Boarding at a huge hunter jumper barn you just don’t see barefoot horses ever. Not even the ponies. Bare hooves are impractical. Who in their right mind would send unprotected hooves into a sand arena? And you can’t forget to artificially alter the horses gait with wedge pads, long toes and heels and what have you.
I started to question why is this done when the horse is born bare? My curiosity led me to research just why at the age of 16. I found Easycare through Pete Ramey’s books, and I was astonished. I printed off what I could find and handed it to my trainer, who laughed at me. I felt weak, stomped on, all my hard work was washed down the drain. I gave up on my research.
Four years later, I purchased my first horse, Versace. He came with four sets of shoes at the ripe age of 15; shod since he was two for racing. Two weeks into owning him, a jump accident separated his splint bone from his canon bone, he was going to be out for almost a year. I remembered reading it takes a year to transition a horse to barefoot, and my research was started all over again. His shoes were pulled, he was so very sore, boots were not introduced unfortunately. I hated to see my friend in pain, I was threatened with calls to the ASPCA for animal cruelty, cornered into putting shoes back on him, and above all everyone had to comment about my “stupid” decision to go barefoot. I got snide comments on how he can never go barefoot, how it was cruel to do this to him. He needs his shoes.
I kept with it, taking photos every few months, I was depressed, I knew he just couldn’t go barefoot. After many months of pain, I found a new barefoot trimmer who knew what they were doing. She bought me my first pair of boots. Easyboot Epics. After the last click of the clasp, he took of like a bullet. Tearing around the pasture, bucking and stomping with joy. He had every horse in the pasture running with him, even the horses in the other pastures. He was himself again, pain free. It brought tears to my eyes, here my horse who could barely walk was running pain free. I wish I had photos of this day, as it will always be burned into my memory.
After the Epics, I was back to jumping, riding, having my horse back. Its been eight months into the transition. Show season is coming up, and I’m the only natural barefoot event horse in our circuit. I have thought up of some show names, “iboot” “Barefoot Bandit” to show off our barefoot success story, but who knows. All I know is I am turning heads, as I own the horse who could never go barefoot.
Name: Storey Crenshaw
City: Conroe, Texas
Equine Discipline: Jumping
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove