Well, I just had the shoes pulled on Jaziret and Sunny... and am going to give it a go without steel shoes. with these horses. for now. I'm still a bit anxious about it, I really don't want to have the horses laid up with sore feet while we're down here To Ride.
I've always considered that steel (or rigid) shoes are a 'necessary evil' given the rigors - and miles - that our sport demands. And I've always thought that steel/rigid shoes can make or break a horse. Bad shoeing can cause significant distortion of a horse's hoof, there's no doubt in my mind about that. But I've had some good farriers over the years, and have never felt the desperation that has driven some to go barefoot.
So why now?
1. I'm down here with Kevin and Rusty who made the transition 6 months ago, and can help me based upon their experience.
2. I really like the looks of K&R's horses' feet, and their one horse that previously had foot lameness problems no longer does.
3. The footing here is perfect for the transition. Granitic dry sandy soil.
4. I have time to fuss and fiddle with the horses w/o too many other distractions.
5. I just purchased a horse (Ravenwood Dark Desire aka Batman) that has been going barefoot and I've been able to practice with him.
6. The boots aren't that bad! We fit the Bat with Easyboot Gloves for the DVE ride - he only did 50 miles, but we didn't have any problems. so that was a good start for my confidence.
7. I've heard enough success stories from riders that I respect that I do believe it can work.
7. I really really want to have the best hoof health for my horses. IF I can manage the boots, manage the transition, have the patience to deal with boots... then I believe that my horses will be better off.