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Author Topic: Hocking Hills and being barefoot  (Read 66 times)


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Hocking Hills and being barefoot
« on: May 14, 2018, 03:12:49 pm »

Has anybody ridden at Hocking Hills with their barefoot horse? I got invited to go on a trip down there in July but I keep my mare barefoot. The people who invited me rode there last year and said that boots did not hold up well on the wet rocks, as one girl in their group had boots on her horse and he slipped a lot down hill.

I really, really, really, want to avoid putting shoes on my mare, so I was just wondering if boots are a bad idea? Or was it just maybe her horse or the specific boots she has? I have my mare in Cavallo's and I only use them when the terrain is extremely rocky, generally smaller rocks as she navigates fine on large rocks (thou she does manage to chip her hooves more on the larger rocks).
Stephanie, S.E. Michigan

Sol, 13 year old TWH mare
RIP CJ. April 1986 - April 10th, 2018. CJ was 32.

"Confidence is built on the back of a horse"


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Re: Hocking Hills and being barefoot
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 05:28:12 am »

Boots are not a bad idea but some provide better traction than others. Sharing a bit from my experiences...

I use Cavallo Treks on my gelding, Babe. They're a good fit, but after a long ride, he will sometimes have a minor scuffing in the area of the heel bulbs. This is not a problem if you're riding for a day, but on a multi-day trip, it could develop into a sore spot. I would recommend taking some athletic tape so you can wrap the foot before putting the boots on. (Mueller athletic tape, you can search it.)

Babe's boots are Treks in the slim fit. They do not have a very aggressive sole compared to the regular treks, in fact it's ridiculously shallow and no, they don't have great traction. Last fall, I contacted Cavallo about this and they said they are going to change them to have the same tread as the regular treks. You might want to invest in new boots if you've got the slim fit Treks from last year or earlier. If I were to order a pair now, I would definitely make sure they're not the old style.

Another option would be to get a set of studs for the boots. The studs provide excellent traction, but you need to keep an eye on the inside of the boot because they can eventually loosen, work upward and potentially dig into the hoof. If you do use the studs and see them loosening, you can simply take them out and reset them.

One last bit of advice...be sure to take replacement screws, some spare Velcro closures and duct tape in case you need to repair a boot. (I made up a little repair kit that I keep in my saddle bags.) If you have them, take extra boots just in case.


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Re: Hocking Hills and being barefoot
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 05:11:34 am »

If you come down let me know, maybe I can meet you!  I'm only an hour from Hocking.

For what its worth.. it is rocky.  Mostly bigger rocks, but still.. I have ridden my old endurance horse Sal there barefoot, and my daughter has ridden our Arab there barefoot, BUT, they had exceptionally hard flinty hooves.  None of my horses since then would have been ridden there barefoot.  I prefer barefoot horses if I can, but honestly, if I am going to ride shoes are my best option (everyone is different).  To truly enjoy Hocking you'll want to not be worrying about boots and slipping etc.  Putting shoes on her with some drill tech or borium would be my suggestion.  You can always remove them afterwards :)

Hocking Hills is BEYOND beautiful.  Give it serious thought, so you can really have fun without the doubt and worry if your horse is OK.
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