We took some friends out for a ride yesterday - the first ride for both of them. We put them on our quiet horses - Pati rode Khruschev (20 yr old Orlov Trotter - aka Trusty Krusty), Andy rode Dudley (8 yr old nephew of Krusty). John rode Sunny, I was on Jaziret (aka Rhett) and Merri (taking the photo) was riding Jose bareback. A nice little stroll up to the canyon and back on a lovely almost-summer evening.
All of the horses are going without steel shoes now. (except Jose and he went without a saddle, so that counts for something! I'm going to pull his shoes this fall and transition him over the winter). I've been on the 'barefoot' learning curve 5 months now - since January when I pulled shoes on Rhett and Sunny in Arizona - with Kevin and Rusty to help me with the transition process. And at this point I really can't imagine ever putting steel back on any of these horses. I'm trimming the horses' feet myself (going through a learning curve on that too) and really enjoying it. It's definitely work, but not too bad if I keep at it and do a little bit on a frequent basis. Their feet are getting really hard now - there's no problem with rasping the walls, but I bought a Dremel tool so I can grind down the bars. The horses don't seem to mind the power tools amazingly enough.
At this point the Gloves (Easycare) are my favorite hoof protection. I've done several rides with glue on boots - and it's nice to have the peace of mind of a secure booted ride, but I honestly would prefer to avoid the gluing-on and taking-off process. I'm to the point now with the Gloves that I think I can get through most any ride with them. We don't have any rubbing issues from the gators, I've figured out that I simply need to wrap a few of the horse's feet with tape under the boots to keep them on snugly. Keeping hind boots on through creek crossings and rough uphill climbs has been the biggest challenge - but the tape makes a huge difference.
We have a local 2 day ride coming up next weekend - John and I will ride each day on a different horse - 4 booted horses. I'm looking forward to it!