The trouble of it all
|November 10, 2009
|Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized
AareneX commented about the trouble of boots versus shoes on my LOVE ride recap post. I started to respond, but realized that it was much too lengthy. So here’s my take on the trouble of boots, versus the trouble of shoes.
I think the trouble and time I take with the boots and shoes is equal. Here’s why:
With shoes I really worried about angles. She was shod every 6 weeks, but her feet grow FAST. I wasn’t comfortable cantering, or even speed trotting by the 5th week because of how long her feet were. Boots Win.
I ride a lot of pavement and the AERC rides I do always seem to have pavement in them. Last year in May, Farely actually went down on pavement, even though I was hand walking her. Very scary. The boots seem to have a much better grip. Boots win.
If I wanted to pad for a ride, I had to use pads that stayed in for 6 weeks under the shoes (yes, I could use pour in, but there’s a whole story behind what I would have to go through to get it….). Even though no apparent ill effects came of padding her for Tevis, I just didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t see her soles for 6 weeks. And there was something “off” about her when they were pulled. Nothing I could put my finger on, but my gut told me that it wasn’t a great idea. Boots win.
I have missed rides that I wanted to go on because my horse wasn’t shod. Unless I have a ride coming up, Farley is barefoot. She doesn’t need shoes for riding or conditioning, but most rides require hoof protection, and there are very few rides I would ride a horse 50 miles the entire way without protection. So if my schedule changes and at the last minute I CAN make a ride….there’s a good chance Farley won’t have shoes on and I won’t be able to do it. The farrier comes out to the stable every 3 weeks and it is difficult/impossible to get her shod between these scheduled visits. Boots win.
Lost Shoe or Boot
I have lost a shoe at a ride (first ride – AR 50 – on Minx) and had to have it replaced. It was a pain. It took a while. There happen to be a farrier at the lunch check and I happened to have cash. We didn’t get to spend the check relaxing. It took longer to replace that shoe, than it took me to redo the boots on the trail last weekend. The trouble involved in a lost shoe or boot is about equal. So far the score is 1:1. One lost shoe at my first ride, one instance of boot malfunction at my first booted ride. If it continues to happen, I may have to reevaluate the cost/benefit of boots. Time will tell. Equal.
Boots and shoes are about equal in cost, depending on how I often I trim and whether I do it or my farrier does it, how long the boots last, how many rides I do in a year, and how often I would have plain shod her or padded her. I won’t know for sure until I get at least 1-2 years of cost analysis of using boots. Status: Unknown
I’ve broken bones because of shod horses, and I’ve had unshod horses run over the top of me at the gallop. If I can work around unshod horses, that is my preference. Boots win.
I never even considered boots before I saw the renegades. Easy boots were the only other viable option and they did not look easy. The trouble involved in wrapping, rubbing, gaiters, foaming, and still losing them wasn’t worth it. Renegades is what has made this experiment possible.
So far, the “trouble factor” of shoes and boots compare favorably to each other, with several advantages going to boots (and specifically – renegade boots).
Even if the “trouble” factor ends up rising with the boots (if I lose them at a higher rate than shoes, if they end up costing more) there are other factors that still haven’t been fully explored that might tip it in favor of boots, even with a higher “trouble” factor:
- Health of the horse
- Health of the hoof
- Soundness of the horse
- Availability of a good farrier once I move from this area (I have a great farrier – I know not everyone in all areas is so lucky).
The Bottom Line
That being said, if serious boot malfunctions occur at rides and cost me completion after completion the trouble factor will be high enough to cause me to reconsider. However, by then there might be another viable option – competition is making the boot market better and better! I’ll do what I can to keep her barefoot, but at least at this point I’m not absolutely committed to keeping her barefoot at all costs.
Please weigh in! Why do you do, what you do?