot trimmer that will help you with your barefoot journey. You will never look back. After all, our equine companions deserve the best, right?!
Annette Kaitinis is the co-founder of Scoot Boots