Four Years on
My friend Anne reminded me that it’s exactly four years since we took the momentous step of removing our horses’ shoes. Today I went for a three hour ride with two friends. I thought it might be interesting to share some photos with you, to show you just what sort of terrain my barefoot horse now takes in his stride.
There was one shod horse (Shadiya, the bay), one horse wearing front boots (Quieto) and one horse that was 100% barefoot (Flurry).
We started off on a gravelly road. It was noticeable that the two unshod horses chose to go along the grass verge where possible. In fact, gravel is the surface that Flurry likes least.
Then we went through some woods, descending steadily. The ground here was mostly damp and muddy, with a couple of steep stony stretches. I noticed Shadiyah slip a couple of times but the two boys were fine.
We came out onto a road for a short while, crossed a river and started going up a hill on the other side. This, to me, seemed like the worst ground, but Flurry took it in his stride.
Shadiyah, the shod horse, slipped really badly on the smooth rocky stretch you can see int front of the riders in the photo below. She very nearly went down completely. That’s one huge disadvantage of shoes.
We took a short break before tackling the last part of the climb towards Lincel.
Then we had a nice grassy, leaf-strewn trail. The building at the side is called a Borie. They are used for storage all over the place here.
Back onto a tarmac road, climbing up to Lincel.
We stayed on the road for at least a kilometre, then we had to climb back down into the valley. The trail was not any better… On ground like this, I leave the reins loose and let Flurry choose where he puts his feet. Within reason. He has a penchant for walking along the edge of cliffs 😦
Home again, after three hours, probably about 15 kilometres, in 20C temperatures. We had three very sweaty horses.
Despite that, Flurry was in great form when I turned him out after his shower!