Rocky threw his last remaining shoe this morning. I am borrowing a pair of Easy Boots from a friend … and taking this as a message. Horses always provide feedback, right? Well, I think Rocky’s inability to keep a shoe on for more than two weeks is saying: take ’em off.I haven’t wanted to go barefoot in front because he has special wedge/orthotic full-circle shoes, and whenever he’s had just flat U-shaped shoes, he’s been uncomfortable and lame. The wedge shoes change his posture and his personality because he feels better being a little up on his toes.
But now it’s not the mud sucking them off, it’s the running around in the Back 80 — the grassy hillside behind the Back 40 where they get to spend a couple hours a day now that it’s stopped raining. I think he’s flat-tiring himself and ripping the shoes off.
I always stopped riding him when he lost a shoe because that’s what we did in Los Angeles, but it’s seeming like here the advice is to put a boot on to even him out and ride anyway, especially as I’m only doing the Level 1 Freestyle patterns which are mostly walk with some trot.
I’ve investigated barefoot transitions before, but today I’m researching in more depth, with an eye to how people have taken horses barefoot at Rocky’s age (just turned nine) and with the soundness issue (arthritis in the coffin joint, worse on the left).