Read our blog tips, tricks, and what you need to know about Barefoot Equestrian Riding and keeping your horse healthy.

Needful Things

By Carole Herder

What is your favorite piece of horse equipment? What could you not do without? I think we all have that ‘essential’ tool, the ‘must have’ aid. Excluding your bridle and saddle (if you use them!), is it your hoof pick? Your long-lines? Your neck rein/strap? Your rasp? Your plaiting bands?? For many people, maybe not so much in the horse world, it is the Swiss Army Knife. Or maybe you don’t feel you need anything at all, like the wonderful Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, pictured here!

An essential piece of equipment is one that aids you when in need, something that ensures you can get out of a difficult situation, a tool that is the only item to allow you to do a job. In this materialistic world, we often think things are essential when really they are quite unnecessary if it came to the crunch – “I have to have my lip gloss or my gloves or my soft brush…or my lead rope”.

Horse hoof boots For me, my essential item has to be my hoof boots, and not just because I am President of the company! They are vital to my horse and to any horse I have in my care.

Imagine going out on aggressive terrain, unlike the bedded stalls or grassy pastures of your home – and you forgot your shoes! Ouch! And now you actually have an additional 20% of your own weight (average weight of rider and tack is 200 pounds) on your back, so it’s pressing your tootsies even further into the terrain they are not accustomed to. Double Ouch! Would you go back home and get your sneakers on. You betcha.

If a horse has just been freed from shoes, horse hoof boots will protect them. If they have sensitive feet, my horse is protected. How about when travelling two horses together who are unfamiliar with each other? Hoof boots can cover their hooves and protect legs from kicks. Breeding? Hoof boots, again, protect. Need more traction when riding on difficult terrain? Cavallo hoof boots help. During rehabilitation or recovery from foot conditions, horse hoof boots are great for soaking, keeping bandages on and protecting from dirt and mud.

They really are the number one piece of equipment for me.

Battles Wins Back to Back!

Announcing Trade Supplier of the Year Winner at the 2015 BETA International show in Birmingham, UK

This past week, Greg Giles, CEO of Cavallo Horse & Rider, attended the BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) show in Birmingham, England. We just received an exciting report from an overjoyed Greg, letting us know that Battles (one of our top wholesale suppliers of Cavallo Hoof Boots) just won the BETA “Trade Supplier of the Year” award for 2015! To top it off, this is their second year in a row claiming this prestigious award. In his acceptance speech, Battles Managing Director, Jim Bowen, said, “This award is voted by the retailers and is acknowledgment of the ongoing service and excellence that Battles has provided…and is also reward to our exclusive vendors, like Cavallo, that they are being well represented in the U.K. market.”

Horse Hoof Boots

According to Claire Williams, Beta Executive Director, “The BETA Business Awards have become a prestigious landmark within the equestrian industry’s calendar. They have continued to develop in popularity year upon year, with increased nominations and a growing spirit of competition. The awards are a tremendous way for the trade to recognize and celebrate the achievements of its members.”

Cavallo Horse & Rider began their business relationship with Battles in 2009. Carole Herder, Cavallo President, says they have never looked back: “It’s been a privilege to work with such a highly esteemed company as Battles. I feel our combined efforts truly continue to change the world, one horse at a time!”

A company known widely for their forward thinking and personal approach to business, Battles has enjoyed 182 stimulating years in operation, evolving and progressing dynamically through their commitment to thriving in an ever-changing market. They have continually embraced technology and innovation without losing sight of tradition and the expectations of their increasing customer base.

This award is encouragement to us, at Cavallo, who are so warmed to see a company like Battles working hard to further our efforts to increase the comfort and well-being of horses in The United Kingdom.

Barefoot in the Pasture, Protected on the Trail

By Carole Herder

So you want to go barefoot (or rather you want your horse to go barefoot!) but you are nervous.

Will he be lame?

Will I be able to ride?

Will he damage himself?

What will everyone think of me?

How long will it take his hooves to be strong?

So many questions, so little time. I knew of a lady, a long time ago, who was very interested in having her horse barefoot. He wore shoes when she purchased him. She had done the research, attended the courses, practiced trimming on her ponies and was all ready to go, but she was afraid of taking that last step. She spoke to a barefoot trimmer and voiced her concerns and she was told, “Just rip the shoes off and get on with it”. This was all very well if one had the knowledge or support of advanced barefoot trimming. She had neither. Now thank goodness she was a sensible lady and did not take this ridiculous advice. She knew she had to wait until she had all of the information and experience necessary under her belt before she took the big step.

Cavallo Hoof Boots for Trail Riding

I’m glad to say that she finally got her horse barefoot and is doing fantastically. She made the right decision by waiting until she had all the tools necessary (or access to a qualified trimmer), thus causing no pain to her horse and leaving her, and everyone around her, very confident about going barefoot.

And for everyone who is nervous, don’t forget one of the Cavallo motto’s: Protected on the trail, Barefoot in the pasture. This is aimed at exactly those scenarios described above. Your horse does not have to be lame, you do not have to go without riding and hooves can take their time to grow strong. Put Cavallo hoof boots on your horse while riding and keep them barefoot the rest of time. This allows all of those worries to go away.

Cavallo Trek boot. Cavallo Simple Boot. Cavallo Sport Boot

Combatting the Cruel Hoof Crack

By Carole Herder

Cracks. Cruddy, cruel, conniving (yes, they do seem out to personally attack our horse’s beautiful hooves) hoof cracks. What causes them? And why are some horses prone to them but not others?

Types of cracks:

Grass Crack – a superficial crack starting from the ground and moving up. Can be caused by sudden changes in ground conditions, poor nutrition and/or lack of exercise

Sand Crack – similar to grass cracks but start from the coronary band and move down

Heel Crack – can be very painful and usually caused by shoes that are too long or too short but can also be caused by uneven heel loading

Bar Crack – located on the bars (beside the frog). Can be painful and usually caused by trauma

Toe Crack – horses that land toe first or have flares tend to manifest toe cracks

Quarter Crack – usually caused by imbalance or uneven foot landing (due to conformation defects or bad trimming)

Horse Hoof Boots

If your horse has cracks, try to decipher the cause. The first question to ask: is the foot growing poor hoof quality or have environmental factors caused the issue? And, to be honest, one often causes the other. Can you guess which one? Do bear in mind that you can’t ‘heal’ a fissure. What you need to do is discover the issue in order to stop the crack progressing and then wait for the split to grow out. This needs to be done before the crack gets too deep or too long, as infection could occur. Obviously, prevention is better than cure so be sure to clean and inspect your horse’s feet regularly, maintain him on a routine trimming cycle, ensure he receives proper nutrition and keep him in a consistent and suitable environment. Supplements can help, but remember, it takes between 6 months and a year to grow a new hoof so you may not see the effects of changes for a while. And above all – keep him moving. Horses are meant to move. Horse Hoof Boots are a great aid to healing, both to provide protection from the elements and comfort to encourage movement. Of course, when you consider Horse Hoof Boots, please make Cavallo an option you consider.

Nerves and Bloodflow – Keeping the Hoof Alive

By Carole Herder

Need some scientific jargon to back up your barefoot theories? I came across a great article by Dr. Robert Bowker recently, entitled ‘Nerves, Nerves, Nerves: Why Are They So Important To The Horse?’

The article gives an in-depth descriptive narrative on the different types of nerves in the hoof, how horses feel through their feet, the effect one limb can have on another and the preferred surfaces of horses.

It is sometimes hard to remember that the hoof is full of sensory nerves, to include pain and touch receptors. On immediate observation, the hoof seems like a round hard capsule with a slightly softer squishy bit in the middle (the frog!). And with no muscles or motor nerves in the lower limbs, it can look like there is very little going on just above the hoof too!

Horse Hoof Boots

The hoof is actually a neurosensory organ and central nerves are very important. Unlike humans, the veins in the horse pulsate blood back to the heart/body. For the horse, when one foot is stimulated, the sensory nerves will affect change in the opposite foot. Research has shown that when horses stand with one hoof on a different type of surface or on ice, the blood flow is affected in the leg opposite. We all know that horses should land heel first in all gaits (perhaps flat in a walk) and this is because one type of mechanical receptor, known as the Pacinian corpuscle, is located in the heel (amongst other places) and it is used for proprioception. Thus, horses can feel vibrations in the earth through their heels. And likewise, because of the counter-effect of the inside of Cavallo Hoof Boots and also because wearing Horse Hoof Boots allows the hoof to function properly, the horse feels the vibration and blood circulations continues unimpeded. The article also includes a section on treating laminitis and founder and the benefits of pea gravel as a conformable surface for horses to stand on. You can download the full article here: https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?c=cart&i=1392537&cl=276648&ejc=2