This is Geordie. He is an 11year old stock horse cross, who I have owned and ridden for 8 years. He came to me as a very green 3year old.
My name is David Wallace, and I am an ATHRA (Australian Trail Horse Riding Association) accredited trail boss, and a past president of our local riding club, and as such I have ridden Geordie out on trails almost every weekend of those 8 years. And during that time, he has been continually shod all round. We hail from Central Victoria, where the ground is very stoney and hard, the summers are long and hot, and Geordie has taken me on adventures all over southern Australia, from the Southern Alps of NSW to the Flinders Ranges in outback SA.
This is our story of transitioning him from metal shoes to barefoot trims and boots.
I initially tried barefoot for him as a 3yo, but I couldn’t locate any trimmers in my area, and had to rely on my farrier to trim his hooves, which was OK, but not what I felt was correct. I also saw a lot of people on rides who’s boots continually came off, or twisted, so I felt using a conventional metal shoe was a better option with our rocky conditions. I knew they would stay on at least.
As technology advanced and time ticked by, better makes of boots came onto the market, but most people still had issues with them staying on the hoof whilst trail riding.
Three years ago, I purchased a young filly. She was shod, which created loads of issues…. four times in 4 weeks I had to rescue her from the fence. She continually got the wire caught between the shoe and the hoof. So, I decided that she was going to be barefoot to save my sanity. And so, we moved her into Scoot Boots which were fantastic right from Day 1. They stayed on, didn’t twist, didn’t rub, and were easy to get on and off. I was instantly hooked.
With her under saddle, I could now give Geordie a big rest, and start to transition him to boots as well. At the end of summer, I removed his shoes, thanked my farrier for all his wonderful efforts over the 15 years I’d used him, and started Geordie on the road to barefoot trims.
These are his hooves after the first 4-5-week cycle. His rear hooves were breaking and chipped. His fronts were not as bad, but you can also see the angle of the new hoof growing down from the coronet band.
After another 2 trims, we sized him for Scoot Boots. I placed the order, and when the boots arrived, he was 2 weeks into the trim cycle, and they looked too big in the front and too small in the back. What to do now?
I tried using some shims in the fronts, but that just made the gap even wider at the top of the boot. I used gaffer tape to wrap the hoof, but nothing worked. So, I decided to go for a ride in them as they were. And wouldn’t you know it, nothing twisted, nothing came off, nothing rubbed. I walked, trotted, cantered and galloped and all 4 boots stayed exactly as they should.
Now I am at the end of this trim cycle, I will see what the boots are like next weekend. His hoof is at a bit of an odd angle as it grows down. Which is to be expected, and I know these boots probably won’t fit very well for long because of that. But so far, I’m amazed at just how good a fit they are. Sure, it’s not a textbook fit, but all they need to do now is stay on and cause no issues.
The same hoof as the one in the previous above photo.
For his rear boots I just removed the gaters, and they fit OK. Geordie and I are both happy with our Scootin’ adventure.
To be continued…
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David Wallace has been around horses from an early age, but they were always “someone else’s” horse. At the age of 35 he purchased his first 2 horses, OTT standardbreds. It was a steep learning curve for all involved, and since then has gone onto owning his own herd of horses, which he has managed in as natural an environment as able. David has competed and trained in many disciplines from Dressage to Navigation Rides and Three Phase Equitation, but keeps returning to his first love; trail riding in the great Australian outdoors. David is now preparing his 2 horses, Geordie and Reeva for their relocation, along with his family, to Tasmania for their next adventure in horseback fun.