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

Discover The Ride

Summer is just around the corner so let’s see what’s in store for next season:

There is, on average, 120 rides (!!!) per month organized across the country by ACTHA, the American Competitive Trail Horse Association. Summer trail rides, obstacle challenges and guest ranches are just a few of the treats on their schedule this season. And remember, you have more chances to win a trip to Australia when riding in Cavallo Horse Hoof Boots!!

Best of America by Horseback, the famous Trail Riding Television Show, hosts trail rides to include clinics, music, demos, seminars, cattle drives and even fishing tournaments! They have four events coming up in the next two months.

Horse Hoof Boots

Monty Roberts, the internationally renowned and beloved horse whisperer, runs clinics all year round from his Flag is Up Farm in California. If you can’t make any of these, check out his Equus Online University (the quotes alone on this page are inspirational!)

The Double Dan Horsemanship team are also running clinics throughout May and June. These include ground control, liberty work and working under saddle. Want to bring your four-legged friend with you while you learn? The 2015 Mustang Family Reunion Ride is a one-of-a-kind all inclusive vacation in Raymondville, Missouri. Trial rides, fun activities and clinics for one whole week, to include camp facilities and hot meals. Wow! Click here for more info.

Feel like taking the plunge and really learning what barefoot trimming is all about?  Liberated Horsemanship is running a 5-day Gateway Clinic in Wooster, Ohio in June 2015.More details here.

I also thought I would highlight the following web page:

https://www.thehorseshoof.com/links.html. It gives an outstanding list of links for websites containing information on general barefoot information, barefoot clinicians and professionals, hoof care organizations, barefoot schools / education / training programs, natural boarding and rehab facilities, hoof research, hoof boots, hoof tools, natural remedies, nutrition, horsemanship and tack. Happy reading!

 

Horse Hoof Boots

Are You a Sack of Potatoes?

Why is riding the correct way so important? I am often asked why I continue to study this. My first response is to say that I like to improve my skills and better understand both mine and my horse’s body mechanics, but I always follow this up with, “And to ensure I am riding in a way that keeps my horse comfortable”. Humans are notorious for falling into bad habits with posture, driving, lifting, sitting and even how we hump over our desks. Horse riding is no exception.

Many non-horsey people think that horses are so big and strong that of course they can carry us humans around no problem. And weren’t they bred for working and riding? Yes, to a certain extent, humans have interfered with nature and tweaked the genetic pool of horses to ensure particular breeds are improved upon (racehorses, carriage horses, etc). But their long backs and overall conformation lend themselves more to flight than packing a load around.  So it’s up to us to make ourselves an easier burden.

So, what are the short term signs that your horse is uncomfortable under you?

  • Knocking jumps
  • Not tracking up
  • Not collecting
  • Not bending

And the long term effects?

  • We don’t know…… well I am afraid to say…..it’s scary!

There are certainly some signs that your horse is not carrying herself as she should be – like weak muscles in the hind end and lower back. However, other issues could be attributed to this, such as badly fitting tack or sore feet. So how do you know?

Horse Hoof Boots

I’ll give you an example. A lady has a horse that is physically fit and well, and all tack fits correctly. However, when riding, he ‘hangs’ on her hands and will not collect or bend. Having had the tack checked, his back checked and investigated all other avenues, the lady finally decided to get a riding lesson. Within five minutes the instructor declared the horse was not working his hind end and all his effort was being put onto the fore. She explained how the owner needed to intermittently lift her hands to request the horse to left his head (without arching his back), collect himself and thus work his hind end. Within 20 minutes the horse was tracking up and working lightly on the bit, something the rider had not experienced in months.

While this might merely be an example of bad riding to you, it is also a simple lesson for all of us that sometimes we don’t see the little things and it takes an objective outsider to see the obvious and assist with correcting it. We should never stop learning. And we should never stop asking for help.

And remember, good riding will encourage your horse to be strong in the back and hind end, thus resulting in less injuries and a longer life working and playing together.

We all know the axiom “No Hoof, No Horse” – so always keep your horses comfortable with Horse Hoof Boots; and of course, make them Cavallo Horse Hoof Boots.

Horse Hoof Boots

In Honor of Earth day

By Carole Herder

While looking at my horses in the mix of the lavish summer landscape and late afternoon sun, it is challenging to determine the difference between them and the trees around them. They stand so still, like inanimate objects. The only movement is the air traveling through their nostrils, filling their lungs and leaving again, standing as an extended part of the environment that surrounds them. Wind currents change and in a blink of an eye, they are thundering off, snorting and bucking. And again that flush envelopes me, a crazy delight whenever I watch them run, and this time tinged with a touch of sadness as I am increasingly aware that conditions may not be moving in their favor; their world is becoming more vulnerable as the years go by.

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Horses are nature personified, gently moving through the environment like that light breeze that cools you off on a hot day. Then in a second they’re whipping into a strong, forceful beast that can take off into flight at forty miles per hour, exuding tremendous power.

We are drawn to watch these splendid animals’ movements, with the ebbs and flows as they play their various melodies, always in harmony with nature. Sometimes as they move, if I close my eyes a little and just drift, I can see the current like waves of the ocean flowing across their body as their muscles ripple in motion. They charge across the field in a fury with the force of a tsunami, yet rest and gaze as still as a serene, glassed pond. This dichotomy of nature’s gentle influence is to be revered in the majesty that is Equus.

“Horses make a landscape look beautiful.”

– Alice Walker

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Rainier Therapeutic Riding Connects with Cavallo to Go “Barefoot & Booted”

Recently, Greg and I were very personally touched after a visit to Rainier Therapeutic Riding in Yelm, Washington.  We wanted to see firsthand the work being done at the center.  Since beginning their program in 2010, they have focused solely on the rehabilitation of military service veterans who are facing physical and emotional challenges after returning from service.

Rainier Therapeutic Riding, a Premier PATH center, received national attention when the story of one of their veterans, Aaron Heliker, was highlighted in the 2014 documentary, Riding My Way Back.  Many of the veterans are trying to overcome the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and physical injuries they incurred during service.  Program participants are often battling feelings of extreme isolation and some are at risk for suicide.

Horse Hoof Boots
Debbi Fisher and Root Beer

 

Debbi Fisher, founder of Rainier Therapeutic Riding, is excited that the center has recently taken the metal shoes off their therapy horses, letting them live a more natural lifestyle of being “Barefoot & Booted”. Debbi believes that, as opposed to using metal shoes, the combination of living barefoot and using hoof boots while riding gives the hoof a much better opportunity to function naturally. The unshod hoof is able to spread on contact with the ground, causing blood to pump through the lower leg – this minimizes disease and, in turn, minimizes pain. Debbi knows that a comfortable horse is a good therapy horse, and that hoof health is everything. A therapy horse normally works a three to five year span before its retirement, due the physical and mental challenges of the job. Taking metal shoes off and using the Cavallo Boots while riding is an effort to increase the physical comfort of the horses, which will enable the center to provide better quality care to its veterans. Extending a horse’s working life reduces the frequency of having to seek, test, and train a new horse for the job, which is a lengthy and expensive process.

Our team at Cavallo is so happy to see the horses and humans of Rainier Therapeutic Riding enjoying the benefits of using Cavallo Hoof Boots. We are honoured to be in Debbi’s company of friends and proud to sponsor RTR.

For more information about Rainier Therapeutic Riding, please visit: http://www.rtriding.org/

Horse Hoof Boots

Good Horsemanship – Asking Questions and Trusting Your Intuition

By Carole Herder

One aspect of good horsemanship: ask questions. If we didn’t ask questions we would never learn, never invent, never progress.

For me, the ‘what’ questions are the most important. What can I do to make life better for the horse? What can I do to improve his well-being? What can I do to make the boots or saddle pads or fly masks or any other product at Cavallo more comfortable?

Your horse has lost some condition: how can you get the weight back on him? Your horse’s hooves are looking a little dry and chipped: how can you improve his diet? Your horse is not collecting during riding: how can you improve your riding to help him? You need a pair of hoof boots: how do you find the best ones? (www.cavallo-inc.com, of course!)

horse hoof bootsNearly all of what we have learnt as humans has been through trial and error. As horses cannot speak to us, this area of the unknown expands enormously. Trial and error is one way of learning and there will always be an element of this to progressing, but questions can get us to a solution quicker. Do not feel embarrassed or silly – guaranteed there is someone else who also does not know the answer either. By asking the question you will save yourself a lot of bother! Ask multiple friends what works for them. Read numerous books on the topic and,  if possible, attend classes/workshops/demos where you can communicate with professionals. Even your local equestrian shop may give an opinion on a subject! Once you have retrieved all of the information, compare and contrast the responses acquired. Then you can choose an option based on the most common answer or on what suits you, your circumstances and your horse – maybe taking a little from a variety of answers. And be aware, a lot of the info out there is opinion. In fact, even scientific trials can be controlled for a specific predetermined outcome. So here’s the thing. We have this 6th sense called intuition. You have it too. WE call it YUM or YUCK. If it resonates with you and feels YUMMY, then it’s the correct route. Either way, if we won’t question, we don’t learn and if we don’t learn we can’t improve…and if we can’t improve, we are going around in circles. The definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

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