Yes, as a matter of fact, he does. Dr D believes that he needs the extra support in traction the shoes seem to give him. All I know is that he hated the hoof boots, they changed how he carried himself and his feet were too thin to go bare and still do the rides we have been doing. I'm not going to ride less and I want him as comfortable as possible, so shoes it is.
What do you think of the barefoot vs. shoes debate?
I was pretty committed to keeping Ashke bare. I think that the stimulation of the frog and hoof are overall better bare, however, I really believe in doing what is right for the individual horse.
As far as the debate goes, horses have been domesticated for 6000 years. They are no longer wild creatures running about on the plains, being eaten by anything faster than they were. I have no doubt that in an overall sense, horses live longer and are useful longer than if they were wild, and part of that process involves some kind of hoof covering to protect them over uneven ground. It is naive to believe that we can recreate that type of hoof conditioning within our modern method of care, because acres and acres of rough terrain with varied locations of food and water, which necessitate the constant movement of the horse, don't really exist in our culture any longer. If the individual horse can maintain themselves without shoes then more power to the owner. Mine could not.
As far as the hoof boots go, I was blown away by the write up Gail did on her blog about an article in Endurance News. The author said that for every pound of weight added to the end of the hoof, it is the equivalent of eleven pounds added over the center of gravity. My metal shoes weight about 8 oz, while the backcountry gloves I put on Ashke weight almost two pounds. The weight difference between shoes and boots is 22 pounds vs 88 pounds. That explains so much of what I was feeling and how Ashke was acting. We will stick to shoes.
Favourite season for riding?
Fall. I love the temps, the colors and the feel of the air.
How many shows do you
Three as an adult. All three were Working Equitation.
Do you consider yourself a good rider?
Decent for my age, my weight, my injuries and the number of years spent without riding. Ashke seems okay with me.
How experienced do you think someone should be to own a horse?
Experienced is what you should be at the end of the process. Realistic may be a better question. I think people get caught up in the dream of a horse, without being realistic about cost, maintenance, facilities, extraneous items and how much they need to learn. Horses can be done on a shoestring budget, but that isn't always what's best for the horse. Lessons can help with the riding/handling part, but the other stuff needs research and learning and desire.
Have you ever gotten into a fight with your trainer?
I had a trainer I did not work well with and it did not end well. It wasn't a fight, so much as an agreement to ignore each other. I don't think I could fight with my current trainer - she's awesome!
Describe your dream horse.
Ashke. Everything I ever wanted and more.
Does anyone in your family ride?
My mom did. My sister did when we were young. My littlest brother did until he was eight, and was a complete natural. None of them any more. My niece rides via a therapeutic riding center in Washington. She seems to love it.
If you could ride any horse in the world, which one would it be? Why?
Oxidado. I would love to ride the speed course on him.