Monday, March 12, 2012

Shoes vs. Boots...

OK... if you are not Horsaii at all, you may just want to skip this post. Because in all likelihood you will probably have no idea what the hell I'm talking about anyway.

Right now, Flash and I are preparing for our first endurance race in April. I have been stalking a local endurance Facebook page in the hopes of doing right by my horse and not killing him in our quest for a good time. In the past, Flash has always had to have shoes on because his feet are complete crap and his heels wear off and disappear if I don't. However, this year we have access to awesome pasture that is easy on the tootsies, so I've been considering losing the shoes and going with hoof boots instead.

At endurance races I have seen both. So I don't think there is one way that is better than another, per se. I think it's just a matter of figuring out what works and what doesn't.

Traditional shoes...
Horse boots...

My conundrum comes from this: do I just stick with what I've done for this year and experiment in the winter months? Or should I try something new now? This is kind of a rhetorical question. I don't really expect anyone to actually answer that. Just kinda throwing the idea out there to let it mull around the universe for a bit.

Mostly, the reason for thinking about a change is because of my goal for Tevis. If I stick with traditional shoes, I will have to have a farrier come with me to that race in case we lose a shoe while out doing the grueling 100 miles of trail in the Sierra-Nevadas. However, if I make the switch to boots then I would be able to just carry an extra in case of a "blow-out".

Decisions. Decisions.

For now, I'll stick with what has worked in the past... traditional shoes. This winter I may start experimenting. I'll have to keep an eye on the horses in boots and see how they go...


  1. Yeah, what's a 100 miles of those boots rubbing his pasterns? Yikes! I know, they're neoprene, but I do triathlons in a neoprene wetsuit and guess what, even over a 750m swim it can chafe. And, you're not in the water, you're out on dirt that can get under there and chafe more. I dunno, those wouldn't be my choice. Though, they look hella cool.

  2. HillBill, I was wondering about that. I'm thinking of sticking with shoes for the season and then trying out a front set over the winter and see how they go. Then if they suck I can slap shoes back on in the Spring.

  3. Cavallo makes a really good boot that I use quite a bit. I like it for trail riding, but I'm with hillbill, I can see some chafing and hair loss with that long of a ride. They make a sleeve that helps but doesn't eliminate the problem. Give them a whirl in the winter and see what you think though.

  4. As you know, I'm just about the furthest thing from an expert, but I've been reading a few blogs, and it seems people's issues, with the Renegade boots anyway, are more about them turning on the foot (which can supposedly be fixed with the proper adjustments, which have to be done at home with fiddly little tools, not out on the trail), but once they're dialed in, they're supposedly comfy and don't rub. The pastern strap is supposed to be quite loose, and is only there to keep you from losing the boot if it pulls off. And water, dirt, and mud, supposedly drain out the back, as they're not fully sealed.

    Anyway, SweetPea, do you know anyone that owns them? I'd say the best way to know how Flash would go in them would be to try them, but even Renegade's "rental" program is not very cheap. But yeah, if you had boots, he could go barefoot at home and on short rides, and just wear the boots on the longer rides.

    Wonder if Flash and Andy would wear the same size...I'd be curious to try them too, since he's been barefoot all his life. Hmm... Maybe we could split the cost of the Renegade trial rental... :-)

  5. You need to do what is best for your horse and you. If shoes have worked well for you I'd stick with them through this ride season.
    We switched to boots two years ago only because we didn't have a decent farrier we could count on. There is a learning curve to using them and the real benefit has been the improvement of our horses' hoof condition.
    We uses Glue-ons at Tevis last year and will do so again this year. We're really sold on them. No rubs to deal with and none lost yet!