Out and about

…with Sandra and Cassie.


We had a gentle flurry of snow, two barefoot horses and, guess what? My renegade hoof boots no longer fit. Ben’s hooves have spread and they are too tight to put on. We have had a few weeks off due to the long freeze and Christmas holidays so I probably have not ridden Ben for about 5 weeks. So I had to ride him for the six mile road ride genuinely barefoot.

He coped well. At first he was very careful but gradually he became more confident and strode out, passing Cassie out at times.


He did try to choose the verge when he could and he was reluctant to trot. His hooves look great. We trimmed afterwards and he has grown a very nice callous and his soles seem really hard. He does not wince now when I tap them. He was also so relaxed with the trimming that he practically fell asleep, mirrored by Cassie, Minnie and Rosie all in their respective places in Sandra’s yard. It was very peaceful.

I don’t know what to do about the hoof boots. I knew that Ben’s hooves would spread. I just did not expect it to happen so soon. These boots were a size 2w with a cut back to accommodate his rounder shaped hoof. I do not know if I should go for a larger size now and hope that the company will accept a part exchange, or if I should wait a few months as his hooves may very probably spread some more.

After the ride we let them have a roll in Sandra’s arena. Ben of course could roll for Ireland and he did:


Again, and again, and again until finally finished and ready to come in:


A meandering sort of ride to allow for the still-transitioning experience, but a good ride. The only hazards were a little girl on a new Christmas bicycle who wobbled alarmingly towards Cassie’s back legs and a young horse loose on the road, a sad reflection of the times in which we live when horses are left on land without adequate grazing or any other forage. Ben swelled in stallion mode as we passed but I was pleased to note that he came back to me and relaxed on request (or command in this case).



Filed under hoof care, riding

8 responses to “Out and about

  1. June

    Sounds like the feet are doing great. You may not need boots at all in the end.

  2. Keil Bay’s hooves did the exact same thing – I never replaced the boots and ended up selling them after about a year passed and I realized there was no reason to keep them.

    Sounds like Ben’s feet are doing really well – keep up the good work!!

  3. My experience with Doru is that his feet broadened very noticeably and soon the boots didn’t fit him. It happened over the first few months. Fortunately his feet toughened too so the need for boots diminished. Before and after photos look like they belong to quite different horses.

    • That is interesting that it happened so soon with Doru. I must find one of Ben’s old horse shoes and fit it to his hoof now. Did you find you needed hoof boots at any further stage with Doru?

  4. Have you heard of Keratex? I use it on Silk and Siete’s hooves to harden them. I had them barefoot for a couple of years, but our soil is so full of rocks that I finally put front shoes on them. My farrier and my vet both agreed that it was the best thing and safer for them.

    • Victoria, I have heard of Keratex and in fact asked Dermot McCourt who trimmed Ben and Rosie’s hooves about it. He said he did not think it was necessary. I do understand that barefoot cannot work for every horse. I think it is working for Ben although this is very early days.