Kaylan & Bella’s Barefoot Transition
Australian rider, Kaylan Bennett and her gorgeous mare, Bella love to jump together! They connected over 3 years ago after an unsuccessful racing career.
They found their love for jumping together after dipping their ‘hooves’ in many disciplines. Unfortunately, as Bella moves into her next stage of life, she is slowing down, however, being barefoot and booted ensures she remains comfortable and supported, even as she is growing older in age!
Although it took a while, Bella is finally barefoot and using Scoot Boots, living the best life any horse could live!
Can you Tell us a Little Bit About Yourself and Your Beautiful Girl, Bella?
I’m Kaylan, I’m 23 years old from Brisbane, Australia. I have been riding horses since I was 7 years old, and it is fair to say, they have taken over my whole life.
My mare, Bella, is a 20 year old Thoroughbred and we have been together for about three and a half years. As well as Bella, I also own 2 miniature ponies who are a whole lot of trouble, but we love them despite their crazy nonsense!
What was Bella’s Life Like Prior to Meeting You?
Before I owned Bella, she was actually my cousin’s competition horse. They competed quite frequently at inter school competitions and local shows for showjumping.
Earlier in her life, she was a racehorse, but didn’t succeed as well as they’d hoped. So she was retrained and found her love for showjumping like many thoroughbreds from her bloodline.
You Jump With Bella, How Did You Get Into This?
I have always loved to jump! But I have never had a horse that I have had the confidence to jump very high with. When I got Bella, I knew she had quite a lot of experience with jumping and once I figured out all of her quirks and buttons, I got the confidence to jump a lot more!
Bella has been a massive confidence booster for me. Seeing how much she loves to jump is one of the things that encouraged me to get a lot more out of my comfort zone and have fun with her.
How was her Shift From the Racetrack to the Showjumping Ring?
Unfortunately, I don’t have any information of that time in Bella’s life, from when she made the transition from a race horse to a show jumper. However, I do still have all of her race records, and from what information I have, it shows she wasn’t a very successful racehorse.
However, her bloodline is notorious for producing beautiful natured showjumpers I imagine her temperament played a massive part in her retraining and her willingness to try a new career.
What Other Types of Riding do you and Bella Like to do Together?
Since owning Bella, we have tried our hand at just about everything! Dressage, sporting horse racing, even working with cows (which was disastrous). These days, we mostly ride for pleasure and are at an agistment on a huge property with heaps of friends! We spend most of our time exploring trails and riding the streets.
The Scoot Boots have helped so much in our transition from show pony to bush horse by offering Bella support and assistance over different terrains. We wear them through mud, creeks, on the road, at the beach and everything in between. They give Bella so much support!
Why did you Choose to Transition Bella to Barefoot?
When I first got Bella, she was shod on all four feet and had bar shoes on all to support them. Her hooves were flaky and weak, making them very hard to manage. We went through 5 different farriers before we found one that suited us.
After a few months of a diet change and topical treatments, we were able to remove her back shoes. It was at this point I knew I wanted to eventually get Bella barefoot as she had been shod for the better part of 17 years and I felt it was the right choice to go back to natural.
It took us another 2 years to get her hooves healthy and at a good texture to be able to be completely barefoot, but I always knew the transition would be hard. That is when a friend suggested Scoot Boots to help support her barefoot transition, especially for riding.
How did you Manage Bella’s Barefoot Transition?
We prepared for months prior to the transition by closely monitoring what she was eating.
When we finally removed her shoes, she was very tender and sore. I added a hoof supplement to her feed to help encourage growth and strengthening, and applied an iodine spray every couple of days to help toughen up the hoof and frog.
We were fitted for Scoot Boots and started out with hand walking over various different terrains to help stimulate the frog and allow her hooves to accustom to the transition. A few weeks later, we were back into the swing of things! Riding a few times a week and exploring the property again.
How did Scoot Boots Help Assist Bella Throughout her Barefoot Transition
The Scoot Boots were such a big help throughout Bella’s barefoot transition. They gave her so much confidence over tough surfaces and supported her barefoot, whilst also protecting her while her hooves made the transition.
On one of our first proper rides in our Scoot Boots, I asked Bella into a canter, and after a few strides, I think she realised that with her Scoot Boots on, her feet didn’t hurt! She had a bit of a celebratory dance and hopped around in the middle of our canter. This was such a relief for me after seeing how tender she had been initially.
How Have Scoots Helped With Your Jumping
The Scoot Boots have been a great support with our jumping, along with all our other riding adventures!
Although we don’t jump anything too big these days, they still offer great support to her while we cruise over the jumps. They fit her so well and I feel like she is just as confident to jump in them as she was when she was shod, knowing she won’t slip because of their grip.
How has Bella’s Life Changed Since Transitioning to Barefoot?
Since transitioning to barefoot, I feel like Bella is experiencing life like a horse is supposed to! This year, we have slowly transitioned to bitless riding (even tackless sometimes if we’re feeling really brave) and I feel like I’ve seen a whole new side to Bella.
In our first couple of years together, Bella could be quite the handful! I felt like the more gear I had to control this, the better. These days, I can see how relaxed she is, living life in a huge paddock with her buddies and going on barefoot adventures through the property. I think after so many years of hard work, she deserves the simple life.
Do you Have any Future Plans With Your Jumping?
These days, we don’t jump all that much. Sometimes we’ll pop over the odd jump out in the paddock because we both love it so much, but we are mostly just enjoying exploring new places.
Bella is getting on in her years (although she doesn’t act like it!) and so we have taken our riding down a level. We have really started enjoying taking it slow and enjoying what is around us together! 💕
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.