by Linda Chamberlain
I’ve been writing. This time it’s a letter. I was stirred up by an article in British Horse which alleged that barefoot horses can’t do as much as their field mates wearing metal shoes. What nonsense, I thought. My friends in the Barefoot Horse Owners Group on Facebook contributed to a strong rebuff to the magazine of the British Horse Society. Here it is –
As a rider of a barefoot horse I was really pleased to read Wayne Upton’s interview in February’s issue. I was pleased because some farriers can be hostile to the idea of equines being ridden without shoes and here was a man suggesting the idea to riders ‘if you’re not doing very much with a horse’.
My fellow members of the Barefoot Horse Owners Group on Facebook, which now has a remarkable 4,000 members, were not as impressed as me, however. You see, so many of them compete – some to a very high level – and so were rightly concerned that readers of the British Horse might wrongly think that barefoot was a cheap but slippery option. They cited Simon Earle, the racehorse trainer, who favours barefoot and Lucinda MacAlpine from the world of dressage. There are also police forces in the US whose horses have no shoes. Then there was Luca Maria Moneta’s success at Olympia on his barefoot mare (see below) who scaled a massive wall more than seven feet high to go in the record books. A high enough achievement for anyone, I would suggest.
But I asked members of the Facebook group to tell your readers of their own competition and riding successes. Here they are: –
Sue said – I have had my horse barefoot for 12 years and I have competed in low level show jumping, Trec and some cross country events.
Mandy got a barefoot event established in her local show and it was the most well attended class. Mandy will be doing endurance this year.
Christine said – my daughter is a BHS member. She competes at show jumping, cross country and dressage on a barefoot horse who is proving more sound now than when shod.
Katherine has two barefoot horses who have qualified for FEI endurance. They cover up to 80 km – booted or barefoot. Two more of her youngsters have qualified for open competitions.
Chris rides a barefoot Mustang stallion, has affiliated for BSJ and regularly competes against both amateur and professional riders. Eventing in muddy conditions also poses no problem.
Emily does cross country training with her barefoot ex-racehorse.
Emma’s barefoot mare happily jumped around British Novice at Pyecombe and Royal Leisure.
Clair rides the British Showjumping Show Eastern Area’s reigning champion. A mare who is barefoot.
Janet’s children join in all Pony Club activities on a barefoot pony.
Brigitte found barefoot no hindrance to her horse’s performance when she qualified for the Hartpury Showjumping South West competition.
Claire rode the coast to coast in Scotland last year – no slipping from her barefoot mount or packhorse.
Inga competes in dressage on her barefoot ex-racehorse.
Sheryl has a mini Shetland who competes in local shows.
Sarah recently ran an arena Trec competition – half the entrants were barefoot horses.
Tina drives her pony on the roads – about 30 miles in an average week.
Sandra, a BHS member, lives in Wales and her barefooter copes well for mile after mile on the rocky tracks.
Elice finds the grip superior from her barefoot horse in the following disciplines – showjumping, cross country, dressage…oh, and hunting!
Sarah is another multi-discipline rider – 3 barefooters who hunt, jump and go on long pleasure rides.
Milly competed at advanced dressage on Kudi – no shoes – and winning at Prix St Georges.
Hester – does hunting, showjumping, endurance and eventing on a barefoot horse with no problems.
Sharon hunts her horse who has never been shod and reports that grip is excellent.
Dani’s horse has been barefoot all her life and is regularly placed in local showing classes. She hacks happily over all terrain.
So, you see, barefoot isn’t only for those who do the occasional light hack. And the Barefoot Horse Owners Group on Facebook is a great place for support and information.
Just wanted to share as our Facebook group is so awesome.
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